2014 Minnesota Primary: Match Point Republicans

I woke up this morning, went to my local news sources, and was immediately distressed by headlines of low primary voter turnout. “How can this be?” I thought. Republicans just had a heavily contested governor race. Does no one care? Instead of taking things at face value, I decided to pull the voter totals. Here they are:

2014primaryresults

First, people complaining about low voter turnout are NOT talking about low Republican voter turnout. Republicans showed up en masse. On the other hand, Democrats showed a downright implosion in primary voter turnout. Under HALF the turnout for governor between 2010 and 2014? Crazy. I know it’s an off year and I know the Democrats don’t have any heavily contested races this year. It’s true that Democrats had a very contested Governor race in 2010 and thus spent a ton more cash and therefore pushed much higher turnout. Still that sort of crater can’t be fully explained away by these factors. To see why look at the Democratic vote for US Senate. No crater there, just a slow bleed. Bottom line Democrats have a major enthusiasm problem.

Second take a look at the totals difference between US Senate and Governor. Fewer Dems bothered to vote in the governor race than the US Senate race, yet more Republicans voted in the Governor race than the US Senate race. It’s not a big difference, but it shows that ideological activists are opting to not vote for Dayton or McFadden. In a close race, and Minnesota will have some close races this year, that will be a big deal.

Third it looks like the Independence Party might pick up a few votes over 2012 but is unlikely to have the organization to have a big impact in 2014. With the Independence Party candidates taking positions that will draw as much from Democrats as Republicans (unlike in 2010), it looks like the Independence Party is ill-positioned to have a meaningful impact on Minnesota’s 2014 general election results.

Congratulations to the victors in Minnesota’s 2014 Primary Election. On to the General!

MNGOP State Convention, 2014 Edition

First I’d like to say congratulations to Mike McFadden, Jeff Johnson, Dan ‘Doc’ Severson, Randy Gilbert and Scott Newman. All of them worked hard and earned the MNGOP endorsement for state-wide office. A congratulations are also in order for Chris Fields, our new MNGOP Deputy Chair and Heather Todd, our new Party Secretary. The Republican slate this year is particularly strong and the MNGOP definitely has the talent to capitalize on what will undoubtedly be a Republican year.

Now that the formalities are out of the way the biggest lesson from the 2014 Minnesota Republican Convention was how to lose well. The race for the US Senate endorsement saw the emergence of several very strong candidates from relative obscurity. Perhaps the biggest surprise was Phillip Parrish. His speech was inspiring and his position as an intelligence officer in the US Naval Reserve is impressive. Look to a bright political career with this one.

Perhaps the least surprising winner of the US Senate losers was Chris Dahlberg. Chris had been gaining activist support and was widely considered the dark horse for the US Senate endorsement leading up to the Convention, but his speech emphasizing conservative bona fides and electability was unusually convincing. He very nearly won the endorsement and was only stymied by a recess at 2am Friday night, setting up the McFadden victory the following morning. Expect to see him in future cycles.

The biggest loser from the Senate race has to be Julianne Ortman. She was expected to do well but was never really in contention. Her withdrawal speech was uninspiring and she did not endorse a remaining Senate candidate, as did the other Senate hopefuls that withdrew before her. After she withdrew her campaign manager, Andy Parrish, actually slapped another activist, Jeff Kolb, leading to much humorous mayhem on social media. It was an unfortunate end to a very serious campaign. Hopefully Senator Ortman will run again with a stronger campaign team in future cycles.

If the US Senate endorsement had surprises, the Governor’s race had some outright shocks. First the good stuff. Dave Thompson and his running mate Michelle Benson deserve a huge amount of respect for the way they ran their campaign and for the way they withdrew from the race. Dave’s withdrawal speech was more inspiring and inspired than any acceptance speech and I look forward to supporting both of them in future campaigns.

