Applying Reagan’s ‘Bold Colors’ Not ‘Pale Pastels’ to Conservative Political Action (Part 4)
Why do things continue to get worse, despite the fact that there are countless highly paid and experienced professionals working in Republican and conservative politics? After over twenty-five years of political experience I could write a book on the topic, and maybe I will some day. Right now I’d rather spend my time working on getting more conservatives to realize that there is a great deal of work to be done and they’re going to have to do it.
Forget the existing players. Some will learn (eventually), and the failures of the rest can be overcome if enough new people start fulfilling their responsibility as citizens. Conservatives have a duty to work to reestablish the vision of the Founding Fathers — if they don’t, future generations will curse us.
For those of you that already get it and are looking for a way to spend whatever time you have engaged in purposeful political activity, we need a starting place — we need to “begin with the end in mind” — which I’ve already written about here. We need more good people in politics, and more good information in the hands of low information voters.
The path to accomplishing that is relatively simple. We need sufficient numbers of people recruited, sufficient resources (especially money spent properly), and the message conveyed in as many ways and through as many means as possible.
The trick is “where” will all this happen? Under what auspices?
Ideally, it would be under the banner of the Republican Party — and in some regions it can be. Not all state and local Republican Party organizations are stuffy social clubs pretending to be something more.
Through the Tea Party organizations? Again, some Tea Party groups know that they can be more than a website and an email list, and they can do more than hold meetings that the already converted attend.
What if there isn’t a Republican Party or Tea Party in your area worth your time and investment?
Then you need to create your own political team.
For centuries Americans have organized locally through churches, service clubs like Lions or Rotary, non-profits with a specific aim such as crisis pregnancy centers, food pantries, or neighborhood watch groups. We know conservatives haven’t forgotten how to form an organization because we’ve been doing it for decades — the Tea Parties are only the latest examples.
Now we need community based political action centers set up by rightly motivated conservatives with the express purpose of doing real political work (and not just bitching or preaching endlessly to the choir).
These entities need not even have any legal status — there’s no reason to get the government’s permission. Once a certain amount of money is raised and spent, of course, a PAC needs to be formed, but that’s easy. It’s not like you have to get permission from Obama’s IRS to get set up.
Conservatives need to find the time to show leadership where they are — on their street, in their neighborhood and town, and in their region and state.
Unless a person lives in an isolated cave with no friends or family, it is not a lot of work to reach out to like-minded people and meet and plot and act.
It’s about gathering political power to fix the schools — to reduce the size and debt level of government — to shape the health care system into the best it can be — pick your issues and add in the rest.
Nothing in politics moves unless it is pushed. And that means the Republican Party as well. John Boehner & company will only do what they’re forced to do. You and your friends need to become enforcers. It’s called being a citizen.
Like the founding generation, we’ve suffered enough. Government, our Declaration of Independence declares, derives its powers from the consent of the governed. Stop consenting by inaction.
That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.
It’s nothing new that —
mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed.
when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.
The level of suffering we are experiencing now is the result of a bi-partisan idiocy. It’s appropriate that beginning in earnest the work of throwing off starts outside of the two-party system.
Still vague? It’s really not. First, take a look at the following list of examples of the things that need to get done — by you and/or by your political allies. Second, stay tuned to this column for more on this topic in the coming days and weeks. We need to create a model — not fixed in concrete — but an over-all outline of what this “place,” this structure, can look like.
(The troops are mustering — click here to learn more.)
Post Script: Examples of the work that must get done by you and your fellow conservatives.
There’s much to be done!
The initial leader/leaders need to be found.
The parameters and goals of the local/regional efforts need to be outlined. How big of an area are they willing to cover?
If it’s a larger area — then enough people will have to be recruited in to help with all the work.
If it’s smaller — then those leadership teams should take responsibility for helping to eventually get neighboring areas covered — which involves more recruiting.
A lot of talents are needed.
People are needed who are willing to run for the many offices.
Or fill appointments.
More talents are listed below…
If office space is required, then it will have to be found, managed, paid for, and equipped with furniture, phones, and computers.
Each team, no matter the size, will eventually have to acquire, build, and manage voter lists — so they’ll need people capable of doing so.
These lists include all registered and non-registered voters.
The levels of additional information attached to each will vary according to the quality of the list.
Who voters R? D? Both? Neither?
Good lists also have many, many additional layers of information for targeting purposes.
So, initial leaders are recruited. They recruit a somewhat larger group to help lead. A board of some sort is advisable and a way to make decisions agreed upon. (I know politics in contentious, but conservative adults had better learn how to be adults. Want to keep losing? Never find a way to stop squabbling.)
