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Getting Involved in Your Party

Glenn Reynolds, the famed Instapundit, wants people to know that they can make a difference nationally by getting involved locally. As linked by Ed Morrissey at HotAir, Reynolds notes:

You might join a political party — many small-government activists are trying to take over the Republican (and some even the Democratic) Party at the grassroots level and work from the bottom up, from the precinct to the state level.

It’s surprisingly easy to get involved in politics locally, and you can acquire responsibility and influence quite rapidly if you’re good with people and willing to put in the work.

The parties have a similar structure, mostly dictated by state law at this point. State chairs, district and county chairs, sometimes are separated by more layers from the grass roots level. But the grass roots is almost always something called a Precinct Committeeman.

The PCs are usually elected by the primary voters in a party. They in turn vote on the higher offices in a given party.  But here’s the big secret: nationwide, about half of these slots are empty. When empty, either fewer people vote for the higher offices, giving those who do vote more power, or the incumbent (e.g., county chairman) gets to vote for himself by proxy.

We at the Precinct Project have been trying to get principle-driven, constitutional conservatives to join the major pary of their choice by becoming Precinct Committeemen. Really, we don’t care which one you choose: both parties need to be more influenced by conservatives.

Browse about the site and you’ll see instructions for contacting your county chairman and offering to help.  Probably the chairman is overworked and underpaid, because he’s a volunteer, and will welcome the help. But if you get stonewalled, you can contact me (@lheal) or the Project main account (@PrecinctProject) on Twitter, and we’ll get to the bottom of things.

Despite what you may have heard, the parties are not the same. They are just weak, and controlled by incumbents who make the laws circumscribing what the parties can do. What is needed is for ordinary citizens to get off their couches and spend a couple of hours a month regenerating the party structures.  If we do that, the politicians will sit up and take notice, because we will engage the people in their government once again.

Originally published July 4, 2011.

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PC Power and Governance

It’s not just about getting out to walk the precincts.  If we are dissatisfied with what our party delivers to us and our to government, it’s on us to get involved with party governance and correct the party by governing it directly.   I’ve written much elsewhere just how much success this strategy is having in many states already – the party is changing!  You are needed to accelerate that change.

But most PCs are simply unaware of just how much governing power they possess – and we need to be training each other to use it, to wield it!

Governing the party

It turns out there is much more involved (or there can be) than just voting once every 2-4 years for your county chair, or state chair and national committee critters.  Much more than just being on the platform committee of your county or state.  Look at the second column from the left on the chart below – the column with a sampling of the local boards, commissions, agencies and authorities in your region.

As one of the local PCs in your community, you practically have first claim to sit on one or more of these boards and commissions if you make your interest known – and especially if your county or state chair makes a few calls to help you.  It may sometimes take some sharp elbow work, but it can be done, usually as easily as when you became a PC.

So we should be going after these various board, commission, agency and authority seats with a vengeance.

How your local power cascades and is magnified/leveraged. (click to enlarge in a new tab)

 

One caveat: the above chart by the third column from the left is talking solely about city/county employees, but your influence goes much farther than that as a member of a board or commission: you also influence vendors (may longime vendors with ‘sweet’ contracts) neeting attendees, and many more people than we can represent on the chart.

I’m not relating these facts out of any excess of scholarship or study.   I quite literally stumbled into the idea as a result of an invitation – an invitation that I suspect many readers here will envy, especially with the rapidly rising popularity of  organizations like True the Vote and voter fraud work.

I was invited to attend a meeting of VSAP, the LA County advisory board that will help choose the voting equipment we be using in LA in 2016.  At the meeting I asked to be appointed to the board, and suggested how I might help, and my offer was accepted.  Even though I work for the ‘opposition’ party compared to most in the room that day.

What’s your area of interest?  I’m betting you can find one in the second column above.  Then join in, in your local community, and contribute to the governance of your community as well as your party.

We often accuse our party leaders of being ‘too nice’.  Are we guilty of the same thing if we’re not ready to get into the rough and tumble of community and local party governance?  After all, we should not be calling on our leaders to engage in these difficult battles if we are not present on the battlefield to support them.

I don’t have to tell you what the consequences for us are if we do not do this, right?

 

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