The big shock of the night came from the final speech from Marty Seifert. I say final and not withdrawal because Seifert did not withdraw but rather opted to ask his supporters to leave the convention. Due to convention rules if enough people leave the convention there is no ‘quorum’ and the convention cannot conduct business, like endorsing other candidates. This was a big surprise to many now former Siefert supporters. Thankfully this ploy to deny an endorsement did not succeed and the MNGOP can now rally behind its endorsed Governor candidate, Jeff Johnson.

In truth it may not matter. This election cycle is looking to be a test of the endorsement process’s very viability. By endorsing McFadden for Senate, the MNGOP opted to not go to primary with some other candidate (McFadden was going to primary regardless of whether or not he was endorsed). However in the Governor’s race there was always going to be a primary as both Scott Honour and Kurt Zellers committed to challenging the eventual MNGOP endorsee some time ago. One more candidate in the mix won’t make much of a difference.

One thing Siefert did do was unite the MNGOP behind its endorsed candidate for Governor, Jeff Johnson, in a way that would not otherwise have been possible. Many activists are angry and will work hard to ensure both that Jeff wins the primary and that Marty loses it. With real cash behind Honour and Zellers and a largely hostile MNGOP, Marty Seifert has turned what would have already been a mountain of a primary challenge into Mount Everest.

A plague o’ both your houses

pox houses

Like most Americans, I have watched the goings on of Congress these last few months with utter disgust.  First Senator Cruz decided to shut the government down, supposedly to de-fund Obamacare.  This policy objective was always doomed to failure and the use of government shutdown tactics was extremely corrosive to Republicans.  After some thought, I came to the determination that the true objective of the government shutdown was to centralize leadership of the Tea Party in Ted Cruz.  The realization made me extremely angry.  I’ve seen selfish political plays before, but never ones that so obviously hurt the party and country.

As we all know the government shutdown did come to an end.  But then something else happened.  Obamacare got implemented.  I’ve never been in favor of most of the Obamacare legislation.  Too much incentive to drive up costs and drive out health care providers.  It’s not self-sustaining and will require extensive tax-payer subsidization.  One of the key promises of the sales pitch of the plan was that people liking their health insurance and/or doctor could keep their health insurance and/or doctor.  Turns out Obama knew that was a lie since 2010, yet continued to say otherwise.  For a President of the United States to outright lie (not spin, not omit key details, but outright lie) to sell his plan is truly beyond the pale.  That so many of my liberal friends, most of which I hold in high regard, would defend such behavior is very disturbing.

I think our political class – from the President on down to the volunteer activist – has forgotten what it means to be American.  We did not grow our country by lying about our policies, by treating our political opposition like flotsam or by putting self-interest ahead of the national interest.  I therefore propose two basic requirements of all political candidates, for every office from dog catcher to President.

  1. Competence.  We have seen far too much incompetence of late.  Obamacare will take years to properly implement if it can ever be properly implemented at all.  The administration had years to get this thing fleshed out and still couldn’t manage it.  Similarly I consider a government shutdown with no resulting policy changes to be equally incompetent politicking.  It’s a tall order to be competent at policy, politics and administration, but there are people out there that can get the job done – I just don’t know too many that happen to be in D.C.
  2. Honesty.  This should be obvious, but we must reject politicians who outright lie to us.  Tough to know beforehand but violations of honesty should be major red flags for any candidate and major impediments to any re-election.

Americans are known for being able to re-invent themselves.  Ours is the land of opportunity because no matter who you are, no matter where you come from, here you can be what you have it in you to be.  Here the only barriers to success are the ones we construct ourselves.  Here our forbearers built a shining city on a hill to show the world what freedom can do.

I believe in that vision of American exceptionalism.  I believe the strength of our Republic comes from a spirit of self-determination and optimism that defines the American experience.  I would very much like to have the discussion of how to realize that vision with those of like mind from all corners of the political spectrum.  I’m quite sure there would be honest disagreements.  There would need to be compromise from all sides and real ingenuity when crafting policies.  I’m equally sure our current political leadership has neither the skill nor inclination to bother making the attempt.

