I live in the “red” state of Arkansas. We are a strong Christian, conservative bunch, who continuously elect folks like Vic Snyder to Congress. It never ceases to amaze me that a state where folks do not believe in abortion, do not believe in same-sex marriage, has only 13 “wet” counties out of 75, etc, etc, etc, cannot find one viable Republican opponent for Blanche Lincoln, Mark Pryor, or Vic Snyder. (As an aside, Pryor is a fairly conservative Democrat, Snyder however is a loon).During this election and the past several elections, little to no campaigning has been done. As a member and volunteer for the AR GOP, I found myself wondering what “we” were doing to get-out-the-vote or campaign for McCain. I have sent emails, called, written letters, but neither the state GOP nor the Arkansas Young Republicans seemed interested in communicating with me.
We can no longer sit here and expect a state to stay red. The views and beliefs of my neighbors are far more conservative than the margin that McCain won my state by would lead anyone to believe.
So here is my strategy:
A) Rebuild and reorganize the College Republicans. Even though the state and even private colleges here are far less liberal than some, they still carry on the liberal tradition carried by all/most instiutions of higher ed. As a college republican at one of those less liberal campuses; I was one of about 15. The college democrats had five times or better that number. The Republican party is going to have to find a way to RECRUIT young people. If you don’t, you die off…just look at most of the civic clubs across the country.
B) Young Republicans also must be better organized. Events to recruit must be fun and inspiring. In central Arkansas last night, there was ONE watch party geared toward conservatives and that was hosted by the AR GOP. There were no watch party events that I could find hosted by the YR, and when I tried to find out why…I received no return phone call, no return email. Watch parties for my liberal neighbors were thrown in every other bar. As a young professional who may not follow politics, who would you rather pal around with? The party who parties or the party that canno be found?
C) Don’t assume that each and every red state is going to stay red. The GOP must do a better job of GOTV, must do a better job of recruiting and organizing volunteers. Not just during campaign season but year-round.
I realize my post here is more directly related to my own state, but many states went blue that should not have. McCain was spending time at the last minute campaigning in ARIZONA!!
I guess my opine here is that it seems…based on my perspective of my state GOP and on the evidence from across the country that the RNC needs to step in and offer support whether it be a strategic plan, financial support, or hands-on support, to each state. Also, in the event that anyone in AR reads this, maybe you can help me out by communicating what needs to be done in our state to get back on track.
Finally, the better candidate did not win this election, the better campaign did. Had McCain won it would have been a miracle. His campaign was not organized nearly as well as Obama’s. His campaign staff kept McCain from pushing the Wright issue, the Ayers issue, they kept Palin under lock and key. The McCain camp turned down many offers from Fox News. None of it made sense to me then. Now, I realize…it is a structural, logistical, internal problem for the GOP in general.
It needs to be dealt with NOW, and I offer my help in the marketing, recruiting and fundraising portions to what ever portion of this problem I can.