Alarm Bell or Death Knell?
This weekend the members of the Republican State Central Committee will gather in Annapolis for their winter meeting and elect new officers to serve the upcoming four-year term. It will be at least the fifth time I have been on sight to watch or participate in this quadrennial process.
I have a few thoughts on the matter!
The Maryland Republican Party (MDGOP) must develop a long term plan if it is to survive as a viable party; a plan that must be continued well past the term these new officers will serve. Currently every time transition of officers occurs, the party “re-invents the wheel.” I know this from experience. I have been there and – sad to say – participated in this lack of global foresight.
The overall corporate gains MDGOP needs to become a growing and viable party have yet to be accomplished and this slow death spiral has got to stop.
MDGOP’s new officers must gather their best and brightest – and plan long term. These planners must include, not only the new officers gathered, but those who previously served, elected officials from each level of government and those who will be the runners-up in seeking to serve our party as officers but falling short.
The long term plan must contain components of increasing voter registration, fundraising, transition of officers, duties of county committees, recruitment of candidates and the removal of those who undermine the agreed upon plan. (Not disagree with the plan…but those that intentionally undermine forward progress.)
Democrats out register Republicans 1.9 million to 900,000 in Maryland; unaffiliated voter registration in the next 10 years will easily catch up to GOP registration at the current rate. The MDGOP must develop a comprehensive, verifiable, long-term program of registration and outreach, or it will continue to mathematically wither away into irrelevance.
County committees need to be held “feet to the fire” with their individual portions of needed new growth in the program. Each entity needs an action plan, monthly reporting of those actions or inactions, the results need to be shared – and committees held accountable.
MDGOP and county committees need to spend the largest proportion of all future budgets for this specific project of increased registration … it is about survival.
Money is communication, regardless of your message. The MDGOP needs to shore up its donor base and revisit its major investors individually. An experienced finance team needs to be put in place and there needs to be a plan for succession in order to perpetuate outreach to major donors. The finance team also needs to work with county committees and train them how to raise local money.
MDGOP, county committees, and all Republican elected officials, need to be partners in this overall fundraising project. Everyone must realize they cannot be competitors for the few GOP dollars currently floating out in the general public. The smaller the dollar amount, when divided due to internal competition, causes everyone’s or anyone’s message to not be spread very far. The overall donor base must become larger and internal competition minimized – it is only math.
With over 20 years of officer changes, the consistency within the ranks has been almost non-existent. The historical knowledge base is sparse – as is consistency in transitioning. If a proper plan is developed it should include officers who move up through the chairs with shorter terms of office and carry historical knowledge.
MDGOP re-invents the wheel each four years because there is little-to-no consistency at the top of the pyramid. Minimally we need to retain for the long term senior staff members working for the party. Employee turnover has been another detriment to long-term planning and goal achievement.
Next, county committees must learn to communicate with each other and with MDGOP in a more fluid manner. Typically the county committees work as tribal fiefdoms rather than working units within the larger body. This causes internal battles, paranoia and miscommunication – dividing rather than unifying.
MDGOP’s plan must include specific actions and duties for county committees to take ownership of their role in the larger body. These duties have to be specific in definition, yet the individual action plan needs to be flexible and unique enough to adapt to each county committee’s size, geographic location and abilities.
County committees are the most important component of the overall long-term plan to forward the Republican Party in Maryland – all politics are local.
Last item is discipline to the plan. It is okay to disagree and to express opinion. (I have boldly disagreed many times.) Perhaps it is even acceptable to half-heartedly and begrudgingly perform your duty. It is, however, totally unacceptable to undermine the goals agreed upon by the majority of the body and to thwart the forward progress of the entire party.
Persons who do this, regardless of rank or elected title, should be removed from the process… it is just that simple. We will survive only as a unit; if constantly divided by internal problems we will be conquered and vanquished.
These ideas above have nothing to do with political philosophies or principles – that is another discussion. The business model of building a party can be implemented regardless of who is elected chair or new officers of the Maryland Republican Party. We must be about long term goals, growth and vision. Plan – Implement – Measure – Perpetuate.
It is still my beloved party where I have toiled at various levels for over 20 years. It is worthwhile to re-build and to save. I will work to see it succeed.