Guest MINDSETTER™ Gardiner: Teaching Moment for RI Young Republicans

Tuesday, February 13, 2018
Guest MINDSETTER™ Michael J. Gardiner

Michael Gardiner
There is courtship and romance, even sex, I’m told, in politics; and when it ends, you mustn’t make a scene. But if the same light reveals that a political organization, even the “junior varsity,” lacks basic due process and that participation is subject to social shunning and enduring exclusion, the adults in the party and that includes “Young Republicans," who can be up to 39 years young, need to step in and take some responsive, maybe even affirmative, far-sighted measures to make sure the party exemplifies some American notions of due process and fair play, the American way and all that. 

Succinctly reported in GoLocalProv today, “a female member of the Rhode Island Young Republicans (RIYR) is alleging she was ousted from the political organization after a relationship with the current RIYR President went sour." A taped conversation provided with the article depicts the President of the Young Republicans of RI explaining to Ms. Rachel Hussey that she violated 10 by-laws (silly rabbit, de-regulation is for business!) “by doing what she did” and she is “out.” In the taped conversation, Ms. Hussey protests that nobody told her.

This isn’t the sort of thing that Republicans want to read in their go-to local political news source and when the coffee spray settles and the Democrats stop snorting it out their noses, we are left with a serious issue: Should a person be kicked out of a political organization, by its President, citing no actual official voter or process? Rachel Hussey may or may not have clean hands in this train wreck of alleged courtship behavior, but she has a basic human right to notice of a proceeding to expel her from a political organization affiliated with a state political party that enjoys a privileged ballot position by force of state law. If there is no due process in your organization, especially if you are part of a major political party, make some. Give some. Exemplify how we do things in America.

We live in an “outrage of the day” or week time. It can be, contrived, partisan and politically opportunistic. It can even be called “click bait.” Some say such a story focuses on insignificant behavior by persons not serving in an elected office. But, does that mean you ought to dismiss and ignore uncritically the mistreatment of Ms. Hussey? My own initial reaction was to the silliness of letting personal situations escalate into high drama. But I had to think again. 

Humor can be dismissive, just like flag-waving nationalism can be dismissive of the fair complaint about identity politics. But click bait or not, Ms. Hussey claims to be unaware of an expulsion, the President RYRI claims it was an expulsion for ten violations, and doesn’t cite any official date of action or vote or any due authority at all. You may think the story focuses on trivial behavior, but you ought not dismiss M. Hussey’s complaint. I don’t know all the equities here, but a properly run political organization should exemplify basic due process. Ms. Hussey deserved notice and a hearing. That is a challenge to the Republican Party of Rhode Island and its leadership. 

I would urge Republican leaders to reach out to the President of the RIYR and suggest that any unauthorized action against Ms. Hussey be renounced and apologized for, or, that they conduct some sort of due process. This is no free lunch for Ms. Hussey either. I don’t know all the circumstances. Heck, the parties might just acknowledge that things got out of hand and the replace acrimony with grace and manners, and seek again never to offend. But even if they do that, the issue Is no longer the arguably trivial beginnings of the conflict, but rather, the fact that Young Republicans thought it’s okay to simply declare a member expelled, or that the President did so without telling anyone or seeking actual authority.

Since it was claimed Ms. Hussey was formally expelled, and it looks wrongful, the Republican Party and or the Rhode Island Young Republicans need to formally or publically and officially address that. The lead, of course, should be within the YR’s, but if necessary I would expect some Republicans could give the right lessons that show Republicans are not dismissive, but responsive, are not overly proud, but willing to see what’s broke and fix it, and to never see shunning and exclusion as an easy fix, unless in accordance with  the law” and due process.


Michael J. Gardiner is an attorney residing in Providence. He was a Republican candidate for office in 2010 and 2012.

  • Sponsor: GoLocalProv

    Sample: N=403

    Rhode Island General Election Voters Margin of Error: +/- 4.9% at 95% Confidence Level

    Interviewing Period: October 9-11, 2017

    Mode: Landline (61%) and Mobile (39%)

    Telephone Directed by: John Della Volpe, SocialSphere, Inc.

  • Are you registered to vote at this address?

    Yes: 100%

  • When it comes to voting, do you consider yourself to be affiliated with the Democratic Party, the Republican Party, Moderate, or Unaffiliated with a major party?

    Unaffiliated: 49%

    Democrat: 32%

    Republican: 15%

    Moderate: .4%

  • Next year, in November of 2018, there will be a statewide general election for Governor and many other state offices. How likely is it that you will vote in this election?

    Will you definitely be voting, will you probably be voting, are you 50-50...

    Definitely be voting: 78%

    Probably be voting: 13%

    50-50: 9%

  • In general, would you say things in Rhode Island are headed in the right direction or are they off on the wrong track?

    Right track: 39%

    Wrong track: 45%

    Mixed: 10%

    Don't know/Refused: .6%

  • What would you say is the number one problem facing Rhode Island that you would like the Governor to address?

