Archives for political parties

Political Parties: How to Get Involved

political partiesAs I’ve mentioned before, getting involved in a political party is one of the best ways to have an impact on the things you care about.  And for conservatives, that means getting involved in the GOP.

However, many people don’t get involved simply because they don’t know much about it, and a lack of information intimidates people.  So, for those who have never been involved, here’s a rundown on pretty much all you need to know and where to begin.

Structure of Political Parties

Political parties are structured in the form of a pyramid, with national elected leaders at the top and the broad base of supporters at the foundation, with several layers in between.  People at each level in turn elect leaders for their own level and delegates to move up and select leaders for the next level.  In the same manner, each level usually adopts its own platform and resolutions on issues that members feel strongly about.  This ultimately culminates at the national conventions once every four years when they select presidential nominees.

Precincts are the most basic units of any political party, and they are organized geographically around the place where you normally go vote.  And because precincts are also the most basic unit in American politics – on which pretty much EVERYTHING else is built – they are the most important.  More importantly, because they’re the smallest units, they’re the ones that YOU and an organized group of fellow conservatives can have the most influence over.

Further up the food chain, county (or sometimes “district”) committees are generally comprised of the elected representatives from each precinct; and each state has a committee and a convention comprised of elected representatives from each county (or “district”).  Each state in turn elects members to a national committee which acts as a board of directors for four years between national conventions.

So, where do you Start?

Generally, all that’s required to become active in a political party’s organization is your willingness to get involved. Depending on the state you live in you may need to make sure you’re registered to vote as a Republican, vote in the party primaries, or attend a precinct organizational meeting, (usually held once every two years in many states).

In short, you need a pulse. Nothing is stopping you.

Local party organizations are usually starved for participation.  In fact, the percentage of your fellow Americans that do so is far less than one percent – which magnifies the influence you can have simply by “showing up”.

Since the Republican Party generally serves as the political vehicle for the conservative movement, as a conservative it’s one of your best tools for impacting the issues you care about.  In the process, you can help get good candidates nominated and elected to office, or possibly even run for something yourself someday (stop laughing!).

With all of this being the case, the first thing you should do is join the local county party in your area.  Go to the meetings.  Volunteer for something.  Find out how to be an official part of your local party precinct organization. And when the time comes, run for a delegate spot to you county convention and/or consider running for a precinct officer position.

Remember, if you don’t get involved, you can’t make a difference…and you won’t have much right to complain.

If you have never been involved and don’t know where to go, just “Google” the Republican Party for your state…then find a link to information about your county/city from the state site.  Look for upcoming meeting dates.  Call someone and tell them you want to get involved.  After they get over the shock, they’ll point you in the right direction.

For those who have been or are involved in the party, feel free to forward this on to someone else that you’ve been trying to get to join you!

How to Get Elected to a Local Political Party Office

Running for leadershipIf you want to have an even greater impact on the things that you care about, serving in a local political party office is another great opportunity to do exactly that.

But you need to keep a few things in mind…

You need to go to the meetings

Begin by showing up for local party meetings and let those who are there know that you are sincere about wanting to get involved. Given the overall level of apathy and how few people actually get involved, they’ll likely be surprised, and they’re sure to appreciate it. Few people are willing to spend the time and energy it takes to rise through the ranks. Those that do are usually successful in the long run.

Sure, meetings can be boring sometimes. But it’s hard to have an organization without meetings. And it’s harder to get people to eventually elect you to something if you’re not “at” the meetings.

Don’t hesitate to pay your dues

In pretty much any type of organization that elects leadership, the best way to move up the ranks is by “paying your dues”. Political parties are no different.

Whether you want to run for local precinct president, or serve on your county or district committee as a committeeman, be a delegate or anything else, it helps if the people who will be voting know that you have paid your dues. That means getting involved and volunteering for whatever is going on that you’re interested in.

Remember, it’s always easier to “lead” (and ask people to let you lead) if you’ve been willing to “serve”.

Parties tend to promote from within

It’s just a simple fact that people tend to support other people that they are familiar with. While it’s true that some people manage to “leap-frog” ahead of others in the political process without paying any dues, it’s not usually the case. And if you’re too ambitious too soon, you can spook long-time members unnecessarily, get isolated and work yourself out of some potential friends and allies.

Take your time. Don’t make enemies if you don’t have to. Study the structure and procedures of the group and look for partners, not opponents.


Of course, none of this is to say that you can’t “storm the castle” if it’s absolutely necessary, but that requires a lot of work and organization – plus a lot of friends who are willing to work with you. And after it’s over, if you win, you’ll probably have to continually deal with the people that you took the castle “from”. Just keep that in mind.

But the bottom line to remember is that so few people get involved at all that if you’re willing to serve you’ll be in rare company and probably move up the ranks quicker than you think.

How Did that Idiot Get Elected? (Impact of Apathy in Politics)

apathy in politicsEver sit at home and watch the evening news or read the paper and see a story about some elected official who does something so incredibly stupid that it makes you mutter (or yell) to yourself, “How did that idiot get elected?”  If so, you’re not alone.

So how did they get that job?  The short answer is usually, “he (or she) showed up” – plus “apathy”.

  • They went to the meetings nobody else wanted to go to.
  • They volunteered to do the things nobody else would do.
  • They were then asked to serve on some committee.
  • Eventually they were put in charge of something because there were so few people willing to do anything.
  • When that vacancy for school board or some other commission opened up, there they were.  Somebody decided they should get promoted (or just wanted to get them out of the job they were in to be rid of them).
  • When a city or county council seat opened up, there they were.
  • Then it was the state legislature…and before you know it, they’re a congressman, governor…or even President.

The Result of Apathy in Politics

It’s sort of a political version of the “Peter Principle“, which states that “employees tend to rise to their level of incompetence”.  I call it the “Unified Theory of Political Incompetence”: people in politics rise beyond their level of incompetence due to the apathy of others.

Apathy in politics is why only around sixty percent of the people in our country register to vote, and about half of those bother to vote in the average election.  Fewer still will vote in primaries, local or special elections.  And only a fraction of those people bother to participate any further, which leaves political parties and other civic groups starved for participation.

Politics, like everything else in nature, abhors a vacuum.  Of course suffering under incompetence is one thing, but it can be worse.  As Edmund Burke put it, “All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing”.

“Apathy plus showing up” is not a formula for good leadership.

Everyone started somewhere.  Whether we like it or not, the lower ranks of American politics serve as the “farm team”.

Don’t abandon the lower ranks to idiots and you’ll have less to complain about.