10 Commandments of Political Activism

I’ve been a political activist in the Minnesota Republican Party for almost two years now.  In that time I’ve had my fair share of successes and screw-ups.  To that end I’ve created ten commandments for political activists.  Enjoy:

 

1. Thy Faction Isth Thy Base.  There are political factions that exist within any political organization.  Learn what they are and pick a faction.  You don’t have to agree with everything the faction is about or even be quiet about your disagreement.  What you do have to do is not hinder any candidate(s) your faction gets behind and make a concerted effort to help at least one candidate from your faction each election cycle.

2. Trust Isth Earned.  Trust no one right away.  I made this mistake early on and spent a good many months cleaning up afterwards.  You should actively test people you run across in politics for integrity and make a point of working with people who pass.  Many people will pass and many people will not.  There is no correlation between faction and passing an integrity test.  You should actively defend anyone you agree with and know to be trustworthy.  Plenty of attacks get lobbed for political reasons and it is incumbent on good people to refute such skullduggery.

3. Cast Off Thy Backstabbers.  Ignore people who lack integrity.  If they’re in leadership positions you can’t completely ignore them, but try.  You’ll save yourself a lot of wasted time and heartache.  Dealing with unethical people means you need to prepare for every imaginable contingency and that takes a great deal of time and research.

4. Cradle Thy Producers.  Help people who do good work do good work.  You’ll never regret helping someone make the world a better place.  Try to get these people on your team and make sure they have access to all the resources they need.

5. Strike Thy Balance.  Recognize that the party activists and donors have very different standards for electability and the only people who win competitive elections in Minnesota are people who meet both sets of standards.

6. Follow Thy Law.  When in doubt, follow the law.  You can be assured that any skirting of the legal system will be used as a hammer by fellow activists supporting a different agenda or by activists in a different political party.

7. All Isth Awesome.  Be positive.  Nothing kills prospects like negativity.

8. Have Thy Plan.  It doesn’t have to be complicated or tricky, but if you want to accomplish something have a plan and steps for accomplishing it written down somewhere.

9. Thou Shalt Agree to Disagree.  So many activists make the mistake of assuming anyone who disagrees with them is evil incarnate.  The government shutdown is a great example.  How many times have you heard the words ‘crazy, insane and wacko’ tossed around lately?  Everyone has a slightly different set of values and thus their ideal political structure will necessarily differ from yours.  Framing those differences in a good vs. evil paradigm is incredibly asinine.

10. Target Thy Message.  Never say something you wouldn’t feel comfortable defending in your least-liked audience, but do target your messaging depending on what group you want to reach.

BONUS 11.  Speaketh Slowly.  Never say the first thing that pops into your head.  Ever notice how politicians answer slowly when they’re asked questions in person?  It’s because they are moderating their response so that aforementioned response isn’t taken out of context and thrown on a commercial to be played ad nauseam.  You should be at least as careful.  That doesn’t mean that you never use harsh or incendiary language, but it does mean you need to use such tactics sparingly and with premeditated purpose.

There are my ten (well eleven) commandments for political activism.  I hope you find them helpful.  I’d love to hear any other commandments you think should be added to this list so let me know in the comments section below or on Facebook.

Podcast Debate with MN House Rep Glenn Gruenhagen

A debate between myself and MN House Representative Glenn Gruenhagen hosted by Walter Hudson has been posted by Mr. Hudson.  Some good strategy points from two very different perspectives on the defund Obamacare debate came out of this discussion.  Had a lot of fun and I encourage everyone to go have a listen.

 

MN GOP Governor’s Forum

I hate to give the Star Tribune credit, but I think they pulled out some revealing quotations from the four Republican candidates for Governor:

Johnson:  “I’m in this to actually change the direction of government.”

Translation: I want to shrink government: not expand, not slow its growth but shrink it.

