“OC GOP Purity Test” A Surreptitious Stretch of Truth

While it’s neat to sneak a peak at the OC GOP Candidate Endorsement Questionnaire, it’s rather absurd to refer to it as, or to consider it to be a “purity test.” A purity test requires candidates to meet a certain amount of policy positions in order to be considered for a party endorsement. The RNC overwhelmingly rejected instituting a purity test at their last convention, which you can read about here.   I highly recommend Dan and Scott Moxley from OC Weekly check it out, as they seem confused over what a purity test consists of.

The OC Democratic Party also has an endorsement questionnaire (they’ve had one for years).  It’s used by our county party’s endorsement committee to make endorsement recommendations for the central committee to vote on as a whole. Most of the time, the candidates who got the nod from the endorsement committee go on clinch the endorsement. This is also, by no means, a “purity test.” It’s just your standard Political Org/PAC questionnaire.

What ranks high on the OC Democratic Party Questionnaire you might ask? Well check out snippets from their and other questionnaires below.

Checkout this HATE FILLED endorsement Questionnaire from OC’s “Pro-Family” Council. They use the results from their questionnaire to send out a slate that goes out to high-pro registered haters.

This is another lovely endorsement Questionnaire from OC’s Right. They call themselves OC Christian Coalition but their interests seem to go off on a non-Jesus related tangent.

Eminent domain, Privatization, services to undocumented immigrants… I don’t think the Bible covers any of those. However, in regards to the state-funded services inquiry on their questionnaire, does that mean they don’t want police and fire services to respond to the calls made by illegal immigrants? What about child protective services? Truly contemptible!

Like I mentioned before, quite a bit of active political groups in Orange County have these. Everyone from ECCO (arguably OC’s biggest Gay special interest group), the League of Conservation Voters, the OC Sierra Club, the OC BizPAC, even Realtors and Car Dealership consortiums put these out. How much they vary in their questioning from their groups core interest fluctuates group to group, but, objectively speaking of course, righty groups tend to stray farther away than lefty groups do.

The “funny” thing is that these purity tests endorsement questionnaires are really an exercise in futility for candidates. These endorsements are almost always secured in backroom deals. If you don’t have an “in” in the group, you’re wasting your time, and you might even be damaging yourself in the future by giving them ammo.

So those are endorsement questionnaires. They are typically in a question and answer format, and are reviewed by their respective committees. A candidate may provide answers that aren’t exactly towing the party line but might still receive an endorsement. Below is the purity test that was proposed by a RNC Official earlier this year:

(1) We support smaller government, smaller national debt, lower deficits and lower taxes by opposing bills like Obama’s “stimulus” bill;

(2) We support market-based health care reform and oppose Obama-style government run health care;

(3) We support market-based energy reforms by opposing cap and trade legislation;

(4) We support workers’ right to secret ballot by opposing card check;

(5) We support legal immigration and assimilation into American society by opposing amnesty for illegal immigrants;

(6) We support victory in Iraq and Afghanistan by supporting military-recommended troop surges;

(7) We support containment of Iran and North Korea, particularly effective action to eliminate their nuclear weapons threat;

(8) We support retention of the Defense of Marriage Act;

(9) We support protecting the lives of vulnerable persons by opposing health care rationing and denial of health care and government funding of abortion; and

(10) We support the right to keep and bear arms by opposing government restrictions on gun ownership.

Had this passed, candidates must meet at least 7 of those ideals to be considered for an endorsement. If they didn’t, no endorsement would be awarded, and other consequences such as expulsion from the RNC might’ve followed.

Nice try Dan.



  1. “A purity test requires candidates to meet a certain amount of policy positions in order to be considered for a party endorsement”

    Thanks for the statement Steve; by your own definition, this is exactly what the OC GOP questionnaire seeks.

  2. Well, the question is really this: are questionnaires the same as purity tests? As a campaign worker I have seen a good number of these questionnaires and I’ve yet to run across one that didn’t make me gag.

    One this year, from a LBGT rights group, asked a series of reasonable questions such as whether the candidate supports laws and ordinances forbidding discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation. But then it goes on to ask whether the candidate would support another candidate who was not fully supportive of LGBT rights.

    And so forth. None of these questionnaires allow for any nuanced position whatsoever. Remember McCain and Obama at Saddleback Church, the black/white versus the nuanced?

    So yeah, I think basically the candidate questionnaires are purity tests. I never saw one that wasn’t.

  3. Purity tests/Questionnaires or whatever you want to call them are both a good and bad thing.

    They’re bad because:
    They allow the party leaders to tell the sheep what the issues are. It goes from bad to pure evil when more important issues are not on the purity test/questionnaire.

    They’re good because:
    They force the candidate to take a stand. They’re better if the candidate is allowed to comment on the importance of the question. They’re good if the voter visits the candidates’ web sites to discover what the candidates believe to be THE IMPORTANT ISSUES.

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