They decide the initial size of their region and their focus — then there are things to know.
Which governmental units are within their boundaries?
Which ones have elected officials?
Which ones appointed?
When are all the posts up for election or appointment?
What are those units responsible for?
How are they doing?
What are their budgets?
What should their budgets be?
What are the controversies?
How many different sides are there in the disputed areas?
What is the best course?
Who holds those positions now?
Do they need to be replaced?
Or can they be salvaged?
If they’re doing a good job, how can they be supported?
If they need to be replaced, candidates to replace them need to be recruited.
All candidates need to be vetted, whether recruited by the team or not.
There’s no sense in recruiting people who then have no support system to help them get elected.
If they have their own support network, additional help can make a big difference.
If they don’t, that support system will have to be put together…this is a longer list for later…(Google “campaign plan” to find many examples outlining all the basics — and a plan and a campaign team is needed for each individual race).
But that’s just campaigns for candidates. The team also has its own agenda.
Volunteers need to be recruited for projects and jobs of all sizes.
To have effective door to door (either knocking or literature drops) — numbers will be required.
Who can write copy for newspaper ads?
Who can design it?
Who can write letters to editors (the more people doing this the better), and write op eds for submission to newspapers or online?
The skill to work effectively with the press will be required by one or more members — and that includes all press — print, radio, online, TV.
These days a website is a must — who can set one up?
Who can help with social media — all kinds of it?
Who can monitor and participate in online comments sections after news stories or op eds?
With most of these tasks, of course, many hands make light work.
The political left doesn’t rest. Conservatives, however, do.
What are the media outlets that impact the agreed upon region?
Print. TV. Radio. Online. Etc.
An individual or individuals will need to put together a list and figure out friendlies, neutrals, and foes.
The teams need to know how to utilize these media outlets.
What are the other regional centers of power? Interest groups and the various levels of influence.
Such as government employee unions, non-govt unions, vocal non-profits — overtly political or borderline.
What are the major issues facing the region?
What are the hot spots — breaking news — Ferguson-like unrest or a teacher union about to strike…
How might the team make an impact for the good?
Everything costs money. The teams will need to find or train fundraisers — and donor lists will have to be developed.
What is the makeup of the local Republican Party? How many separate GOP committees are within each region? County, township, ward…
Who are their leaders? Are they social conservatives? RINOs?
Who are their elected Committeeman or appointed captains?
Are their vacancies?
Teams need to develop a strategy to deal with these GOP groups since the Republican Party is the organization with the ballot line.
The goal, eventually, is to have the local Republican Party orgs in agreement with and allies of the teams.
Everyone is busy — so there will have be thought given to how the time and labors of like-minded people can be utilized.
Due to the nature of jobs, family life, etc., individuals will come and go accordingly — and the teams need to be ready to have people to fill the vacancies.
Is paid help required? If so — all the pertinent aspects will have to be covered — a steady stream of funds raised, duties outlined, and oversight provided.
Outreach is not an option. This will require money so ads can be put in local papers, mail sent, bags of literature left on doorknobs, useful public meetings held…this list is also a long one.
After recruiting, the most important task is getting information to the local citizens. We don’t need another social club made up of choir members that spend 90% of their time talking to each other.
Regarding Tea Parties — which ones are in your area? How much can they be worked with? Who, within them, can be recruited to spend their time more meaningfully by joining in the work of the team?
People will be needed to research the issues and provide outlines that can communicate to the public where the team stands on the issues. The state and national conservative think tanks and issue advocacy groups have already done much of this work.
Each team is welcome to implode or subdivide over issues because they’re too immature to find a way to work together — or they can find a way to work together.
Who is going to monitor and watchdog the governmental units?
Who is going to vet candidates? Vetting is a serious activity not to be taken lightly.
Does the team want to sponsor candidate debates?
How much can or does the team want to work hand in hand with the local GOP?
Any college campuses in your area? Teams should aim to have organized and sustained outreach to them. The same, frankly, with the K-12 schools. This isn’t easy, especially when it comes to the public schools, but life ain’t easy, so buck up and get to it.
And the schools (k-college) are not the only institutions that should be targeted. Make a list.
Legal help will be required for various aspects — from defending petition challenges to filing other required paperwork for PACs, etc.
Ballot security issues require manpower, including from that of lawyers.
My fellow conservatives, don’t think this is all there is to do — there’s more. If you wonder how the country and the Republican Party could be in the shape their in, here’s your reason: conservatives have been more spectators than fighters.
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