Erick, I can’t tell you how much I appreciate this post. As I was listening to the podcast, I was actually yelling “Amen!”
I’ve been involved in local politics since 1990, aggressively since 1996. We are fortunate to have a strong conservative leader of the local Party. I know the job is thankless so I called to see how I could help after the last election. She was weary after the last election and about to throw in the towel.
We now have a core group of conservative activists that are just there to help with anything that she needs done. The County Chairman’s role, if done correctly, is full of headaches and abuse from the RINOs. There is no reason we can’t be there to stand beside, lessen the blows and encourage in the fight.
One of the things we have noticed locally is that the same old people run over and over again. “Conservative” politicians rarely talk about that philosophy once the campaign is over and the people who don’t pay attention don’t even realize it. They just remember the campaign promises but don’t look at the record.
Don’t get me wrong. There are great people involved in the GOP, but that doesn’t mean I agree with all of them. I have had issues with some regarding their stance on abortion, immigration, or taxes. But, one of the things I’ve noticed in this Obama Era is that we all seem to agree that we can rally around the cause of Liberty and Freedom. (God bless Mark Levin)
So, what do we do? We are looking for the new Conservative candidates to build a “bench.” That’s not all that easy, but we’re having fun trying.
The problem with recruitment is that we know all the people who are currently interested in running. Some are worthy of support, others are just running for the next office on their long political resume.
We realized we need to go beyond our circle and meet new people. One of the things we’re discussing is starting a group under The 9-12 Project banner. People are so enraged (and that is not an understatement), but they need to focus that energy to actually making a difference in this country. The point of the group would be to gather people together to discuss Founding principles. I know so many people that are talking about this when they get together anyway! Why not start a community of like-minded people?
As a result of this interaction, we are hoping to attract new people to the Conservative cause. We can get to know where they stand on the important issues and then we want to encourage some to run for public office. Not everyone will run — and those who don’t may be great campaign workers!
As you’ve said before, step away from the keyboard and pick up the phone. Call Conservative candidates/elected officials and offer your time, talent, and/or treasure. If you actually have a good, Conservative representative, call and thank them for their votes.
However, I don’t want to negate time at the keyboard. As I’ve seen politics change over the last 18 years, I realize the need for online activists. #TCOT, #SGP, and #RS are great places to talk with like-minded individuals. However, these people who are fired up online could also use their energies posting to local newspaper blogs. It is truly revolutionary locally. A local, moderate Republican politician/media darling, who always gets favorable press, is finally being held to account in the comments section and it truly is a beautiful thing.
Another thing you can do is write a letter to the editor regarding an issue or a candidate. People need to know there are others in their own community who are Conservative and not ashamed to admit it! Local Conservative elected officials could really use our support on the editorial pages.
The loudest AMEN you got from this house tonight was your simple advice: “Show up!”
I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve said that. Most people just don’t show up. Those who do, and do it regularly, can move right up the GOP ladder. It’s there for the taking. Take it!
May I suggest a #showup tag on Twitter? Keep everyone up to date on what you are personally doing to help your local party, candidates, exchange ideas, etc. Use the force of that network to encourage involvement in a real world way.
Want to know an interesting thing? County chairmen in two neighboring counties want to sit down and talk with me about what they can do to improve their operations. In fact, I’m having lunch with a new-ish Conservative chairman tomorrow to talk with her about strengthening their push in the trenches and online. Show up!
I will never be the one to run for public office, God willing. But I am more than willing to support those who share my Conservative principles and cheer them on from the trenches.