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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!

Why Conservatives Should Get Involved in the Republican Party

political influenceHow would you like to have more political influence than 99.99% of the population?

Would you like to become so influential for the things that you care about that candidates and public officials come to you for support, seek out your opinions or come to know you on a first name basis.  Or maybe so important that your opinions help shape the political debate.

How is this possible?  Simply by getting involved in a political party.  And for conservatives, that means get involved in the Republican Party.

Parties are where the power is

Most of the political influence in our country is channeled through the two major political parties.  Everything from public policy, to candidates for public office and the laws that are proposed and/or passed in our country are influenced by political parties.

It is fair to say that the degree to which you can participate and be effective in the political process depends, to some extent, on the degree to which you get involved in a political party.

The apathy of others increases your impact

Most people in our country don’t get involved in political parties.  They don’t even bother to vote in party primaries, much less volunteer or serve in any elected capacity within a party.

Consider some numbers: Only a little more than half of all Americans bother to register to vote; a little more than half of them will vote in the average election; less than half of that number will vote in the average party primary – then split that number in half between the average turnout in Republican and Democrat party primaries.

At that point you’re already having more influence than 80% or more of the population.

Party involvement magnifies your political influence

It will vary slightly from state to state, but on average only about 1/10 of 1% of Americans are actually part of a political party structure – meaning they have joined a local party precinct organization.  A still smaller percentage of that group either gets elected to a local leadership position or as a delegate to the county, district, state or national levels.

These are the people who are usually sought out by candidates and elected officials for their feedback, their help on campaigns and to fill staff positions in government.

Political parties are just vehicles

Political parties in some form or another have existed since the foundation of our country.  Their “philosophies” have changed over time however, as members come and go. In other words, they’re no better than the people that comprise them at any given time.

For example, think of a political party as a bus that a group of people use to get from one place to another.  Every few years the bus pulls over to the side of the road, people get on and off, they fight over the steering wheel, and then it goes down the road for a few more years.

But if you’re not “on” the bus, you don’t have any influence over “where” it goes.

So, again, do you want to have a greater impact for the conservative agenda and things you care about?  Then get involved in the Republican Party at the local level.

Don’t let people you may disagree with (or who are just disagreeable) keep you from getting involved.  You can’t control what other people do or don’t do.  Only yourself.

Don’t be part of the 99.99%


You can get more tips about about party activism in my Intermediate Guide to Grassroots Politics!