When we talk about politics, we tend to do it on a grand scale. It’s almost always about the candidates, the party, the upcoming election, and how the latest grand governmental gesture will change the shape of things for years to come.
But unless you’ve been right in the middle of it, you probably don’t realize that, done correctly and just like your average iceberg, 90 percent of it takes place below the surface. We’re not talking about backroom deals here – they don’t happen nearly as often as you think – we’re talking about running the ground game
Because if there’s one thing that sinks fledgling candidates and political movements faster than a lead weight, it’s a lack of understanding how the bits and pieces of the political process really work.
Now, we already know you want to avoid those ancillary players who make all the noise, but conversely, without the “worker bees” who generally do the grunt work without complaint, you can forget about winning anything above a small town village board seat.
Even money isn’t nearly as sure a thing as deploying a tried and true political army. It took Jim Oberweis a few elections to figure that one out.
And the cool thing is, once you start building that ground game, as long as you apply a regular dose TLC, it’s a self perpetuating prospect. People like to be part of a winning team.
Here’s a perfect example of this dynamic.
The LaSalle County Republican Women’s Club wanted to send out invitations to their annual Flag Day Picnic. The problem was, hitting each and every one of the applicable 1,962 GOP women would run up a $961.38 postage tab.
And the LCRWC didn’t have that kind of cash laying around.
So they went to the LaSalle County Republican Central Committee (every county has one) and asked if they’d be willing to lend a financial hand. Sensing an opportunity to extend their ground game, the LCRCC leapt at the possibility.
I know that sponsoring a mailing doesn’t seem like such a big deal, but if you take the time to think about it, it really is.
And it starts with two Republican organizations working together for the betterment of the party. The sad truth is, that doesn’t happen very often. More often than not they’re at each others throats.
Not only that, but at a time when the GOP is having a hard time hanging on to women, this fun family event provides the perfect opportunity to connect or re-connect with an essential part of their constituency.
Above and beyond that, those attendees winill present an amazing pool of untapped talent. Who knows? Some may be willing to step into a precinct committeeman role while others might volunteer to pass out literature before the election. Sometime, all you have to do is ask.
And once word gets out, any Republican candidate worth their salt will make a point of showing up. And when one decides to make an appearance, you know the rest will follow.
Do you see how each step builds upon the previous one? Mike Madigan didn’t just magically walk out of the Chicago River one day. He meticulously built his team over the course of decades.
Because like baseball, politics is a game of inches in which a slew of fundamentals have to come together in order to pull off a wining season. And it can start with something as simple as a sponsored mailing.