(Chuck Muth) – In this 5th and final part of this series, I’m gonna wade into the muck of party politics…dangerous waters I’ve tried to avoid as much as possible since getting out of that game full-time over 20 years ago.
From experience I can tell you that the best kind of party chairman to be is an EX-party chairman. It’s a thankless job. No pay. And no matter what you do you, half the people are gonna bitch about it.
Party meetings ain’t exactly strategic planning sessions to win elections, either.
They’re as often as not bickering sessions over Roberts Rules of Order and bylaws. Oh, and people who have never contributed or raised a dime for the organization telling the rainmakers how to spend the money the rainmakers raised or contributed.
Little Red Hen Syndrome.
Don’t get me wrong. There are some VERY good grassroots activists serving on the parties’ various Central Committees – both at the state and county level. However, there’s also a lot of boneheads who are there only because they have nothing else to do since no one wants them on their Tuesday night bowling team.
Note to first-time candidates: The party organizations can’t and won’t do anywhere near as much to help your campaign as you think they should. They’re not going to run your campaign. They’re not going to provide all the volunteers you need for your grassroots organization. And they sure as heck aren’t going to raise your money.
Your campaign is just that. YOUR campaign. Anything the party organizations do for you should be considered gravy.
The truth is, the party operations have become increasingly irrelevant since the stupid McCain-Feingold law neutered them and gave rise to super-PACS. Generally speaking, the party organizations have been relegated to legal “money laundering” machines to get around campaign finance laws. That’s about it.
However, the party people CAN do a tremendous amount of damage to your campaign if they so choose. Gossip spreads like wildfire among their ranks. No accusation is too outrageous not to be repeated. So do NOT ignore or disrespect them.
The bottom line is this: Candidates – or more accurately, campaigns – win or lose races. To blame the party activists and/or leaders for electoral losses shows a general ignorance of political reality – something liberal blubber-blogger Jon Ralston does on a regular basis.
Now, all that being said, there are some things the party organizations *could* do that would actually help Republicans win more races…
1.) Endorse in primaries. Party leaders aren’t leaders if they’re not leading. Members of the Central Committee should screen candidates and let the average GOP voter know which Republican candidates have the best chance of winning.
2.) Train candidates and party activists. Yeah, yeah…I know the party puts on various training programs. But I also know who many of the people are who are doing the training. And they don’t know spit from spam. They’re the blind leading the blind.
3.) Voter persuasion. NOT voter registration. All you have to do is look at the numbers. It’s not that we don’t have enough Republicans registered. It’s that not enough independent, non-partisan voters are voting Republican.
Oh, and hey, news flash: A large number of registered Republicans didn’t show up to vote last year. So put a LOT more focus on turning out the Republicans who have already registered, not the ones who don’t want to be registered and probably won’t vote even if they do.
Organizationally, this is how it *should* work but never seems to…
- The NATIONAL GOP congressional committees should focus on the federal races
- The STATE GOP should focus on the statewide races – including judicial!
- The SENATE GOP CAUCUS should focus on state senate races
- The ASSEMBLY GOP CAUCUS should focus on the assembly races
- The COUNTY parties should focus on local races – including school boards!
Frankly, the local races are the most important and where the party organizations can make the biggest difference. That’s our “farm team.”
And if we don’t get new GOP blood in on those first rungs of the political ladder, it makes it all the harder to win seats further up the ballot. But everybody wants to work on the high-profile races even though that’s where they make the smallest difference.
One last thing the party organizations can and should do more of: Enforce party discipline.
I don’t know if you’ve ever been involved in drafting an official party platform. It ain’t easy. It’s time-consuming. And often bitterly divisive.
But in the end, the majority of the elected delegates to our local, state and national conventions do an admirable job detailing what the party stands for.
And if the party platform, for example, says the official position of the party is in opposition to tax hikes – and then some wayward Republicans give the platform and the convention delegates the middle finger by voting for a massive tax hike anyway – there should be political hell to pay.
The party needs to issue far more “censure” resolutions for the more egregious betrayals of core GOP principles. And believe me, in the right hands both an official party endorsement and/or an official censure can be EXTREMELY influential in a campaign.
Now about the upcoming race for chair of the Clark County Republican Party: I don’t have a dog in the fight.
