NRA’s system for voting for members of its Board of Directors is “democratic” in the same sense as considered by the Founding Fathers in our constitutional system, i.e., a design that’s recognized as doomed to failure. Should NRA survive its current political troubles I advocate for a redesign of its electoral politics.
As presently constituted, NRA’s politics are that of a top-down self-perpetuating national organization. That’s just the opposite of the plan set for us by the Founding Fathers. As a crude first draft, I offer the following new design for NRA politics.
The NRA should be reorganized into a federation of the state “affiliates.” Each state affiliate would have its own local politics; its leaders would be elected by state-resident members. A state affiliate could have non-voting and non-resident members.
Each state affiliate would have as many votes for nominating board candidates and electing board members as it has total membership (resident and non-resident alike). Road Island would have few votes, Texas, many.
Each year a rotating slate of 25 nominating committee members would be named by state affiliates. A representative from a state could serve several years on the nominating committee (to accumulate and apply experience) but he would be term-limited. Each state would serve on the nominating committee for a term-limited number of years. Neither Rhode Island nor Texas would enjoy a permanent seat on the nominating committee.
In each annual election, the 25 state affiliates NOT on the nominating committee that year would name an “elector” to cast the state affiliate’s votes for director candidates (appointed by the nominating committee). The state affiliates electing directors would also rotate so that neither Rhode Island nor Texas would be a permanent member of the “electoral college.”
Resident voting members of each state affiliate would elect their officer to serve on the nominating committee or electoral college, as the case may be that year.
If the California state affiliate wished to be represented by a card-carrying member of the Screen Actors’ Guild, that’s fine. They could have a Ronald Reagan or Charlton Heston. A California affiliate representative could push a Tom Selleck for a director seat. Yet, it would seem unlikely that most state affiliates’ nominators/electors would push celebrity candidates.
State nominators/electors would be known by and answerable to their active state-resident members. If those members want duck-hunters, celebrities, marksmen, or 2A-advocates as directors, then that’s what they will push for in their local elections.
Nominators/electors will be likely to respond to the wishes of their members. Nominators/electors will not likely be pawns of hired officers or any other interest.
It would be mighty hard for any sector (e.g., the “greedy” gun manufacturers) to get control of both the nominating committee and the electoral college in any given annual election for directors. Just about the time they managed to hood-wink a majority of state affiliate resident members the game would change because the composition of the nominating committee and electoral colleges would turn-over. The ambitious cabal would have to start all over.
A “federal” system! What an idea! It worked once; well, sort of. It just might work again. Putting people in charge of the national organization who have proved their wisdom and leadership skills in the fires of state politics might be an idea whose time has come.