Interpretation: This shows a broad campaign theme message.  It is exactly the sort of thing you want to be doing at this early stage of the game.  Changing the direction of government can mean different things to different people and essentially everyone believes that government should be doing things differently on some issue or another.

Thompson: “Is this a task that the private sector could do? If the answer is yes, don’t have government do it.”

Translation: No room to quibble here.  It’s a solid litmus test.

Interpretation: Litmus tests are usually terrible campaign messages, and this one most certainly qualifies.  How many people want anything that could be done by the private sector to be done only by the private sector?  Guaranteed it’s a minority.  Most people are looking for a smaller government footprint.  There are plenty of examples of industries where private industry works but could work better with limited government involvement or coordination.  Guaranteed having this sort of litmus test pushes winnable voters into the liberal column.

Honour: “I think we have to start a conversation about the budget with a conversation about results.”

Translation: Policy should be dictated by evidence-based decision making.

Interpretation: This is a softer version of a litmus test.  It’s better than Thompson’s version but it’s filled with the same landmines as most litmus tests.  Thankfully most people agree with evidence-based decision making and people disagreeing are usually ideological voters.  Such voters tend to not be winnable anyway.  It’s a strong play toward swing voters and a continuation of Honour’s strategy to win the primary regardless of who wins the MN GOP endorsement.

Zellers: “I will absolutely fight for jobs and a competitive Minnesota economy. And I won’t settle for whatever the soup de jour is today. We want this but a little bit less. It will be a hard cut.”

Translation: I want what you want and won’t settle for less!

Interpretation: This statement really doesn’t mean anything.  Everyone wants to fight for jobs and stand by principles.  What I don’t see is a broad campaign message or set of principles.  Zellers needs to fix this now.  He let the Vikings Stadium Bill go to the floor as the Majority Leader and has said he will not honor the endorsement process of the MN GOP.  If Zellers can’t claim fiscal conservatism or respect for the MN GOP political process he’s going to be left out in the cold.

It is still early.  The field may not even be set yet.  That said it is far better to get messaging correct now than fumble it and have to repair later.  These early debates are game-time events with cameras rolling and need to be treated as such.  Lacking proper messaging and presentation, even at this early juncture, is not encouraging.

MN Republican Governor Candidates Quick Reference Guide

Quite a few fine Republicans have entered the race for Governor in 2014.  Given the growing field, I decided to put together a little quick reference guide.  First the declared candidates:

Jeff Johnson

-J.D. Degree from Georgetown University Law School

-MN House Representative 2001-2007

-Hennepin County Commissioner 2008-Current

-Republican National Committeeman 2011-Current

-Has said he will abide by MN GOP Endorsement.

-Voted against the Twins Stadium Bill while serving in the MN House

-Top 3 campaign issues: Jobs, Education, Effective Government

-2,600 Facebook/Twitter Followers, lower than might otherwise be due to transitioning Twitter account.

-Jeff has made some dismissive comments on the Occupy Wall Street movement, lost a bid for MN Attorney General in 2006

Dave Thompson

-J.D. Degree from University of Minnesota Law School

-Hosted The Dave Thompson Show

-MN State Senator 2011-Current

-Has said he will abide by MN GOP Endorsement.

-Voted against the Vikings Stadium Bill while serving in the MN Senate

-Top 4 campaign issues: Jobs and Business, Taxes, Social Policy, Education

-4,000 Facebook/Twitter Followers

-DFL filed ethics complaints against Sen. Thompson in 2012 concerning working for and receiving payments from the MN GOP while running as a State Senate Candidate in 2010.  Nothing came of it but expect Democrats to make an issue of it should Sen. Thompson be the candidate in the general election.

