Warner Todd Huston
Building a conservative majority starts at home
By Warner Todd Huston
November 19, 2010

If conservatives intend to translate Tea Party enthusiasm into actual power they are certainly going to have begin to put like-minded folks into office and not just at the federal level. Every office from dogcatcher, to city offices, to county and state offices needs to be filled with Tea Party advocates. Conservatives cannot expect an enduring governing capability by focusing solely on federal elections.

To that end, this week American Majority (AmericanMajority.org/) unveiled a new free of charge initiative to help train Tea Party groups to groom local candidates in order to build a more enduring conservative governing majority across the country. The project is called the New Leaders Project.

AM hopes to help local Tea Party groups to identify 10 new leaders in their local community to run for state or local office. "The program will help community leaders identify quality candidates while fostering a new era of accountability between voters and elected officials," said representatives for the group.

    "This was an historic election, but the systemic change our nation needs to thrive and prosper will require much more time and effort. The next election starts now," stated Ned Ryun, President of American Majority. "There is a real need for new leadership at all levels of government that believes in, and will advocate for, fiscal responsibility, free enterprise and limited government. We believe this project will not only impact state and local levels, but also create a significant 'farm team' for higher office for years to come."

As important as it is, there is no doubt that the Tea Party movement is still somewhat amateurish when it comes to governing. Its wonderful excitement and enthusiasm is incredibly important, to be sure, but a coherent message, a slate of candidates, and a membership pulling together and on the same page is imperative for the continued influence of the thousands of disparate Tea Party groups out there. They don't need to be led from the top, but they do need the tools to turn their ideas into a governing reality.

American Majority will help these groups learn the nuts and bolts of running for office, how to articulate a message to voters, and how to manage a campaign. It's one thing to want to get involved and push Tea Party candidates, but another thing entirely to actually roll up one's sleeves and get involved.

Contrary to the biased reporting of this effort by Politico, this training program is not a response to the "problem candidates" of the 2010 election as defined by the Old Media. No particular 2010 candidate was targeted for discussion by American Majority at its press conference, for instance. Further, American Majority does not intend to involve itself in the coming 2012 presidential elections. The presidential election is not the goal that AM is trying to undertake. A working conservative governing majority is the goal, one that encompasses the whole country at every level of government, not just the White House.

Another miscue from coverage of this effort is that AM is "jockeying for influence." This is no top down operation. American Majority is not the sort of organization that wants to take your mailing list, it does not run or endorse particular candidates, nor does it attempt to control the message or the makeup of local conservative or Tea Party groups. American Majority offers free training sessions meant to assist local conservative groups to make a difference at home. It is not interested in "influencing" those local groups or controlling their efforts. American Majority seeks to offer training to help groups control their own message, to control their own candidates, and their own members.

Lastly, these are the sorts of efforts that the left has been engaging in for decades. You may wonder why ACORN and unions are so successful in running slates of candidates and then getting their way in our city, county, and state governments? It is because they help train local groups to run campaigns and they groom young candidates for office. These local efforts create a sort of farm team of candidates that the left can choose from when seeking candidates to run for federal offices, even president.

The grassroots efforts of the left have yielded significant gains for left-wing ideology. It is about time conservatives undertook similar efforts of their own. American Majority's efforts are a welcome change to the usual conservative habit of writing white papers, commenting in the media and on blogs, but otherwise doing nothing to actually get conservative-minded candidates elected to office.

© Warner Todd Huston


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Warner Todd Huston

Warner Todd Huston's thoughtful commentary, sometimes irreverent often historically based, is featured on many websites... (more)

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