Diary

How do we get GOP "Party" Organizations to support more conservative candidates?

Greetings folks. I’m a frequent visitor to Redstate and while I’m usually content to read and run, I’ve recently come across a political problem related to donations that I think it best to pose here, and see what sort of advice I get. My question involves a common thorny topic for GOP-leaning voters like me who try to maximize the oomph of their limited donation resources: how do you balance giving money between larger, more ‘party apparatus’ style organizations like the RNSC and more ideological organizations like the Club for Growth, Gun Owners of America, etc?

To summarize my motivations as a voter quickly, I’m always trying to minimize governmental authority and maximize personal responsibility. I think Federal government spending has been too high a fraction of GDP since, well, FDR really. I’m socially conservative, but because I believe social conservatism (and religion) do best when government does least, I suppose I could be best pigeon-holed as a pro-life libertarian. Candidates I’ve enjoyed and donated to include Jim Demint, Pat Toomey, Marco Rubio, Tim Walberg, Andy Harris, and Ron Paul – for all his faults. I did not give money to Bush or McCain. I either vote Republican, occasionally libertarian, or not at all – if there are any Democrats interested in liberty these days, they do a damn good job hiding it.

I don’t trust any Republican national or state organization to do anything but stand by their labeled candidate – be that an Arlen Specter, a Dede Scozzafava, or a recent amnesty-peddling president. I worry that for every 5 dollars I might want to send in, 1 will get to a candidate who really shares my values. However, I am concerned that if I continue to send 100% of my contributions to institutions like CfG and the GoA instead of the RNC and the NRA, I am at some level contributing to a weaker than desirable national GOP presence to oppose the worst of the Democratic Party.

So here’s my question/concern: is there any way we can think of to spend our donation money in a way that best encourages GOP “apparatus” organizations to become more like the sort of ideological organizations that many conservative base members feel better reflect their values? I don’t want to destroy or impoverish the RNC & Co. for having the unenviable job of defending the entire GOP delegation and sometimes POTUS, but I do want to give them incentives to produce more Tom McClintocks and fewer Bob Bennetts. To rephrase the question, has the conservative web (or any other) community ever considered a coordinated plan to try create a carrot-and-stick system for GOP organizations?

To reiterate, I don’t advocate for the destruction or merger of right leaning organizations – as a believer in competition, I think having many organizations that do these sorts of things is (usually) a good thing, esp. combined with the cheapening cost of information thanks to the Internet. But I ask this question because I worry that there is still no effective way for disgruntled anti-big government types such as myself to adequately communicate/punish the GOP’s money organizations into providing a better ‘product.’ I worry this because it might be the case that for all they know, I (and the minority of GOP voters who stay away from the mainstream organizations) don’t exist. The market for political donations isn’t a mostly zero sum game in the way that, say, eating food is. If breakfast producers make something comically wretched like BooBerry cereal, I can eat Lucky Charms, pop tarts, or bagels, sending a signal to stop making gross blueberry marshmallows. I don’t have to give money to any political organization at all. As a result, I wonder if, when revenues at the RNSC go down, they even realize it’s because they have a crappy product. Do they even recognize a competition? Do they even know I’m donating to CfG?

So I repeat: is there any easy to disseminate strategy you all have every thought of to make a political party organization act not like a political party organization? The signal-to-noise ratio for the money the RNSC receives versus whether it does a ‘good’ job must be very, very low, but are there any clever ideas for letting them know they’re getting a stick when we decide they should get one? I feel like the liberals are so much better at collectively reforming (or at least marginalizing) their equivalently squishy agencies (the DLC, for example).

Thanks for the input.