I am an insurgent Republican long since fed-up with our party and direction as a nation. Donald Trump won the presidency due in no small part to others like me. I have personally been highly critical of Mr. Trump and, for most of us, he was not our first choice. In the end, many of my colleagues chose to support our President-elect. I accept the national verdict. The debate now moves from Trump-the-candidate to what a Trump-led nation will look like.
I contend it was never about Donald Trump and always about a loud and emphatic rebuke of our nation’s lack of direction — epitomized by a party we felt had abandoned principle. My caucus represents those who will no longer allow themselves to be marginalized. The Republican Party can no longer count on a base reflexively supporting R candidates over the opposition merely because they carry a party label.
You and I deserve confidence in our candidates and our state leaders. We are demanding it.
Here in Ohio, Republican leadership has been sheltered from the national storm because our party holds all statewide offices and both legislative chambers. This is Kasich-country, and our Governor has created a unique bubble here. But, this is deceiving. We’ve benefitted from a Democratic Party unable to field competitive candidates, and from gerrymandering of legislative districts — a problem our party rightly brought before the voters and will end after the next census. Ohio Republican leadership must awaken to a new reality or be crushed by it.
Here is how we restore the GOP in Ohio as a party representative of its base. Stop fighting against the Democratic agenda and fight for a liberty agenda:
• Stand for individual rights. Recognize marginalized groups and their perspectives but champion individuals over the collective as the remedy. For example, stand for parental rights to direct child education. End arbitrary limitations on where individuals may carry concealed handguns for self-defense and limit civil liability in justified self-defense incidents. Further criminal justice reform, not as a race issue, but a human rights issue. Restrict less and hold accountable more.
• Stand for limited government. End civil asset forfeiture and eminent domain abuses. Advance municipal tax reform. Create a definitive pathway to eliminating the state income tax. Innovate property tax reform. Having failed to even reign in the rate of state budget growth, advance a plan to actually reduce the budget.
• Stand for free enterprise. End licensing laws with no other purpose than to decrease competition and innovation. Vigorously advance free market solutions for state ownership of everything from Medicaid to liquor stores to Worker’s Compensation insurance.
To his credit, Ohio GOP Chairman Matt Borges has agreed in principle to sit down with us and discuss how our grassroots caucus may be a conduit between party leadership and our disaffected base. We are uniquely positioned with our membership comprised of sitting state legislators, TEA Party leaders, and libertarians. We welcome this challenge and look forward to rebuilding trust.
The Republican Liberty Caucus since its founding in 1991 has billed itself as “Conscience of the GOP.” We need that conscience now more than ever.
– Bill Yarbrough, Chairman
Republican Liberty Caucus of Ohio