By Josh Pratt
Significant political victories throughout the country at both the federal and state levels have wrung a deafening alarm to the liberal establishment that real ‘hope and change’ has come in the form of a social movement; a tsunami fed by multiple little streams of local influence called the TEA Party. TEA Party Patriots, 912 groups, and other liberty minded federations across the country brought to the American political experience a true grit grassroots brushfire that was a mighty blaze to watch on Election Day. Yet, today when the establishment looks to the horizon they do not see smoke or the flames of liberty blazing they see distant embers dimming and with each passing day lessoning their worry because ‘game day’ has passed. What does all of this mean?
We, the TEA Party and conservatives of the Republican Party, have acted like we are in a spectator sport. We have the wrong perspective. Now that there has been a touch down we’ve cheered and back slapped each other as if we have accomplished the great goal, we haven’t. This is self-deception has been the cause of many of the failure of conservatives at the hands of an advancing liberal agenda.
The opposition has a different perspective; they act as if they are in a war. They are organizing, training, and preparing for the next battle. We, on the other hand, are relaxing, enjoying the victory lap and taking a break; hence the flames of liberty have reduced and the embers are beginning to die.
Since the inception of the TEA party movement I have been trumpeting the revolution from within the Republican Party not from without. TEA Party minded people must get involved in the Republican Party at the local level if any real effective change is to remain and become the norm.
This is why I am calling for organization in the form of training the activist grassroots core; training in the art of influence and strategy to affect the local and county level politics. I am calling it “the Bubble Up” because the revolution is bubbling up from the grassroots. It is bottom up not top down movement. It is a movement from the people, by the people and for the people, to preserve liberty and push back the statist, both Republican and Democrat.
Shall we then go quietly into the night? No! Man the bellows, sound the alarm, the reds are here. Edmund Burke said it best, “All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.”# I say: “do something, do something, do something.” We must fan those embers into a viable heat for battle and cause the flames of liberty to leap once again. Here are a few suggestions on how to wage this war:
- Gain membership in the local Republican Party
- Identify local races that can be challenged by TEA Party minded people
- Host a TEA Party House Party
- Give of your time, talent and treasures to the cause of liberty.
For far too long, conservatives have been relegated to the fringe of the Republican Party and in many cases shut out and silenced. The Republican Party should be Conservative. Instead the party has been an aisle crossing moderate at best and a liberal at worst. A conservative revolution is what this country needs, grass roots activism is where it begins; the local level from within the Republican Party is the first line of attack.
By becoming a member of the local Republican Party you gain two things: 1) When you become a member you get a vote in the party, a voice in the decision making process. One vote can make the difference especially at the local level. 2) By gaining membership you can also have influence that you cannot have from without the party unit.# This has been demonstrated well in many ways but most evident is the third party movements of the past.
Does it work? Absolutely! In the fifth district of Virginia a plan to take over unit chairs was launched in the 2010 cycle by Virginia Fifth Watchdog . In that effort 11 Republican unit chairs were replaced. This activity has become labeled as being “Boyered” because the main influence one the ground behind the movement was Rick Boyer Jr., a longtime Republican and social conservative activist.
This example of a take over from within had the effect it did because of the grassroots activists that were voting members of the local Republican units.
Identifying Local Races
When identifying a local race such as city council member, county supervisor, or another local policy making position it is important to keep in mind that the moderate (middle of the isle deal maker) is more likely to be defeated by a conservative than is a liberal. A moderate incumbent that has voting record of leftward-statist votes can be used to demonstrate to people the need to replace him or her with a conservative TEA Party minded candidate.
Just simply look around, you can find a potential candidate within your TEA Party group or the Republican Party. He can be a business man, a person of influence, someone with charisma and no skeletons. Once a person is identified you can help them to get the proper training to run a successful campaign. Organizations like The Leadership Institute, American Majority and the Reagan Institute for Conservative Leadership can provide training for conservative candidates and grass roots organizations. Contact me for more details.
Host a TEA Party House Party
It has been said that ‘all politics are local.’ Absolutely! Organizing your community from your home is not daunting or just for the politically savvy professionals. Hosting a TEA Party House Party is easy and fun.
Here a few steps to bring about a great Tea Party House Party. Select a date: a Friday or Saturday evening works best. Call a few friends: your TEA Party group is great place to start let them know what you are planning. Enlist: ask for help with inviting people (neighbors), food preparation and clean up. Ask a TEA Party leader or a TEA Party friendly elected representative to join the party and speak for 15 to 20 minutes. Collect contact info: the names and information from your guests can be used for organizing around a candidate when the time comes. This is very important – Lists of conservative activist are a key component to winning a campaign. Also theses names are a great source of new TEA Party members. Remember that ‘elections are won at the kitchen table’ and relationship building is the key to trust.
Time, Talent and Treasures
Anne Frank said, “No one has ever become poor by giving.”# Giving of your time talent and treasure to the cause of liberty is an investment in the future of our nation. Time: volunteer for a conservative TEA Party candidate. There are many tasks that a good campaign has for people to assist with if they just give of their time. Talent: what are you good at that can help a conservative TEA Party candidate? Some may be good telephone people, some may have computer skills, some may have large network of friends or business associates.
Discovering what you are talented at and then giving it to a conservative candidate is the essence of who conservatives are. Treasure: every campaign needs finances. Cash is king. Discovering where you can sacrifice a little in your life for the greater good is an important part of conservatism. Do I really need that $4 cup of coffee today, tomorrow and so on? Would the $25 dollars you save this month by not going out to dinner once help the candidate? Absolutely!
In summary Ronald Reagan said, “You and I have a rendezvous with destiny. We will preserve for our children this, the last best hope of man on Earth, or we will sentence them to take the last step into a thousand years of darkness.” Folks it is up to us, we the people, to make a stand against tyranny by giving of our time, our talents and our treasures. Pick one, pick two pick them all – gain membership if you already have not, find local races to turn to conservatism but whatever you do; do something, do something, do something to fan the flames of liberty.
Josh Pratt is the Vice President of Development for the Reagan Institute for Conservative Leadership and the founder of JDP Consulting. He has earned a BA in Political Science from Arizona State University and an M.DIV. in Leadership from Liberty University. He is also a graduate of The Leadership Institute Campaign Manager School. Josh is an active member of the Republican Party and the Lynchburg TEA Party. He is married and is the father of four sons. His family lives in Lynchburg, VA. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org