I’ll try to work with whoever the Central Committee members elect – as I tried to do with outgoing Chairman David Sadsack. But the guy thought he knew it all and decided fighting with the state Republican Party was a more valuable use of time than fighting with the Democrats.
Can’t fix stupid.
Either Carrie Buck or Jesse Law should be a vast improvement – though I’ve written previously that I wish SENATOR Buck would instead focus on SENATE races and leave the local stuff to the locals. But it is what it is.
Now as to the Nevada Republican Party chairman’s race later this fall…
It’s funny reading social media posts and emails. Some people swear Chairman Mike McDonald and I are joined at the hip, while others think we hate each other’s guts. Neither is true.
I have been one of Mike’s staunches defenders…as well as one of his harshest critics. But we both realize this – as Michael Corleone pointed out in The Godfather – isn’t personal. It’s business.
Where Mike and I agree, I’m happy to help and support him. Where we don’t, I won’t. As they saying goes, there’s no permanent friends and no permanent enemies in politics; only permanent interests.
That said, I obviously hear a lot of griping about Mike, especially since Republicans in Nevada have now had three successive losing election cycles. That said, here’s a lesson from Politics 101: You can’t beat somebody with nobody.
Kvetch, whine and complain all you want. But Chairman McDonald has the support and endorsement of the 45th President of the United States, Donald Trump, as well as the financial backing of perhaps the most influential and active GOP donor in Nevada today, Don Ahern.
So unless you have somebody who can beat that hand, stop bitching and moaning about that which you cannot change and change what you can.
Whether it’s Carrie or Jesse – or Mike or a Player to Be Named Later – I’ll support and work with whoever gets elected chairman unless or until – like Sadsack – they prove to be boneheaded morons.
And if there’s to be ANY chance at dethroning Emperor Steve von Sisolak next year – as well as winning a lot of other races up and down the ballot – I would strongly urge you to do the same.
That’s it. Stick a fork in me; I’m done.
Election ’22 Updates
- Correction: Assembly Minority Leader Robin Titus is not termed out as I wrote in Part IV. Instead, she’s announced she intends to give up her Assembly seat and run for the State Senate against fellow conservative Assemblyman Jim Wheeler…with the usual caveat that it could depend on how the new district lines are drawn.
- Sam Brown launched his U.S. Senate campaign kick-off video this week…and it’s pretty powerful. Check it out by clicking here.
- Had lunch with expected Clark County sheriff candidate Kevin McMahill on Thursday. If he runs, he is by FAR the better candidate vs. the announced candidacy of former lobbyist and RINO Assemblyman Tom Roberts.
- Spoke to over 100 conservatives at the Sun City Conservative Club Thursday night. What a GREAT group of folks! Excellent questions. And club president, Brenda Flank, is a true gem. She’s running for Las Vegas City Council Ward 4 to replace term-limited Councilman Stavros Anthony and has my support.
- Speaking of Anthony, he’s said to be weighing a run for either governor or Clark County sheriff after losing a squeaker to Democrat Ross Miller in that county commission race last year.
- More talk that RINO State Sen. Keith Pickard won’t be running for re-election (good!) and that RINO Assemblywoman Melissa Hardy will be running for his seat (bad). And the deal includes former Assembly candidate Byron Brooks running for Hardy’s Assembly seat. Neither Hardy nor Brooks have signed the Taxpayer Protection Pledge in previous campaigns.
- John Kovacs, a civil engineer from Henderson, has announced his candidacy for Nevada’s 3rd Congressional District, currently being misrepresented by Democrat Rep. Susie Lee. He joins April Becker and Mark Robinson in the GOP primary field.
- Mindy Robinson – a failed GOP congressional candidate in 2020 with an embarrassing 13% of the vote – is still running for CD3 as a third-party candidate to siphon votes from Republicans and help Lee keep her seat.
7 Worst Habits of Highly Unelectable People
- Picking the wrong race
- Picking the wrong district
- Picking the wrong issues
- Picking the wrong time
- Picking the wrong consultants
- Picking unnecessary fights with the media
- Picking door-knocking over fundraising
FAMOUS LAST WORDS
“I don’t understand much about politics…” – Blubber-blogger Jon Ralston, 1/2/20
Mr. Muth is president of Citizen Outreach, publisher of Nevada News & Views and blogs at MuthsTruths.com