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 political resolutions for conservatives.
Focus on the Fundamentals
No matter how things may change, the need to do the fundamentals remains the same. 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.
Coordinate With Other Conservatives
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 on sharing information, picking which battles to fight and which targets to focus on and then coordinating activity. The result will be more real progress and less wasted time and frustration.
The bottom line is to work together to leverage our strengths by focusing on places where they can be overwhelming and have a long term impact.
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. Don’t let things get personal!
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 that means fewer people to work with in the future to make a difference on the things that you care about.
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, campaigns and elected officials at that level are easier to influence. A little organization goes a long way. A coordinated effort to recruit good candidates and then let other conservatives know who to support 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.
Focus on the Republican Party
Ronald Reagan used to say that “personnel is policy”, and it’s true. It’s great to have conservatives start their own groups and speak out, but it’s better when those same folks also join local Republican Party organizations and get involved. Better still if they bring other conservatives with them.
The more conservatives who get involved in the Party and support and network with each other, the more success we will have in pushing a conservative agenda in the long run.
Pick Your Battles
Just as liberals won generations of votes by winning battles over Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid, conservatives should focus on big picture battles that result in still more victories in the future because they tilt the playing field more in our favor.
Conservatives need to focus on battles (issues) that unite us and build our coalition – and that we can win. But cooperation is the key. Pick your battles…don’t let them pick you.
Adopt an Elected Official
Organizing, recruiting and electing candidates to office is one thing, but it’s all for naught if conservatives don’t work to help them succeed – or hold them accountable when necessary.
Watch them. Attend meetings. Meet with them. Offer to work with them when you can. Let them know about your concerns if necessary. Let other conservatives know what’s going on and how they can help. “Adopt” an elected official and make a project out of them.
Focus on doing what YOU can do this year instead of complaining about others. If you can’t find an effective group that focuses on the things that you care about, then start one yourself. Or start an effort to identify and recruit candidates for local office. Or you create a newsletter or website that keeps people informed about candidates and elected officials, or lists key dates and information about political activity in your area with details about how to get involved. Put it on Facebook and share it with everyone that you know.
The point is not to wait for someone else to do it. They’re waiting for you. Do something!
Whether you win or 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 too much time trying to ramp up for a fight rather than just staying engaged so that they are always ready. Don’t quit!