The GOP and conservatives must shift into full outreach mode

From the Dispatches archive six years ago today on the need for our side to shift into full outreach mode:

Here’s Thomas Jefferson:

Educate and inform the whole mass of the people… They are the only sure reliance for the preservation of our liberty.

Note — “the whole mass of the people.” We certainly aren’t. And that’s the fault of Republicans and conservatives. We know who benefits from that failure. Larry Elder recently wrote a piece titled, “Democratic Party Loves Ill-Informed Voters.”

We ended last Friday’s post by mentioning “full outreach mode.” Outlining that will take more than one post — but let’s get started. When I say “outreach” I mean reaching the uninformed. The folks on our side, well, are on our side. Let me say that again just to be clear. The people on the conservative side are already on our side.

Yes we need to keep Republicans and conservatives up to speed, and yes, we need to keep them motivated and rally them to action for certain activities. Unfortunately that’s all our side ever really does. If there was ever a great example of the cliché “preach to the choir,” well, our side never seems to run out of sermons directed at the choir loft.

The Republican and conservative idle army as outlined here consists of every individual to highly funded large organizations. There are obvious and not-so-obvious methods of outreach.

First, to the obvious. We need to use all the old methods — here are a few examples:

  1. Effective local and regional media campaigns (TV, radio, newspaper).
  2. Advertising of all sorts…from the web to old fashioned direct mail.
  3. Holding informational meetings of all sizes, bringing in guest speakers for talks and Q&A.
  4. Participation in community events.
  5. Establishing a community presence with publicly available contact info.
  6. Establishing a web presence and effective use of email.
  7. Offering people from within your group to speak at other public events or forums where conservative choir members don’t make up the entire audience.
  8. Door to door walks (door knocking or literature drops, that is, info in a bag left on a door knob) as often as possible.

I numbered them not to rank them but so I can refer to them more easily. Here are just a few basic observations about that list.

1 & 2. Clearly if you’re an individual with limited resources you won’t be funding media campaigns of any size. The problem is — rarely do you see our well-funded or even moderately funded organizations launch any kind of large or modest scale advertising efforts. You know who does? Groups like the teacher unions. They seem to love radio ads and those ads are the most disgusting examples of lying propaganda outside of MSNBC.

3. I greatly admire Republicans and conservatives who go to trouble to organize meetings of any size. They are doing the Lord’s work. However, rather than those meetings being the beginning of efforts that lead to genuine outreach, those meetings represent the finished work and no effective outreach takes place after them.

4. 5 & 6. County fairs, local festivals, and any number of other public events offer opportunities to make our uninformed neighbors aware that the news they get from the area newspaper isn’t the only place to get news and information.

7. Our side has some of the best presenters — too bad they mostly present to groups of people who have already been sold on conservatism.

8. Do you think door to door is passé? It’s not. Case in point: the organization Obama for America used it effectively during the 2012 election cycle and turned many a previously red precinct blue by informing, registering, and getting out a lot of voters. I’m not going to argue that it’s the cure-all, but in many cases the best way some people are going to be reached is through a knock on their front door.

I told you there was a lot to say on this topic. Let’s continue tomorrow.

Image credit: GOP HQ in D.C. / Google.