The GOP and Conservatives Must Shift into Full Outreach Mode


From the archives:

On list of things that astound me are the difficult tasks that man can accomplish, such as building a skyscraper, putting satellites in orbit, and sending a probe to mars. Those things are difficult yet possible. I’ll tell you what’s not difficult: reaching voters. Have you seen the new bypass bridge that was built alongside the Hoover Dam? That’s hard. Bringing good information to uninformed citizens isn’t.

Someone a long time ago said this:

The greatest problem in communication is the illusion that it has been accomplished.

The number of low information voters tells us that it is not being accomplished. James Madison, the father of the Consitution, said this:

Public opinion sets bounds to every government, and is the real sovereign in every free one.

A few days ago I noted the “idle army,” though I granted that there are some local GOP and tea party organizations working to impact their communities. There a many ways this can be accomplished. 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.

More to follow next time.

First published February 22, 2014.

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