In any series of articles of this length there is going to be important repetition. Here’s an example: I need to once again state that I have been a big fan of and have benefited from the work being done by paid members of the Republican Conservative Industrial Complex (RCIC). Conservative think tanks, opinion talkers and writers, and various other types such as 501c4 issue advocacy organizations continue to inform and sometimes even effectively agitate for needed reform.
That said, again, the work that wins elections is not getting done on anywhere near the scale that is required, and those RCIC operations are where the vast majority of the political money is being spent. Even donations to the campaigns of good MAGA conservatives are often spent by the political consulting class—a group of people that sits near the top of the RCIC list of those deserving blame for where we are as a state and a nation.
And then there are dramatic exceptions to the rule.
This past Saturday morning I attended a training seminar run by the Illinois Election Integrity Program, which is a project of the Illinois Conservative Union (ICU). It was held in a Moose Lodge, and hosted by a new grassroots organization called the Three Headed Eagle Alliance. (For those like me who were unfamiliar with the “three headed eagle” phrase, click here for an explanation.)
Attendees were given a 32 page handout that was titled, “Guardians of the Vote: Working for Honest and Fair Elections.” In those 32 pages, the ICU’s Election Integrity Program includes more useful information for how people can help accomplish real election work than just about any Republican Party organization provides. And believe me, you can attend big multi-day conferences with the biggest political celebrities and you will hardly learn a fraction of what ICU covered in about three hours.
ICU and the Three Headed Eagle Alliance are the quintessential shoestring operations due to their almost non-existent budgets, so their reach, while growing, is small. Compare that with the many millions of dollars spent (wasted) by Illinois GOP campaigns, think tanks and other RCIC organizations such as “political action committees” that do not actually fund real election work.
Here is the first sentence of how the Illinois Conservative Union describes itself on its website:
ICU exists to build and maintain a coalition of conservative organizations and to engage and educate grassroots activists throughout the state of Illinois.
ICU’s Election Integrity Program is described on its own website:
Illinois Election Integrity Program is a non-partisan group of U.S. citizen volunteers helping to defend the integrity of the voting process that protects our freedoms and way of life. IEIP seeks to protect our Republic, a government of, by, and for the people by maintaining an active role in that part of government which empowers citizens with our most fundamental right ~ the right to choose our representatives by fair and honest elections.
The goal of IEIP is to enable citizens to become active participants in the entire election process, from overseeing the integrity of the voter rolls to ensuring that each lawfully cast vote is fairly counted and that all processes are in compliance with federal, state and local laws, statutes and regulations.
Unlike most political campaigns or Republican organizations that give lip service to the necessary “grassroots” work, or the RCIC cash-burning organizations, groups like the Illinois Conservative Union understand the difference between winning and losing is not endless talk or producing award winning videos or yet another opinion article or policy white paper.
The Ground War ongoing series of articles can be found here.