With the Tea Partiers

A Little Less Conversation and a Lot More Action

By From the September 2012 issue

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BY NOW WE'VE HEARD the convention speeches, watched countless hours of cable news, viewed political commercial after commercial, and spent months talking about the 2012 election. Well, it’s time for a little less conversation and a lot more action. September must be a wake-up call for not just conservatives but for every American, regardless of party, who is afraid of what our country will look like with four more years of Obama, a Democrat-controlled Senate, and overall impotent leadership in the face of a mounting fiscal crisis.

Let’s just peer into our possible future for a moment.If Americans don’t engage to keep this nation free, our economy will continue to buckle under the weight of trillions in additional debt. Our businesses and families at all income levels will be asked to foot the bill for more government. The Obamacare tax hike (or actually the 20 tax hikes inside that hideous leviathan) will be followed by a rollback of the Bush tax cuts, amounting to a onetwo punch in the gut for every American. And it won’t solve the deficit or debt crisis by a long shot.

While the federal government grows, more and more local municipalities will declare bankruptcy and default or resort to additional tax increases to attempt to pay obligations they in no way can hope to fund. The system will spiral downward until the America we know will be barely recognizable.

Principled conservatives offer a very different future for America. It’s time we told our story. We all need to become instant activists to save the Republic.It’s plain and simple: If we all each adopt a local candidate right now and do the following, we’ll win. Period.

First, we need to start changing hearts and minds in our own backyards by telling personal stories of how today’s policies are hurting our families and businesses.Don’t lead with your party affiliation or the fact that you’re a conservative. You’re an American. Talk in a non-confrontational way to others about your American values. Give them a sense of why high taxes hurt your business or how you’re worried government debt will impact your kids’ future. Make a personal connection, and you can work them over to our side.

Tell those personal stories in letters to the editor, on local talk radio, or to local activist groups. Broadcast them in an emotional way, backed up with facts that hit home.

Second, select a target area for your influence and outreach. Focus on your neighborhood and local precinct and make it a point to talk with 10 friends and neighbors about the importance of the elections. Then remind them on Election Day to vote.

Third, recruit a group of volunteers to help canvass precincts. Going door-to-door is not nearly as hard as it used to be, thanks to new technology like Gravity, a tool that American Majority Action helped develop to optimize get-out-the-vote work. Just committing to five days of going door-to-door or “adopting” two or three local precincts would make a huge difference.

Fourth, set up a phone bank in your area. While phone banks are not nearly as effective as door-todoor contact, they still can be effective in making a Personal appeal. Again, leverage new technologies like the Gravity campaign management system to ease the task. Tea Party groups across the nation are adopting key battleground states across the country and will be doing virtual phone banks in the weeks leading up to the elections. You should think about doing the same.

Fifth, get online. Engaging online and through social media can have a major impact. Forty-eight percent of 18–34 year olds check Facebook right when they wake up, and those 35 and older now comprise over one-third of all Facebook users. Start collecting Twitter handles and Facebook pages of activists, community groups, journalists, friends, neighbors, and other targets for your message in your local area. Frequently update pages and feeds to help articulate a coherent message about the need for limited government at all levels.

Follow local political and news blogs and contribute where possible. Comment on relevant stories and monitor for misinformation distributed by a biased media or left-leaning activists. Get in the conversation to win.

Finally, set achievable goals. Everyone is busy, but being active doesn’t have to take hours out of your day. If right-thinking people each committed to the Rule of Five—to canvass door-to-door for five days, phone bank for five nights, and recruit five friends or family members to do the same between now and election day—this center-right country might start heading in the right direction.

ALL POLITICS IS LOCAL. Real, national, generational change begins at the grassroots level. While we’ve all been talking about the presidential campaign, the work must be done block by block and precinct by precinct, right in your own backyard. Romney can’t win without local organization, and real systemic change won’t come to your state or hometown unless you engage. Adopt a campaign and follow the steps above to ensure that our values have voice up and down the ballot.

In the end, history will judge us not by what we thought or what we said, but by what we actually did.Only through engagement and action will we avert the continued downward spiral of debt, taxation, and dependency that threatens to crack the foundation of our great nation. We’re in the home stretch. The Tea Partiers are on the move, and you should be too. So let’s get rolling.

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About the Author

Ned Ryun is the founder and president of American Majority, a political training institution. His "With the Tea Partiers" column run each month in the The American Spectator's print edition. You can follow him on Twitter @nedryun.