Kurt Zellers

-B.A. in political science from University of North Dakota

-Communications Director in politics from 1994 to 2003

-MN House Representative 2003-Current, GOP MN House Leader 2009-Current

-Will not abide by MN GOP Endorsement

-Voted against the Vikings Stadium Bill while serving in the MN House, but allowed Bill to go to the Floor as Speaker of the Minnesota House of Representatives

-Campaign Issues not mentioned on website, but voting record indicates standard Republican positions

-6,900 Facebook/Twitter Followers

-Democrats will pin gridlock and government shutdown on Zellers’ leadership in the MN House of Representatives.

Scott Honour

-M.B.A. from University of Pennsylvania Wharton School of Business

-Mergers and Acquisitions Team/Director at The Gored Group, LLC 2002-2012

-Fundraiser for Romney 2012, no elected political experience

-Will not abide by MN GOP Endorsement

-Top 3 campaign issues: Spending, Jobs/Economy, Education

-9,300 Facebook/Twitter Followers

-The method by which Honour earned his wealth presents a significant barrier to his success in a general election.  He will be painted as an out-of-touch corporate vulture and, like Romney, may never be able to shake the mantle.

There are several undeclared candidates, although in my estimation only two of them are serious potentials:

Julie Rosen

-B.S. in Agronomy from Colorado State University

-Marketing Representative for Elanco and American Hoechst Chemical Company prior to being elected

-MN Senator 2003-Current

-Focuses on jobs, health care, agriculture/renewable energy, drug treatment/education

-Voted in favor of the Vikings Stadium

-400 Facebook/Twitter Followers

-Divorced in 2010

Marty Seifert

-B.S. in Political Science from Southwest Minnesota State University

-MN House Representative 1997-2011, MN House GOP Leader 2007-2009

-Currently Executive Director of Avera Marshall Foundation, Buyer’s Agent with Real Estate Retrievers in Marshall

-4,700 Facebook/Twitter Followers

-Voted against Twins Stadium

-Lost bid to become MN GOP Governor Candidate to Tom Emmer in close endorsement battle in 2010

What we have here are 3 candidates that have a reasonable chance of earning the MN GOP Endorsement: Jeff Johnson, Dave Thompson and Marty Seifert.  Kurt Zellers and Julie Rosen are non-starters due to either allowing the Vikings Stadium Bill to reach the floor or for voting in favor of the Vikings Stadium Bill.  Despite 1/3 of Republicans voting for the Bill, it is the touch of death with the majority of MN GOP party activists and essentially disqualifies them from the MN GOP Endorsement for Governor.

We also have two candidates who have said they will not honor the endorsement process: Kurt Zellers and Scott Honour.  Saying you will not honor the MN GOP Endorsement also disqualifies a candidate from receiving said Endorsement.

That leaves Jeff Johnson, Dave Thompson and Marty Seifert.  All three voted against either the Vikings Stadium or Twins Stadium Bills, so their fiscal conservatism should be considered sincere.  All three are also social conservatives by their voting records, therefore all three should be acceptable to all key wings of the MN GOP.  Assuming Seifert does indeed declare toward the end of the year, it looks like we’ll have a 3-way endorsement fight.

The primary is a different matter entirely.  Scott Honour has some pretty deep pockets.  He is more than capable of taking the endorsed candidate to task with all methods of communication.  Heck he’s already running like a primary candidate by going after Mark Dayton in earnest.  His spike in social media followers in a relatively short period of time shows the expertise of his campaign team bench.  If he wants to, he could make the primary battle very ugly.  Doing so would almost certainly give the general election to Mark Dayton.

Assuming a friendly primary season the best candidate with a chance to win the primary (Jeff Johnson, Dave Thompson, Marty Seifert and Scott Honour) is a tough call.  Scott Honour is probably the hardest general election sell as his money won’t mean much against a moneyed Dayton and his personal story is too similar to an all-too-easily-demonized Mitt Romney.  Dave Thompson’s ethics complaint, while almost certainly groundless, will also be a barrier in a general.  His time as a radio host will also provide a rich library for Democrats to pull comments out of context.  Thompson’s push for Right to Work could also be a liability or an asset, as a slim majority support Right to Work but it also serves as a rallying cry for Democratic opposition.

