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Top Headline Comments 10-20-09 | Main | That Washington Post Poll From Yesterday? Only 20% Republicans
October 20, 2009

How Difficult Would It Be for a Bunch of Insurgent Conservatives to Take Over a County-Level GOP Organization?

I've been bitching to other bloggers lately that in order to draw traffic, you need to discuss national issues and campaigns that reach a national sort of level of prominence.

And yet to actual win elections, you need to be focused on the critical county and state level party organizations and races. (Might be working on something to address that, by the way.)

This article, linked by Hot Air, has me thinking:

The party organizations are not the locus of mass political activity. In decades past, some local and state parties did have that role, but not any more. Instead, today's party organizations are little more than legal money-laundering units that help candidates get around campaign finance laws.


First, the national party organizations remain weak (as they always have been), but state party organizations have been on the decline for some time. They are not a place where partisans meet up and participate in politics. This means that ambitious politicos looking to make a name for themselves are not heading to the state parties, and of course not going to the national organizations. Instead, they look to be congressional aides, White House staffers, or maybe to a spot in a state legislature. Simply put, there is a shallow talent pool.

Second, the party organizations do control quite a lot of money. That's a consequence of federal law - first the Federal Elections Campaign Act (FECA) and now the Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act (BCRA, a.k.a. McCain-Feingold). As is typical with broad laws like these, they are full of unintended side-effects. Combined, these laws make the parties an excellent place for donors with spare dollars to send their cash. Because the Supreme Court struck down provisions of the BCRA, the parties can spend unlimited dollars on behalf of candidates so long as the dollars are "independent" (yeah right!). All of this means that the national committees literally raise hundreds of millions of dollars every cycle.

Combined, these factors provide a strong incentive to ambitious, semi-famous politicians to serve as national committee chairman as a way to stay relevant. These pols might not be able to win elections themselves, but candidates who want to win have to come to them. Plus, the cable networks are always happy to host them - with the absurd implication that they are somehow the "leaders" of their respective parties. Because the talent pool is so shallow in the party organization system, there is not a great deal of competition.

Can someone with a working knowledge of how parties work on the county level and state level tell me how difficult it would be -- how many bodies, how much time required -- for an insurgent group of conservatives to simply take them over, or at least win a few seats on their governing boards or whatever board actually makes decisions?

This would solve a lot of problems.

First, after the elections, a lot of conservatives felt dispirited and isolated and so we had a spate of Moron Meetups. Seems to me like this would be a good social outlet, too.

Second, a lot of us are frustrated because we feel like we don't have power or influence.

Third, we can stop bitching about decisions made for us and start making those decisions ourselves.

But I know nothing about this at all. Does anyone?

In the average county -- let's say in the county that makes up the majority of NY's 23rd district -- how many insurgents joining would it take to start voting our own people on to these boards? What level of commitment in time and so forth is required to get a vote at all? And so on.

Partial Answer: Mallamutt explains the basics here.

But I'm still trying to find out -- how difficult? How many people are needed to pull this off?

digg this
posted by Ace at 09:22 AM

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