Republicans at the federal, state, and local levels have a duty to protect the Republican brand from candidates that could damage it. The time to vet and scrutinize potential candidates arises during the selection process, whether candidates are being recruited by the party, involved in primaries, or selected by executive committees or party conventions.
Republicans cannot and should not rely solely on an opponent — or worse, the press — to vet candidates. It is up to the party to protect its own brand by fully and completely vetting candidates so that they know the good, the bad, and the ugly of candidates personal, professional, and political lives.
Vetting numerous candidates is time consuming and costly but I would argue the time and effort is worth it and will yield a valuable and tangible return on investment.
A party’s brand is as valuable as any commercial brand in the marketplace today. In a two party system it is even more valuable because of the stark and limited choices between only two viable political parties. How the public perceives a party and how they identify with its platform, candidates, and issues will determine how successful they will be in fundraising, attracting qualified candidates, how they will be treated by the press, and, most importantly, how many elections they will win.
Political parties most valuable assets are the values and candidates they put forth. So, it is incumbent upon them to be the protectors of the brand. Candidates and elected officials come and go but the party remains. The reflection of the party is ultimately the people who represent the brand at the ballot box and in the performance of their duties when they serve the public under that brand.
A party cannot count on the candidate to vet him/herself. The ultimate responsibility falls on the party to protect its own brand. Therefore, the Republican Party must undertake the task to fully vet all candidates seeking to represent its brand. They must come up with a template that should be used on the federal, state, and local level to insure the best-qualified candidates are scrutinized to the satisfaction of the party before they are allowed to represent the party to the people.
Self-funding candidates are not likely to vet themselves. The most “dangerous” candidate to a political party I would argue is the self-funder, because they tend to have an allegiance to themselves first and foremost and not to the party. The party to a self-funder in many cases is a means to an end.
With the volume of information that is available in the public domain, and through the undertaking of a time consuming but necessary in-house investigation of a candidate's disclosures and corroboration, the party will insure that it will field the best possible candidates and representatives of its brand.
If we leave it to the press to vet candidates to their satisfaction, then a party intentionally shirks its ultimate responsibility to vigorously protect its brand from hostile actors and those seeking to damage it.
The most important mission of the owner of a valuable brand is to protect it.
For the GOP, it is time to protect your brand better than you have.
Bradley A. Blakeman served as deputy assistant to President George W. Bush from 2001-04. He is currently a professor of politics and public policy at Georgetown University and a frequent contributor to Fox News Opinion. Read more reports from Bradley Blakeman — Click Here Now.
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