Archives for Drew McKissick

The Importance of Political Confrontation

political confrontationMost people hate confrontation. But given that “politics is people”, (and about people agreeing and disagreeing), effective political participation is almost certain to involve some sort of confrontation at some point.

Most people tend to want to “get along”, (or “play nice”, as your mother probably told you), and that’s admirable in pretty much every aspect of life. But if you’re the only one playing nice in politics you won’t be winning very many battles or making any progress on the things you care about.

Fighting over fundamentals

In recent years the level of acrimony in the political process has increased because we are no longer just arguing about the margins, we are increasingly fighting over many of the fundamental, core values that the vast majority of Americans took for granted not very long ago. The type of values that go to the heart of what kind of country we all want to live in.

But you can’t let acrimony make you shy away from what’s important.

In order to be successful in the political arena, we must practice “effective confrontation”. That means not being reactive, but being proactive and taking the offensive with the kind of tenacity that can endure the potentially long political or legislative process that might lie ahead.

And be very, very, very persistent.

It’s not enough just to know what’s right. If you do a bad job advocating a good principle, you probably haven’t made much progress. If you’re too timid or don’t frame your issues the way you want to begin with, expect your opposition to do it for you.

Unfortunately, conservatives tend to take a defensive posture right from the start on most issues, or we quickly allow ourselves to be put on the defensive by our opposition. As a result, we bear some of the blame for our country’s situation.

Sometimes you gotta’ fight

Democracy requires participation, and sometimes that means political confrontation.

Nobody says you have to be ugly about it. But as with most things in life, you don’t make much progress by being a shrinking violet. You must be willing to advocate what you believe with the same passion that you believe it. Just remind yourself that, as a conservative, there are more people who think like you do than your opposition.

The simple fact is that the differing needs and/or values of different people (sometimes VERY different people) are at odds with one another. Somebody wins and somebody loses, or somebody gets more of what they want than someone else.

If you decide to avoid politics and speaking out for what you believe just because you don’t like being confronted with people who disagree with you or who are mean and call you names, you can’t really be surprised by how things turn out on down the road.

And then it will be too late.

Republican Lessons for Election Integrity

It’s no secret the 2020 election was controversial. Election laws and procedures were thrown out the window in the middle of a pandemic, causing confusion and distrust surrounding the results in several states across the country. As a result, people are paying closer attention to how elections are conducted in their own states.

Fortunately, here in South Carolina, we didn’t have the problems that other states had. Mainly because when Democrats brought their nationally orchestrated effort to try and sue their way to victory here, the South Carolina Republican Party (SCGOP) immediately fought back against those efforts in our state.

That’s the first lesson for Republicans: You need to be ready to defend election integrity immediately. No matter what — no matter who gets squeamish about it.

Within 24 hours of those suits being filed, we had a plan to intervene and fight back in court. Ultimately, the SCGOP fought all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court, and won a complete and total victory. As a direct result, our election laws were protected before votes were cast.

Unfortunately, other states didn’t do the same, and election laws were cast aside by judges or bureaucrats. In many cases, voting had already started when Republicans in other states began fighting back. That hesitancy cost them dearly.

But just because South Carolina didn’t have problems that other states did in 2020, doesn’t mean it couldn’t in the future. So, starting at the beginning of the legislative session after the 2020 election, the SCGOP began working with state legislators to help tighten South Carolina’s election laws to prevent what happened in other states.

That brings us to the second lesson: Use the energy that heightened awareness brings to make necessary changes. As a member of the Republican National Committee’s Election Integrity Committee, I had a firsthand account to what went right and what went wrong across the country in the 2020 election.

Using that information, we created a list of items the SCGOP wanted to see in an election integrity bill for South Carolina. Ultimately, a strong bill passed and was signed into law that included virtually every one of those items.

The new law is full of common-sense measures that make it easy to vote but hard to cheat by banning drop boxes, banning ballot harvesting, and banning third-party dark money, like so-called “Zuckerbucks” from Facebook, from being given to local election commissions.

Additionally, the law now requires the last four digits of a voter’s Social Security number to vote via absentee ballot, and requires a witness to sign, print their name, and provide their address to witness a mail-in absentee ballot. It also requires more thorough and frequent voter-roll cleanups, as well as requiring post-election audits be conducted before a statewide election can be certified.

Another critical provision from the law mandates uniformity among counties by placing local election commissions under the authority of the State Election Commission. Requiring uniformity ensures that every vote is being cast and counted under the exact same standards across the state.

But before these reforms were signed into law, the SCGOP was working to make them become reality, which brings us to the third lesson for Republicans: When you’re in charge, be in charge.

Supporters not only appreciate it, they expect it.

When the SCGOP unanimously passed a resolution calling on the Legislature to pass a bill with these reforms, we didn’t stop there. We worked with legislators on specific language, and then equipped our supporters to become grassroots lobbyists to help get it passed.

It’s another example of the rule that “elections have consequences.” By electing South Carolina’s biggest Republican majority in more than 140 years in 2020, we were able to pass what several organizations have deemed the most comprehensive and secure election law in the country.

Importantly, that’s something Republicans need to keep in mind as we look toward reaping an electoral harvest from a potential red tsunami this November. Our supporters will want us to be in charge and deliver results.

It’s one of the “consequences” of winning. We need to be ready and be bold — especially when it comes to defending our elections.

Why Conservatives Should Focus on Precinct Organization

precinct organizationIt’s a truism in politics to say that “all politics is local”, but truisms are truisms because they’re usually true. In this case it’s right on the money.

The precinct is the most “local” unit in American politics.

If you’re not familiar with it, put simply, a “precinct” is essentially your neighborhood. It’s a geographic area with specific boundaries, (usually defined by your state), that surrounds the place where you go to vote. The name of your precinct is listed on your voter registration card.

There are more than 203,000 precincts in the United States, each with an average of about 1,000 registered voters. Politically, they represent the building blocks of the entire American political and electoral system. Every political district in America, (whether school board, local council, state legislature or congress) is just a different combination of different precincts.

They are the pieces to the American political jigsaw puzzle.

Politics (and political power) is all about people

In American politics power flows from the bottom (the precinct level) up, because precincts are where the people are.

Bottom line? If you’re organized in the precincts you can have an influence on multiple elections at all levels.

It also helps in grassroots lobbying campaigns, since most incumbent politicians are interested in getting re-elected – and people who are organized in the precincts tend to get their attention.

Good grassroots organization emphasizes the important role that precincts play by focusing on individuals who are willing to identify, educate and organize others in their own neighborhoods. That goes for campaigns, grassroots lobbying efforts and gaining influence in the Republican Party.

No matter what issue you have a problem with, or what aspect of politics you’re interested in, having an impact at the precinct level means being able to have an impact further up the political food chain.

You could say it’s a case of “think globally, act locally”.

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