The Complete Disconnect Between GAGOP Party Activists and Republican Voters Part 2

I have struggled with which direction to take part two of this series because since I wrote part one I have been inundated with stories from around the state that show specific instances of just how bad things are right now in our activist organizations. But today’s post comes courtesy of my inbox, and deep-red Cherokee County, the place I call my home.

Mike Canipe, the Cherokee County Republican Party Chair, sent an email to our county party members announcing his resignation. I have decided to reprint his letter here for a larger audience because what he is saying encapsulates the issues I am hearing about from all corners of Georgia.

His words, unedited by me:

This is notice of my intention to resign as Cherokee County Republican Party (CCRP) Chair, effective 11 June at noon.  I will work to make transition as smooth as possible for those that remain on the Executive Committee, all of whom I respect and wish the very best.  To those Executive Committee members that have already departed, may God bless you, I thank you for your service and dedication, and I wish you all the very best.  You have made my job as easy as it could be.

This decision does not come lightly.  I’ve never quit anything, but it’s apparent that my heavy weekly hours of CCRP work, the additional weekly hours I spend representing the CCRP at events throughout the county, my unseen, unspoken, and unclaimed monetary contributions, and what I thought was a steady hand at the helm are apparently not progressing the party in a favorable way.  We remain fractured and divided and I’ve failed to resolve that.  This shouldn’t happen and I can’t and won’t continue to serve as an ineffective leader.  I most of all hate leaving the party in such a condition.  Some might view this as selfish, that I’m a quitter.  Perhaps I’m all that.  Trash me if you will.  I can only beat my head against the wall so long.

I’m saddened to abandon the many good members that remain.  My apologies to you for letting you down.  James Dvorak, I’m sorry this transition occurs so quickly to you as a newly elected First Vice Chair.  I’m glad we have at least been able to make way-forward plans since we first started talking about this on 2 June.  I know I leave things in good hands.  Per our Bylaws and should you decide to accept it, you will now be the Chair.  Our discussions convince me that you’ve got this.  I also extend my gratitude to current and past Executive Committee members that have put in long, hard hours of volunteer work and, in some cases, your own personal funds, most of which was never seen nor properly appreciated by membership, yet so often criticized by many marginal contributors outside of the Executive Committee. 

As a trained engineer, I worked in a fairly black-and-white world where an aircraft part either met its strength and fatigue requirements or it didn’t.  I’ve come to learn that politics and political bodies are full of gray.  It’s a hard adjustment.  In my lengthy professional career and the limited time spent in CCRP leadership, I have had to accept decisions that didn’t go my way.  Fine, I can handle a difference in opinion as long as the one adopted isn’t unethical, immoral, or illegal.  My problem, I guess, is that I’m a fairly simple guy that believes in and follows rules.  I work well with Bylaws, but I struggle with “By-Suggestions”.  

What I said as Chair about the Article XV matter at the Tuesday night County Committee meeting was in the best interest of the party and an attempt to begin the healing process.  I truly hope the olive branch extended Tuesday night is a fruitful step toward healing this body.  Human behavior is a hard thing to change.  My fear is that behavior will remain unchanged and that the party will limp along in disunity and with impunity.  I sincerely hope my fears are unfounded.  And, for those complaining of others acting with inappropriate behavior, understand that complaining isn’t helpful unless you bring specifics and make formal charges of Bylaws violations.  Just be aware, though, the bar is very much higher now to effect removal of a member.

I signed up to fight Democrats, but I find myself almost daily fighting childish and uncompromising so-called Republicans.  The assaults come from within, rarely from outside the party.  Fighting those that only believe “it’s my way or no way”, those working agendas outside the CCRP instead of working CCRP initiatives, and CCRP officers publicly stating that they’ll not support the chosen Republican candidate for November’s General Election is not only exhausting, it’s unproductive and distracts us from doing the work we need to do as a party.  This party is fractured, corrupted by a disruptive and counterproductive cabal.  I get it, leading is hard and being a follower is easy.  Though this relentless barrage of criticism and resistance is fatiguing and gets us nowhere, it’s the lack of those willing to work toward a common cause that’s such a frustrating challenge. 

As I no longer hold any level of respect for several County Committee members and, as such, cannot morally support all members of the Team, I must resign as Chair of the Cherokee County Republican Party.  I choose not to participate in any privileges normally afforded to the Immediate Past Chair.  Additional to the other vacancies needing to be filled on the Executive Committee, my resignation also results in a vacancy on the 6th District, 11th District, and State Committees.

The plus for the cabal is that I and two other Vice Chairs are no longer in their way.  The plus for me is that I go back to retirement, doing the things I want, spending more time with family and friends, traveling, working all those chores that have been pushed aside in favor of unending CCRP work, enjoying some hobbies, spending my money on things outside the CCRP, and getting some much-needed exercise.

I will continue to contribute to the Conservative movement outside of the CCRP.  If the CCRP membership can’t achieve unity and get behind the singular mission to defeat the Democrats by electing our chosen Republican candidates to office, I’m more convinced than ever that, if Cherokee County and Georgia somehow manage to remain red, it’ll be despite of the CCRP, not because of it.

Mike Canipe

Chair, Cherokee County Republican Party

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