So, You Want To Change The GOP… An Insiders Road Map For The Trip Ahead
Â “Problems within the GOP begin,
lead to, and eventually, end, (one way or another)
inside the doors of your local county Party.” Â
Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Passionate Pachyderms
Please allow me to try and explain how it all works, and what must be accomplished to change it.
Before anyone opts to argue what I tell you, please know that there are NO short cuts. A faster, “easier” way doesn’t exist, and won’t be found.
That is completely by design. You see it’s not supposed to be “easy” or “fast” or simply done, nor would any of us want it to be.
For those who believe they already know this stuff, humor me, and just go with it, you might just learn something new!.
Our Nation has two major National political parties already in place, The Republican National Committee, and the Democratic National Committee. These two organizations are, figuratively speaking, at the top of the political food chain.Â
Next, each state, has it’s own state version, for example, The Republican Party of Wisconsin, (RPW) The Â Republican party of Colorado (RPC) and DemocraticÂ Party of Wisconsin (DPW) Â The Democratic Party of Colorado (DPC). These organizations are similarly also already in place.
In the same vein, each state in our country, is divided up into counties. (or something akin to counties, but called by a different name.) Each state county, has a county Party already in place.
In order to become a voting, policy making, member of the national party, orÂ your state party, you must first be, “a dues paying member in good standing of the County Party in which you reside.”
These county parties consist of County Pasrty Officers, i.e. a Chairman, a vice chair, Secretary, and Treasurer, Â and a pre-determined number of board members,(chairmen) typically each with a specific title of their own, such as “Membership Chair”, “Media and advertising chair,” “headquarters chair” “Finance chair” etc. and, quite possibly, a set number of “at large” board members, who serve where-ever they are needed.
The number of board members and Chair positions is pre determined in the constitution and by-laws of each county party, but typically they closely mirror those of the state party.
Knowing this, the first thing you need to do, is to obtain, read, interpret, and memorize your own county party’s constitution and bi-laws.
That constitution and those By-laws contain much of the information you’ll need to formulate a plan.Â Note:Â it is unlikely anyone will easily provide you a copy of this document, unless or until you are a “Paid member in good standing” of that organization. This means you will need to fill out an application to join, and pay any/all applicable membership dues.Â **Special note… due to rules clearly spelled out which govern all county, and state political organizations, if you plan to do this, I’d advise doing it now, prior to the end of the year. I’ll explain why a bit further down.
Once you’re a “Paid member in good standing of your county Party,” and have fulfilled any“waiting period”Â they require, (these can very) you’re allowed to participate and vote on things which concern the membership. I.e. you are eligible to vote for whomever you choose to be the county party chairman, or vote against passing a proposed new rule, or by-law.
Leadership officer positions are elected for specific terms, and voted on in predetermined Â years. (*Specific dates can be found in the county party constitution.)Â For example, The constitution may state, (Party officers) serve two year terms, Â and will be elected in Odd numbered years.
The board members on the other hand, are often elected in opposite years, (in this case, the even numbered years).
All are elected at the County Party Caucus by the *membership. (*Qualified dues paying members in good standing.) Â Caucuses are generally held within the first month or two of each year. Â This is why it is important that everyone join their local county Party now, so you’ll be eligible to vote at your 2013 county party caucus.Â
Â The caucus must be advertised, and each member in good standing MUST be sent an invitation to attend. Typically it is combined with some sort of dinner, or pot luck type thing to encourage, (or some times, in some cases, discourage attendance.)
Â Only those who are Members in good standing are allowed to vote on any matter presented at caucus. Some CP’s even restrict attendance at caucus to those who are members in good standing. This too is spelled out clearly in the constitution.
Â Choose your leadership and board members at this level carefully, and VERY wisely. Those you elect will likely make the difference between a county Party you want to be a part of, and, one you’ll get nothing but frustration out of. Don’t make the mistake of thinking that things at this level don’t matter. Nothing could be farther from the truth. This is where EVERYTHING begins, ends, and leads back to!
