The past few days it has become apparent that at least parts of the party apparatus of the GOP; the paid, connected people who have been in politics for years and just want to maintain their position win-or-lose, are making sure to do as little as possible to help Trump this election. Some are acting to sabotage him.
I think the GOP needs to be a party that is in opposition to the progressive world we live in, and not a partner in maintaining it. That’s why I am going to do my part to take over the direction of the party.
Here is my plan of action.
Step 1: Volunteer in elections this fall
This fall is for getting my feet wet. There are lots of people signing up to volunteer for campaigns all over the country. The presidential race is just one. It doesn’t matter for now what candidates I work for, but I signed up directly with the Trump campaign.
I’ll be making calls and doing other grunt get-out-the-vote work. In most years, turnout hovers around 60%. There are lots of potential voters for any candidate who don’t need to be convinced to support the candidate, provided they get to the polls. As a volunteer, my work will be limited to making sure Trump voters get to polls.
Phone calls help by getting a verbal commitment to vote. Getting someone to commit to you is a classic persuasion technique. That makes calling members of my own party and getting them to commit to voting a valuable addition to the campaign.
Step 2: Make connections with like-minded local citizens
In American politics, there is strength in numbers. In order to build an effective nationalist, pro-west, push in my local area, I need to find allies. Working with the Trump campaign, I expect to find some. While I don’t expect Trump will win my state, working for the candidate and meeting like-minded potential activists in my local area is an important goal.
Step 3: Regardless of the election outcome, stick with it
For this plan, Trump’s victory or defeat in November will alter the landscape, but it won’t change my goals.
I will have worked on a campaign and learned the important ground work that goes into a successful campaign. I will have found like-minded people to work with in the future. I will have been participating in local clubs, and I will continue to do so, bringing along any people I meet working for the campaign.
If my local clubs aren’t to my liking, I will start my own. Robert Heinlein’s book of grassroots politics will be my guide in that case.
Regardless of what path is ultimately chosen, I will be a regular part of local political organization.
Being part of a local political organization or club is very useful. The club near me, which usually has meetings of 15-20 people, is important enough that every candidate on our primary ballot sits and takes our questions, including the gubernatorial and senatorial ones.
Local state legislators from my party regularly attend meetings as audience members.
Why are these local clubs so important as to be regularly visited by politicians?
One, is that a club member’s endorsement matters. When I am knowledgeable on local candidates, people I know look to me as an expert, especially in primary season.
Those people will relate your “insider take” to their friends. It’s easy to make my vote in a primary repeat 40 times over, especially at the local level. A candidate looks at a club of 20 people, each able to influence 40 people, as a source of 800 potential votes. In a primary where only a few thousand votes are cast, a club of informed voters is a big deal.
Not only that, but the club as a whole will make endorsements the candidate uses on their website. This gives the candidate credibility in the eyes of people who are independently researching candidates.
Step 4: Push for a better party
By working on the campaign, meeting allies and joining (easy) or creating (hard) a club, I will have some political influence. I will use that influence to push for and recruit candidates that support my view of government and the Republican party.
Those candidates will win and go on to have influence of their own. Since they share my views, they will become useful allies in transforming the party.
With the ear of local and statewide politicians and party leaders, I will put them on notice and hold them accountable for their positions.
As I make those changes happen locally, its success will cause ripples throughout the state and even to the national party. Others who see what I am doing will join in and help create a better Republican party. Not just with new people, but with new ideas and a renewed focus.