That leaves Jeff Johnson and Marty Seifert.  Both have lost State-wide elections and are seen as effective communicators.  Seifert has the wider network of supporters from his time as a Minority Leader in the MN House of Representatives, although Johnson’s network is nothing to smirk at.  Johnson also has the benefit of having multiple political positions under his belt.  I believe it will come down to who campaigns more effectively.  Right now Jeff Johnson has a significant head start and Marty Seifert has yet to declare.

Rise of the Authoritarians

It’s been a while since I last posted.  Funny how politics seems less important when a major life event like marriage is on the near horizon.  Still, and despite the fact that there are still many hours of preparation to go before my wedding, it seems appropriate to comment on the eve of our Independence Day.

Not so long ago the world thought it was bearing witness to the birth of democracies all over the Muslim world.  Authoritarian regimes that had held power for decades or longer were toppling at what seemed an ever accelerating rate.  A triumph for the power of the human spirit.  I was nearly brought to tears as I watched people from Tunisia to Yemen overthrow their dictators and exercise democracy for the first time.  They had marched and bled and won their right to be heard.

And yet now much of that progress has been erased.  Egypt seems consumed in a cesspool of unfilled and broken promises.  Syria has quite literally become a hell on Earth.  Democracy has persisted elsewhere but remains unsupported by basic democratic institutions like an independent judiciary and a free press.

Other democracies have retreated from representative government.  Turkey has jailed numerous reporters, stocked judiciary benches and violently put down otherwise peaceful protest demonstrations.  Other countries on the Eastern periphery of Europe have had similarly disturbing developments.  Iran remains a basket-case thanks to religious gerry-rigging, despite overwhelming support for reform.

China, and to a lesser extent Russia, remain primary supporters of such repression.  China is in fact the chief incubator of repression techniques and is now exporting those techniques across the globe.  Russia continues to supply Syria with both diplomatic cover and munitions.

Perhaps the most disturbing is the selective use of such techniques in the United States.  The first step in any repression apparatus is information gathering.  Given the revelations from the Snowden saga I’d say it’s safe to call the United States’ monitoring system one of the most advanced in the world (possibly and only second to China).  The second step is control of major media outlets.  Again given the Snowden saga I’d say we’re in the middle of this step.  An American administration pulling journalist records from the Associated Press without notice is unprecedented.  According to the Associated Press, the publication of this event has had a “chilling effort” on sources.  Go figure.  Installing government workers throughout our information infrastructure companies to maintain monitoring equipment is eerily familiar in China, where Communist Party officers must be hired by companies where they are tasked with keeping company objectives in-line with Communist Party directives.  Thankfully the third step, physical repression and locking up of dissenters, hasn’t happened yet.

What I find most disturbing about all of this is the responses I get from my liberal-minded friends.  “We need to do it to catch terrorists.  Government can be trusted to handle this sort of thing responsibly.  Go look up the protocols they’re using – it’s no big deal.”  Maybe.  But I remember when Bush instituted some of these things and my same liberal friends were calling for our then President’s head on a spike.  Similarly many of my conservative friends are now calling for Obama’s head when they defended Bush’s use of the same or near-same techniques.

This really illustrates the biggest problem with America’s current political system.  First loyalty should be and always must be to the United States and the principles upon which it is founded.  Unfortunately friends of inconsistent principle are demonstrating a first loyalty to political party.  That is untenable and un-American.   The vitriol lobbed from both sides is beyond reproach.

So, from my little corner of the world, I call on all of you to take a moment this 4th of July to reflect on your core values.  What do you stand for?  What are you willing to sacrifice?  Do you have the strength of heart to stand up as our brothers and sisters from across the Muslim world have done?  Do you have the courage to call your adversary your fellow American?

Should We Move the MN Primary Up?