Â It’s possible that in your county party there is already a certain group of “good old boys, and girls” Â who, in much the same way as the national party, are the “chosen ones” seen as local party “royalty,” and thus considered to be the only possible “real” choice. Â After all, they are the “kings and queens” in your particular area. Â It is very difficult to overthrow “kings and queens.” Â It is often even more difficult, to convince them to see anything from a perspective which in any way, Â differs from their own.
Â This is why youÂ MUSTÂ have a solid knowledge of the constitution and by-laws, andÂ mustÂ be ready and able to make them work in your favor.Â ( **Doing this will take more than 20 minutes before declaring yourself a candidate for county party chair.)Â It must be well thought out, carefully orchestrated, and painstakingly planned, with every possible obstacle, and/or objection planned for, and overcome, before it even has an opportunity to be raised by members of the royal family, or their court. (supporters)
Â In most places, accomplishing all of this will take a minimum of two years.Â
Â I know it isn’t what any of you want to hear. This is none the less, the way of things, and is why we, (Passionate Pachyderms) have been pushing hard for everyone to join and become involved with their county Parties.Â
You may not be interested in ever being a member of the board or an officer, but it’s quite likely someone you know and want to support will want to fill these positions. Â If you are not in place, ready to support and vote for them, Â when they go up against royalty, I promise you, their chances of winning, and being able to bring about the changes you want or need, will be very slim.
Additionally,Â DO NOT,Â under ANY circumstances attempt to elect someone to those positions who isn’t 100% committed to putting their heart, soul, and best efforts into doing the job, Â just so you have “someone else” in that seat.
Â If you do this, it’s quite likely you’ll be far worse off than you would have been, if you had allowed the royalty to continue to reign over your County Party. This is a difficult journey, with huge mountains ahead to climb. Â Without willing, ready, and able climbers, you’ll only end up killing yourself, as you attempt to pull reluctant, or uncommitted climbers up to each new plateau.
Â Membership and stumbling Blocks
It is imperative that you, and EVERYONE you are in contact with,Â Â join their county partyÂ immediately! DO NOT WAIT!
In most cases, county parties have waiting periods, which range from 10 to 60 days, between the date you join, and the date you are eligible to vote at caucus, or upon any county party business. This waiting period is in place to prevent any entity, or group of people, Â from being able toÂ “take over”Â the organization,Â “under the radar”.
Â Additionally, some organizations have the added requirement, that an individual be a paid member in good standing,Â “in the year just prior to the current one,”Â in order to be eligible to serve in any leadership position within the organization, such as County Chair, Vice Chair or board member. (Check your County Party Constitution and By-laws)
By joining now, you should be able to avoid getting hung up by those little details.
Â Now, if your thought is, that you, and those supporting you, will make an attempt to take control of your county party, I STRONGLY advise you to keep this plan as quiet as you possibly can.
Royalty, (Good old boys and girls) very often, are well known, and have a significant number of “court members” Â (supporters/friends) who do exactly as they are told.Â
It’s been my experience in these situations, that frequently, (not always) these “court members” are older, between 60-85 years old. Â Much like the royalty they serve, they typically have very set in stone ideas about how things should be done, and who should be allowed to do them
“Court members” may object frequently to new proposals, plans or ideas, with the phrase,”That’s not how we always used to do it!”Â Followed by their version of how things were done in,Â “the good old days.”Â Don’t get me wrong, often there are priceless learning opportunities which exist from knowing about these things. Such knowledge often can make time consuming, costly mistakes, avoidable. Their information typically does indeed have value. Â But, when old ways don’t work anymore, and it’s time to change the way things are done, Â to more current, or productive practices, and ways of doing things, Â re-living the “good old days”, often diverts attention and focus from where it needs to be.Â
“Court members” also tend to have the same pre-conceived notions as royalty, Â regarding Â who should be “allowed” to be included in things, and of course, who should be EXCLUDED from certain things, consider what they have to say, but do so with caution. Such Pre-conceived notions could have been formed with good reason, or they may have been formed because those individuals once tried to “change things,” take the time to form your own opinions, and draw your own conclutions.