    Jobs and economy:  21%

    Education: 12%

    Taxes: 12%

    Roads: 12%

    State budget: 9%

    Corruption/Public integrity: .8%

    Healthcare: 3%

    Governor: 3%

    Homelessness: 2%

    Immigration: 2%

    Other: 7%

    Don’t know: .9%

  • Over the past three years or so, would you say the economy in Rhode Island has improved, gotten worse, or not changed at all?

    Changed for the better: 35%

    Changed for the worse: 16%

    Not changed at all: 43%

    Don't know/Refused: 5%

  • Over the same time, has your family's financial situation improved, gotten worse, or not changed at all?

    Changed for the better: 26%

    Changed for the worse: 19%

    Not changed at all: 54%

    Don't know/Refused: 1%

  • Recently, a proposal has been made to permit the issuance of $81 million in bonds by the State to build a new stadium for the Pawtucket Red Sox. If there was an election today on this issue, would you vote to approve or reject issuing $81 million in financing supported moral obligation bonds to build the stadium?

    Net: Approve: 28%

    Definitely approve: 15%

    Probably approve: 14%

    Net: Reject: 67%

    Probably reject: 19%

    Definitely reject: 48%

    Don't know: 4%

  • Could you please tell me your age?

    18-24: 7%

    25-34: 15%

    35-44: 15%

    45-54: 20%

    55-64: 17%

    65+: 25%

    Don't know/refused: 1%

  • What was the last grade you completed in school?

    0-11: 2%

    High school grad: 16%

    Technical/Vocational school: 1%

    Some college: 23%

    College grad: 34%

    Graduate degree: 24%

    Don't know/refused: 1%

  • The next question is about the total income of YOUR HOUSEHOLD for the PAST 12 MONTHS. Please include your income PLUS the income of all members living in your household (including cohabiting partners and armed forces members living at home).

    $50,000 or less: 27%

    More $50,000 but less than $75,000: 13%

    More $75,000 but less than $100,000: 13%

    More $100,000 but less than $150,000: 17%

    $150,000 or more: 13%

    Don't know/refused: 17%

  • What particular ethnic group or nationality - such as English, French, Italian, Irish, Latino, Jewish, African American, and so forth - do you consider yourself a part of or feel closest to?

    American/None: 21%

    English: 13%

    Italian: 13%

    Irish: 12%

    Black or African American: 6%

    Latino/Hispanic: 6%

    French: 6%

    Portuguese: 3%

    Jewish: 3%

    German: 1%

  • Would you say that Donald Trump has done an excellent good, fair or poor job as President?

    Excellent: 13%
    Good: 12%
    Fair: 14%
    Poor: 57%
    Never heard of:  0%
    Cannot rate: 3%

  • Would you say that Jack Reed has done an excellent good, fair or poor job as a United States Senator?

    Excellent: 22%
    Good: 29%
    Fair: 23%
    Poor: 15%
    Never heard of: 6%
    Cannot rate: 6%

  • Would you say that Sheldon Whitehouse has done an excellent good, fair or poor job as a United States Senator?

    Excellent: 17%
    Good: 22%
    Fair: 21%
    Poor: 28%
    Never heard of: 6%
    Cannot rate: 7%

  • Would you say that David Cicilline has done an excellent good, fair or poor job as a Member of Congress?

    Excellent: 9%
    Good: 29%
    Fair: 21%
    Poor: 27%
    Never heard of: 6%
    Cannot rate:  8%

  • Would you say that James Langevin has done an excellent good, fair or poor job as a Member of Congress?

    Excellent: 7%
    Good: 30%
    Fair: 20%
    Poor: 18%
    Never heard of: 13%
    Cannot rate: 11%

  • Would you say that Gina Raimondo has done an excellent good, fair or poor job as Governor?

    Excellent: 6%
    Good: 28%
    Fair: 30%
    Poor: 31%
    Never heard of: 1%
    Cannot rate: 3%

  • Would you say that Daniel McKee has done an excellent good, fair or poor job as Lieutenant Governor?

    Excellent: 3%
    Good: 16%
    Fair: 21%
    Poor: 8%
    Never heard of: 26%
    Cannot rate: 25%

  • Would you say that Peter Kilmartin has done an excellent good, fair or poor job as Attorney General?

    Excellent: 3%
    Good: 20%
    Fair: 28%
    Poor: 17%
    Never heard of: 13%
    Cannot rate: 19%

  • Would you say that Seth Magaziner has done an excellent good, fair or poor job as General Treasurer?

    Excellent: 4%
    Good: 18%
    Fair: 24%
    Poor: 13%
    Never heard of: 21%
    Cannot rate: 21%

  • Would you say that Nellie Gorbea has done an excellent good, fair or poor job as Secretary of State?

    Excellent: 5%
    Good: 21%
    Fair: 21%
    Poor: 10%
    Never heard of: 20%
    Cannot rate: 23%



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