One of the big issues in the MN GOP Chair race has been the impact of moving the MN primary date from August to June.  There has been a great deal of debate on whether this move would help or hinder the incumbents and therefore impact future grassroots candidates.

It just so happens that 7 states moved their primaries up in the last election cycle.  This provides a rather convenient way to evaluate the impact of an earlier primary.  Here are the raw numbers from ballotpedia:

vote raw

The net effect is an increase in the average win chance for incumbents of 5.2% and a decrease in challenger win chance of 24.0%.  A Chi-Square analysis yields a 17.7% chance of this result being random.  That is to say this evidence is not sufficient to conclude that an earlier primary favors incumbents at a standard level of significance of 5%, but it sure does look like it is trending in that direction.

There are obvious short-comings to this sort of analysis.  I did this in about an hour for a quick evaluation.  That said I do believe the aforementioned provides a strong indication of the potential negative impact toward earlier primaries on the grassroots of the MN GOP.  I challenge earlier primary supporters to issue their own evidence as to the benefits an earlier primary could offer the MN GOP.

CD4 the Able

Minnesota’s 4th Congressional District Republicans have, for as long as most people can remember, been known for dysfunction and discord.  The recent trauma of removing their Chairman and enduring some of the worst and expected losses in the State are no exception.  Yet something stirs in this once derelict corner of the Grand Old Party.

At the CD4 Convention last Saturday something called the CD4 Strategic Plan was officially adopted.  This plan is the culmination of work from Republicans across CD4 and represents standards of organization and best practice.  By all accounts it is an impressive piece of work.  So much so that I understand the plan is now being considered as a model for the MN GOP.

With all the excitement I believe there is a real danger of forgetting how the plan united CD4 Republicans and how it must be implemented to be successful.  The most important part of the plan has nothing to do with the actual document.  The key component was bringing everyone together to create it.  Those who did not actively participate in – or even actively opposed – the planning process had their ideas and goals incorporated into the plan whenever possible.

Unlike previous efforts at planning or organization, the plan is meant to give everyone a stake in its success.  The plan’s implementation must mirror its creation and remain a partnership between people of good will.  That includes people opposing the plan’s implementation but who do so honestly and with good intentions.

Therein is the secret.  The plan isn’t really about operations and best practices.  That’s part of it.  But the keystone of it is the continual feedback loops established through the plan creation and implementation processes.  The plan gets modified on a continual basis based on feedback from grassroots activists.  Proposed changes from the grassroots get presented to CD4 and modified so as to not negatively impact any particular CD4 demographic.

Similarly on plan implementation CD4 needs to act as a sounding board for feedback from CD4’s general voters.  This feedback needs to be channeled to CD4 activists and again the plan needs to be modified to reflect new information.  The plan has little to do with the current document and a great deal to do with the continuing discussion.  The CD4 Strategic Plan explicitly requires this continual updating and is an often overlooked, but critically important, plan component.

I mentioned earlier that this Strategic Plan is being considered as a model for the MN GOP.  Good.  There are ample ways to use what is in the plan at the State level.  That said there is a real danger of missing the biggest positive impact on offer.  The CD4 Strategic Plan was designed for CD4.  It even explicitly states the scope of the plan is limited to CD4.  Any plan for the MN GOP should come from the entire MN GOP.  That means involving the other CDs and BPOUs outside CD4 in the process.  It took a great deal of time and energy for CD4 Republicans to come up with their plan for the future.  Unfortunately there are no short cuts for learning how to work together and trust each other.

One thing I do know is that CD4 has a bright future.  The vast majority of its new Executive Team are active participants in the creation of the CD4 Strategic Plan and have the teamwork skills to make the changes and build the relationships necessary to get the lion’s share of the plan implemented.  But more than that they understand they were elected not necessarily to represent activists or their particular faction.  They were elected to represent Republicans and the conservative ideal of self-reliance and equality of opportunity to the American people.   CD4 chose well.