I spend a lot of time getting people involved in the Texas GOP. In the last two years we have sparked a movement that has resulted in hundreds of additional precinct chair positions being filled. We have recruited numerous candidates and thousands of volunteers.
Just the other morning I received an email concerning three additional precinct chairs in a county and at a speaking engagement weeks before we had five people step forward to fill empty precinct chair positions.
Through painful experience I try to prepare people for the reception many GOP members have waiting for these new recruits.
For many, the political party has become their identity, their social club and their one area of expertise and pride. For some, political activism has become a source of funds, a stepping stone for public office, steroids for their egos or some combination of the three.
You and I are thankful when we see people rushing to help but for too many, they see only competition.
If you are welcomed with open arms and eagerly assisted, let me know and I will share what a great group you have found but expect the worst. Sorry, but cynicism and experience are often confused and I try to prepare people for the worst.
Many people show up to their county GOP wanting to get involved and are treated badly. I am not talking about being met with caution but being met with open disdain and contempt. "I have been involved for 40 years, where were you all that time?"
It might not occur to some asking this question but "working two jobs, raising a family, building a business or overseas getting shot at." are all answers that might result. Hardly a great first conversation.
A friend of mine has what she calls, “The Mean Nerd Theory,” to explain this type of reception. This person worked hard, paid her taxes, voted and left running the party and the government to the “experts.” When she realized the experts were not “expertly” doing the job, she was determined to
What she encountered was a county party with no interest in holding our elected accountable, growing the GOP was not high on their list either. In military terms they were not just resistant to change, they had active counter-measures.
She was not expecting open hostility in return for eagerly stepping forward to serve in a volunteer capacity. It seemed that whatever she proposed, the party had already perfected years before and their ideas were far better, just never implemented.
This reception seemed designed to belittle and discourage to the point she would go away. I can only imagine how often that tactic had worked in the past but with this lady it only made her determined to do even more. With or without the party, she would make a difference and without their help they would get little or no credit for the progress.
Her “Mean Nerd Theory” stipulated that these people were the paste eaters we all went to schools with once, the ones you could not be nice to because they bite. These people grew up, met and formed social clubs called “political parties.” Within these circles they were considered smart, popular and successful.
Within these groups they were the jocks and the cheerleaders and as long as the great bulk of humanity is not allowed in, they will maintain this status. In short, the mean nerds will treat people who want to help as badly as they can in order to keep them away. Setting standards so high for membership that hardly any voter qualifies as a way to keep the group small and their importance great.
This theory fully explains the reaction new people get when wanting to get involved with Texas politics. If status, money, attention or building a political career is the aim of these people then they will assume this is your aim.
The entire reason these types participate in the party is not to “form a more perfect union” but to hold on to this highschooler popularity.
This is illustrated by the actions of the oldFor years this group had 50 out of 250 precinct chairs filled and that met “their needs” just fine. They could spend time with the elected, they could meet as a social club and they could do what their County Chair told them to do.
Suddenly, more than 50 regular citizens recruited themselves and joined their ranks. In a panic the “old party” wanted to pause seating any more members but lost the vote. Firmly outvoted and facing a huge influx of new blood these people simply resigned their positions, even the County Chair.
This was only a few months before the last primary election. Imagine abandoning the party only months before an election because your county GOP more than doubled in size. That would make no sense.
Now imagine quitting your country club because it doubled in size and the new members were all younger, wealthier and smarter.
The newest members were actively recruiting precinct chairs, they were knocking doors and registering voters, they were getting more people to show up to vote. These new members were doing these things the old members thought, to make the old members look bad.
Growing the party was not an aim for the old guard, it was an insult. Growing the party and attempting to fill all 250 seats would mean they were not enough and when the elected came to visit, each of them would lose 80% of the time these elected people spent with them.
No wonder the “mean nerds” are so angry with people that want to grow the party and fill all the positions, it means they will be in a larger pond with bigger fish.
At the state party level, a lot of these people spend more time with the elected and other state party members than they do with regular people. The incumbents return their phone calls and let them take pictures and they get guided tours.
If regular people get elected, they might be too busy doing the job to have time for this other stuff and then there is the point that these new people might not know or care to associate with the mean nerds.
Step forward and do the work, do not let the mean nerds ruin your enthusiasm or progress and if they try, target them for replacement.
While we are at it, get younger people to be involved. The Founders of this nation were teenagers, twenty-somethings and the “under 40 crowd” was well represented. At 57, I am the youngest person at many events and that is a recipe for a dying party.
We need to grow the party; we need thousands of more chairs filled and we need tens of thousands more volunteers. Check outof endorsed candidates and see who you can help, even if you live hundreds of miles away you can still make calls like they were right next door. Even if you are in a hopelessly blue area, you can still move the needle for the state by adopting a state rep race.
YOU can fill an empty precinct chair, either by being appointed, running or recruiting someone to do that. Go to ourDouble the GOP" and click the checklist. Follow the steps and just get one chair filled this month and another one next month.
This program tells you how to do this and what steps you need to take. Anyone stepping up to be a lead also receives free coaching from myself.
The best thing about this is that it costs little to nothing and makes a huge impact. Stop talking about the problems and start bragging about the progress.