The United States Military used an updated “counterinsurgency manual” with success during the troop surge in Iraq 2007. The parallel for domestic grassroots politics is obvious — even the word “counterinsurgency” fits nicely. The principles of our nation’s founding era have been undermined by a century long liberal/progressive/statist insurgency. If we are to keep the country from being completely destroyed, a successful counter-insurgency must take place.
The military plan in Iraq called for a sharp increase in troops and the execution of a “clear, hold, and build” strategy to win ground. In politics, the “build” step can be accomplished through the construction of a healthy network of active state and local groups, and Republican Party organizations should be an important part of that effort.
Few state and local GOP operations, however, are currently up to the task of performing their valuable role as the organization with the ballot line.
Local Republican groups should have a leadership team that outlines annual goals. Since it is ultimately all about winning public support for policy reform, the practical action is aimed at getting the message of the Republican Party’s principles out to as many people as possible.
The “to-do list” for local GOPs is so obvious as to be hardly worth noting. Unfortunately, a kind of political haze has descended upon Republicans and conservatives for the better part of two decades and even the basics have been forgotten.
To begin with a great example of how simple it all is, let’s start with this: people in the community have to know the local Republican Party exists. See what I mean about elementary? Part of the reason our country is in such political peril is because too many local GOP organizations act more as social clubs — to be discovered only by those seeking them out.
Voters must be registered — to do that, a local organization needs to keep a list of all current residents so they’ll know who is registered and who is not. On election day, it’s all about “GOTV” (get out the vote) — so the organization needs to know who votes and whether they’re supporters or opponents (the Democrats need to get out their own vote).
Candidate recruitment is an important job as well, since good Republicans should be interested in running candidates for as many offices (partisan and non partisan) as possible. Effective vetting helps avoid too many crackpots winning GOP nominations. All of this takes time, effort, and the work of serious people.
These basics just listed require volunteers and money, so someone has to see to it that sufficient numbers of volunteers are drawn in and enough money is raised — none of this is complicated.
A local GOP organization should be all about outreach. Some local Republican Party groups understand this and do their best. Too many others are no better than private clubs pretending that following Roberts Rules of Order is an important part of their mission.
Ideally, the party isn’t only about election season. The list of ways the local Republican Party can positively impact the community is as long as there are resources and manpower to carry them out.
Let’s touch on some more of the basics next time.