Some “court members” are adept at playing both sides against the middle. Some, Â find a perverse sort of entertainment value, or pleasure in creating problems, via gaining and trading information. So be very selective about who has what information. Make sure those who do have it, know they must guard it carefully.
Remember,Â politics is aÂ VERYÂ dirty game to play, especially at this level. The stakes are VERY high, not only for those your aware of, but also for many you may not have considered.Â Don’t be paranoid, but always be mindful, and cautious.
If you plan on trying to elect new leadership in numbers large enough to gain control of things, make sure those individuals stepping forward, know how much work and responsibility they are going to be expected to take on. It is important that EVERYONE involved, goes into it with their eyes wide open, and are ready to commit the time, effort, finances, and energy it will take, to effectively and appropriately represent your county, and be committed to behaving appropriately.
Â This may include the ability to afford the expenses related to Â weekend conventions, meetings, state wide events, formal functions, dinners, and fundraising parties, it may mean traveling occasionally to meet with other county leaders, it may mean trips to your state capital, or even to Washington D.C. should the need arise.Â
Â Typically such expensesÂ are notÂ things which can nor will be reimbursed with county party funds, (nor should they be) but nevertheless, they will be things you’ll want and/ or need to be present for, and involved with, Â in order to be an effective, knowledgeable leader, capable of handling any/ all situations that could come up.
Â Also know that you will need enough paid members in good standing,Â physically present at the caucus, to not only out number royalty and their court members, you’ll need enough toWIN.
Â This isn’t as easy as it may sound. Â You may have what seems to be a huge number of folks encouraging you to go for it, telling you, they’ll “support you”, and swearing they’ll be there to vote for you! That’s great!Â
But remember, those same individualsÂ MUST BE PAID MEMBERS IN GOOD STANDING, WHO HAVE FULFILLED ANY Â WAITING PERIOD REQUIREMENTS, and they MUST be present at caucus to vote.Â Many folksÂ “think”Â they are members of their local party, Â just because they voted with that party, or because they supported a particular candidate.Â They would be WRONG.
An equal number of folks believe they are members of their state and county party, because they “donated to the national party,” Â and they even got a pretty little “membership card” from them! They would beÂ WRONGÂ as well. (Â Don’t feel badly if you thought this too. It’s one of those “little details” national and state party organizations, like to keep quiet, because if you know this, why would you donate to them?)
The Fact is, THE ONLY WAY you can become a member of your county party, is by applying for membership, and paying your dues to that organization,Â and by renewing that membership EVERY year, and paying required dues every year.Â This is written in stone, there are NO exceptions.
Â Further,Â the only way you can participate in state or national policy decisions, attend state conventions and have voting privileges, or have ANY SAY IN ANYTHING Â is if you areÂ “a paid member in good standing of the county party in which you currently reside.” (Period)
Â It doesn’t matter how much money you have given to the national or state organization, nor any particular candidate, or what pretty membership cards you carry in your purse or wallet,you MUST be a member of your county party, or you can not have any say in that organizations policy.
Â Further, legally, in order to run for office under that particular party affiliation, you MUST be a member in good standing of your county party!
Â To be clear, you can vote in Â “public elections” for the candidate of your choise. However, you can not participate, have a say in, nor be eligible to vote for anything involving “party” leadership election, Â Party policy making decisions, or business. (In other words, you are not allowed to vote on who will be the next county party chair, nor any decision that affects the organization, it’s members, or business, until you are a dues paying member in good standing of your county party..
This information is based upon many years of firsthand experience. Â Be mindful, Â that of course, there are areas that are not known for being political hot beds of activity. In the event this describes your county situation,Â DO NOT LET YOUR GUARD DOWN! Â Believe it or not, it’s places like that, where things can turn uglyÂ FAST.
Â I’ve tried to keep descriptions very general, because everyone’s situation will have elements that differ somewhat from those I describe.
Circumstances, location, player names, or details of situations may seem to differ, but strip away all that, and at their core, most obstacles you encounter will have one or more of the stumbling blocks I’ve described here at its core . Be prepared, knowledge is POWER! The more you know, and are prepared to handle going in, the less you will have to learn or deal with the hard way. This additional time, can then be spent on the types of things that really matter!