It’s hard to go anywhere in the conservative blogosphere without reading something from some guy named “ColdWarrior” prattling on and on about how, if conservatives don’t get involved in the political process at the grassroots level, we will never be able to take the Republican Party back from the “Establishment” hacks that are currently using it.
The office that CW has called the most important office in politics is the “Precinct Committeeman.” If you’ve somehow missed his spiel, I’ll let him bring you up to speed since he’s much more polished at it than I. The purpose of this piece is to let you know that no matter what the powers-might-be might say, it works.
First, I’m a product of this strategy. After a lifetime of writing letters, donating to campaigns, writing letters to the editor, and generally whining alot, in 2008, with the prospect of a McCain/Obama election looming in front of me, I attended my first GOP caucus. Four years later, after walking in a whole slew of parades and raising my hand a lot, I am now a GOP County Chair, on our Congressional District’s Central and Executive Committees, and a member of our State Central Committee.
And after answering the clarion call to be the Party, last weekend, at our County Convention, I lost an election in my own Commissioner District to be a delegate to the Minnesota State Endorsing Convention (I did, however, manage to win an at-large slot). So, how could such a thing have happened?
Very simply, a group of dedicated individuals wrapped their arms around the PC Strategy with fervor and vigor. They recruited a whole slew of folks to attend the Minnesota Precinct Caucuses on February 7th. They then told all of these folks that when the time came during the precinct elections to determine who would go to the County Convention, they needed to raise their hands. Since in most of these precincts, there are more slots open than people willing to fill them, they pretty much all got ‘elected.’
On the day of the County Convention, they all showed up…en masse…with lists of names of people who shared their philosophical beliefs and who were willing to run for delegate slots to the State Convention. When the time came to nominate folks both at the Commissioner District level and the At-Large slots, they knew exactly who was going to be nominated in each District (so as not to split the vote) and they knew exactly who to nominate both as delegates and alternates to the State Convention.
How do I know this? Because as the Convention Chair, I could see from my perch at the front of the convention hall delegates reading names off of pieces of paper. And then those folks would come up for their speeches with their pre-typed speeches.
Unfortunately, all these folks supported one candidate – Ron Paul. How effective were they? Well, on February 7th, the straw poll results of our county were as follows: Santorum – 46% Paul – 28% Romney – 15% Gingrich – 11%. How many delegates are each of these candidates sending to the state convention? Out of the 13 state delegates we were allocated, Rick Santorum has 1, Mitt Romney has 1, Newt Gingrich has 2, and Ron Paul has 9.
Why? Because they learned the system, they were passionate, they got organized and they showed up (as the more “traditional” conservatives surveyed the wreckage, I had to bite my tongue hard not to say “I told you so;” but trust me, that conversation will take place at an appropriate place in time).
So, don’t let anyone tell you that the PC Project doesn’t work…or that it’s too much work…or that it won’t change anything. Tell that to 9 long-time conservative Party activists who won’t be attending Minnesota’s State Convention in May.