The sad state of the Republican Party in Hawaii provokes mourning and puzzlement.
A conservative tide seems to be running nationally and even to some extent in Hawaii….
The Hawaii Republican Party should be doing well.
Yet … it failed to field any candidates at all for one US Congress seat, 11 State Senate seats, nine State House seats, six seats on the Board of Education, the Kauai mayoralty, one Kauai council seat and three Maui Council seats—or 32 of the 119 offices up for election in the State on Nov. 3.
(The) Party Chairman … has a point when he suggests there’s no value in entering (candidates) who have no chance at all of election—but the truth is his party’s filings for other offices include a number of those, too.
In practical terms, the Republican Party admits by its filings that it is unable to contest seriously for majority status in either house of the Legislature, any county government or the Board of Education.
The most it can hope for is to grab the governorship away from the Democrats and perhaps improve its strength in the House of Representatives from about one-fourth of the membership to one-third.
Since most of us find value in the two party system and in a government with strong checks and balances, the state of the Republican Party is a sort of State tragedy.
The demolition of the GOP at the polls in 1954 after half a century of uninterrupted domination was surprising in its swiftness and fury, but explicable.
The brief resurgence of the party with Statehood in 1959 seemed to suggest movement toward a more even party balance.
But the Democrats made Hawaii a one-party state again in 1962 and the very most the Republicans can do this year to restore the balance will be win the governorship. Their prospects of this are a toss-up.
The Republican Party failed in Hawaii because it was identified as a “Haole-Big Five” party out of tune with the labor and social revolution then sweeping the Islands.
But the list of office-holders and candidates … is proof that the party now has racial balance and the “Big Five” is a bogey that should have been laid to rest long ago.
Hawaii now has many big business firms, not five, and their politics are far from monolithic.
In the 1950s a bunch of ambitions young men who wanted to improve Hawaii decided to do it by infiltrating and re-directing the then-moribund Democratic Party. They are Hawaii political leaders today and many of them are excellent public servants.
They would be improved, not harmed, however, by more vigorous political opposition. So would the State.
Perhaps what we need today is a bunch of ambitious young men eager to improve the State who will decide to infiltrate and re-direct the Republican Party.
(Excerpted from the Honolulu Star-Bulletin August, 21, 1970.)