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.