Hybrid GOP Convention > 100% Digital Option

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Monday it was rumored and yesterday it was reported, that the Texas Republican Party is considering a change of venue for its state convention.

On Thursday, the State Republican Executive Committee will meet via conference call to weigh options, including keeping the in-person date in Houston, relocation, or transitioning to an all-virtual convention.

In these considerations, one thing is certain, the SREC should not face a binary choice between in-person or virtual-only when it comes to facilitating the biannual gathering.

There should be a third option on the table.

To placate those who want to minimize exposure and protect delegates but maintain the cohesion and accountability that only an in-person convention provides, the Texas GOP should have a hybrid in-person/virtual convention.

In a hybrid solution, delegates would gather at Congressional or Senate level meetings to do the business of the party, cast votes that can be verified, and transmit these votes to party headquarters in Austin where representatives from interested parties and if possible a third-party arbitrator can oversee tabulation.

A fully digital, dispersed convention opens the possibility for the work of the delegates to be questioned in a way that fundamentally undermines trust in the final product.

Already, it’s easy to imagine, and there appear to be two distinct factions forming.

State Representative Sarah Davis of Houston, the most liberal member of the Republican party in Texas has called for the convention to go virtual.

Contrast this position to Senator Bob Hall, one of the most conservative members of either body, maintaining the convention should go ahead in-person in Houston.

The hybrid option represents a meaningful compromise, superior to a digital-only convention. Any undue pushback against such a solution should be viewed as defensive and suspect.

As for any logistical concerns, putting together a party convention no matter the venue is a logistical hurdle, one that would need to be cleared in either a virtual, hybrid or in-person iteration.

If a week or two delay is necessary for a hybrid solution, to secure space and test technology, this should not be a deterrent.

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