Grassroots Tips

7 New Year’s Resolutions for Conservatives

Sometimes we get so caught up in what’s going on in politics at the moment that we can lose sight of what’s important and what to do next. Don’t let that happen this year. If conservatives are going to be successful in the long-term, then we have to THINK long-term.

With that in mind, here are a few suggested resolutions for conservatives in 2017.

Don’t Be a Cannibal

Every few years campaigns come along like tornadoes and divide many conservatives against one another and then they’re gone. The problem is that many times the personal divisions remain.

Productive relationships with fellow conservatives are vital. No matter who you or anyone else may support (or have supported) in any given campaign, don’t “go cannibal” on fellow conservatives. You might win for the moment, but you’ll lose productive relationships in the long run. And that means fewer people to work with to make a difference.

Coordinate, Coordinate, Coordinate!

It’s a simple fact that conservatives are stronger when we work together, and we are easier to beat when we are divided. Focus on finding ways to work with other conservatives to leverage collective muscle with greater emphasis on sharing information, picking targets and coordinating activity.

The bottom line is to leverage our strengths by focusing on places where they can be overwhelming and have a long term impact. Don’t let personalities or egos get in the way.

Focus on the Fundamentals

No matter how things may change, the need to do the fundamentals remains the same. And the most fundamental element of politics is people, while the most fundamental principle is addition. More organized people means more political influence.

Find (or create) and focus on projects that you or your group can use to help identify and better organize more people who think like you do.

Focus on the Republican Party

Ronald Reagan used to say that “personnel is policy”, and it’s no different when it comes to the people who comprise the GOP’s party structure, or those who run and get elected to public office under the Republican banner.

It’s great to have conservatives start their own groups and speak out, but it’s even better when those same folks also join local Republican Party organizations and run for delegate spots and party offices. Get involved and volunteer to serve on committees. Bring other conservatives with you.

The more conservatives who get involved in the party and support and network with one-another, the fewer problems we will have when it comes to pushing a conservative agenda in the long run.

Build the Farm Team

Just as baseball has its minor leagues, so does politics. Local government is important in its own right, but it also serves as the farm team for the political big leagues. Don’t ignore it. Plus, races at that level have the benefit of being easier to influence. A little money and organization goes a long way.

A coordinated effort by conservative activists to recruit good candidates and then let other conservatives know who they support and where to send money can have a much bigger impact on Joe Smith for school board than it ever could on Suzzie Smith for Congress.

If you want to have a long-term impact on the upper levels of politics, then you need to have a long-term approach for influencing who gets there.

Be a Catalyst

Focus on doing what YOU can do this year instead of complaining about others.

If you can’t find an effective group to join that focuses on all of those things that you complain about, then start one yourself. Meet regularly. Or start an effort to identify and recruit candidates for local office. Or you could create a newsletter or website that lists candidates that you support…or lists key dates and information about political meetings and activity in your area with details about how to get involved. Put it on Facebook and/or email it to everyone you know.

The point is not to wait for someone else to do it. They’re waiting for you. Do something.

Stay Engaged

Whether you win or you lose in any political endeavor, it’s never really “over”. No victory or defeat is permanent. If you lose, you saddle up and get ready to fight again. If you win, you can’t go home because the other side will be coming back to un-do whatever you have done. Government is going to be here as long as there are people, which means the process of government – or politics – is never over.

Conservatives waste far too much time trying to ramp up for a fight rather than staying engaged. Don’t quit!


Look back over this list and make a decision to adopt one of these resolutions for 2017. Then stay committed.

Ten Trump Election Lessons

Donald TrumpThere are always lessons that we can learn from the results any election, but when one is the most stunning upset in US political history we really need to pay attention. Here are the first lessons that come to mind:

1) Money isn’t what it used to be. Trump won spending about five dollars per vote…half of what Hillary spent. That’s not to say that money doesn’t matter. It helps you communicate and organize. But this totally upends what the “smart people” who try to get big donors to waste millions of dollars constantly tell us.

2) Free media matters! And being able to go above the media with your own outlets matters too. (See #1)

3) Being politically incorrect won’t kill you. Hopefully other candidates will learn to take off the political correctness filter. Don’t be so buttoned down and afraid of the media. Channel what your target voters are thinking. And doing so can get you free media. (See #2)

4) Staying on message matters…a lot. Because the “message” matters. This one speaks for itself.

5) Republicans don’t have to pander to win (repeat…Republicans don’t have to pander to win). Note that Trump got a higher percentage of the black, Hispanic and Asian vote than Romney did…using a message that the “smart people” (who showed us how to lose) said would kill us with minorities. A blue-collar, middle-America message appeals across racial lines.

6) Evangelicals are a growth market. Trump got a higher share of evangelicals (81%) than Romney, McCain or Bush…and there are tens of millions more that still don’t vote. It’s the second most loyal demographic – and the largest pool of untapped votes – in American politics. Keep in mind that any real growth that we will ever see among minority groups will come from those sitting in church somewhere on Sunday mornings. That means that religious liberty issues matter.

7) The Rust Belt is the GOP’s presidential future. I’ve been saying this for years. The future of our winning/keeping the presidency lies in combining most of the South with the Rust Belt; meaning blue-collar voters and Catholics (of which Trump won 52% nationally). And they don’t like globalism and open borders.

8) Yes, nationalism can win – and that’s a good thing. And yes, it can “co-exist” with conservatism – especially given the fact that a large percentage of self-identified real world conservatives (not ivory tower egg-heads) also subscribe to an America First (i.e. “nationalist”) message. The pharisaical, legalistic “conservatives” who claim that true conservatism = globalism will lead us to nothing but a further divided, less successful conservative movement and party. (See #7)

9) We can see shadows of realignment. While not a technical electoral realignment by political science standards, this was the leading edge of one, seeing us win states that we haven’t carried since Reagan was on the ballot. This “message” (and even better messengers) can expand that market and bring about a real political realignment for the Republican Party. Not to try would be political malpractice. (See #8)

10) Successful politics is about addition and multiplication. And that starts with unity. Now is our opportunity to bring new people in and build something bigger than what we had.

I’m sure other lessons will become self-evident (or may be right now), but these are some that Republicans should take to heart.  Pass it on!

The Fundamentals of Political Campaigns

It’s a fundamental truth of politics that if you don’t win, you can’t govern.

You can’t implement policy if you aren’t elected to a position that allows you to do so, or if you don’t have sympathetic elected officials that are willing to help. With that being the case, it’s critical that conservatives know the basics of effective campaigning if we expect to see our ideas implemented in government.

The good news is that the fundamentals of successful campaigns are the same today as they were thousands of years ago.

Julius Caesar once said that the only thing needed to conquer the world was “men and money”. Modify that idea slightly by adding “message” and you’ve got a thumbnail sketch of what political campaigns are all about.

They’re known as “the Three M’s”

The Fundamental Elements of Campaigns:

  • Manpower: Do you have the supporters that can build a successful campaign organization?
  • Money: Do you have the resources to identify, inform and mobilize your supporters – and get your message out to the public?
  • Message: What are you saying – and does it motivate people to get involved?

These three elements are universal to all campaigns. They don’t change.

They are “elements” in the sense that virtually every aspect of a campaign’s organization and activity revolves around one of them. That means that you should arrange your campaign accordingly around those areas of responsibility, (ex. communications, fundraising and organization). Don’t make things any more complicated than they absolutely need to be.

Regardless of whether a campaign is national, state or local in scope, the objective is the same. To win. Having the most devoted and numerous volunteers, the most money (or enough) and the most compelling message goes a long way towards that goal.

In addition to being the fundamental “elements” of campaigns, they are also the fundamental sources of political strength.

Don’t forget it.

The Fundamental Imperatives of Campaigns:

The same principles that apply to successful grassroots activism also apply to political campaigns. Generally speaking, there are three fundamental imperatives for any election campaign:

  1. Identify and organize your supporters
  2. Inform them
  3. Mobilize them

They are “imperatives” in the sense that virtually everything that a campaign does should accomplish one of these items.

Without identified people who are willing to support the campaign, you don’t have a campaign. Without information (built around the campaign’s “message”), you can’t motivate people – and they can’t help educate and motivate others to join the effort. And if they’re not mobilized to turn out (and help turn out others) on Election Day, you’ll lose.

These three “imperatives” should constitute the vast majority of the time, resources and effort spent on behalf of any campaign. Use them to evaluate all of the campaign’s activity, in the terms of: “does it accomplish any of the three imperatives”.

If it doesn’t, think twice.

The Four Rules to Winning a Campaign:

When it comes to winning an election, it’s not complicated. It’s not some secret formula that you need to pay a lot of money for, and it hasn’t changed since this country first started holding elections. You need more votes than the other guy (or gal).

The “rules” for how to make that happen were spelled out best by someone who (at the time) was a little known congressman from Illinois who went on to get himself elected President.

It’s a straightforward “mobilization” plan that derives from the fundamental “imperatives” listed above.

  1. Obtain a complete list of voters
  2. Determine how they will vote
  3. Contact the favorable voters
  4. Get your voters to the polls

In other words, start with the outer rings of the target and work your way down towards the bulls-eye. When it comes to summarizing the basics of a “get-out-the-vote” strategy, you can’t do much better than that.

Of course there are a number of other aspects to running a campaign, but they don’t really matter very much if you don’t do the basics. No matter how much modern technology may change “how” things are done, the fundamentals still apply.

No matter what kind of political or issue-based campaign you’re working on, don’t let yourself get sidetracked.

Do the fundamentals. You’ll be glad you did.