Constituents, who believe in the Constitutional principles of limited government, free markets, and individual liberties, may want to join the local party organizations in order to affect party policy and candidate selection.
All you need to do is complete a petition from your local Board of Election and campaign in your neighborhood using Neighborhood / Precinct Organizing best practices. You may also want to solicit help from your neighboring liberty-minded organizations, get yourself on the liberty-minded organizations’ Voter Guides, and encourage Independents to declare a Party during the primary or caucus election and vote for you. Many of the local Precinct Executive / County Central Committee positions are vacant and 30-50% of the time you would actually run unopposed. Click on the picture to view slides which provide an overview of the party organization structure, what the responsibilities are for each of the organizational levels, and how you can get yourself elected to one of these positions.
Note that application petition laws and rules vary by state, and potentially county. Consequently, be sure to check with your local Board of Election to completely and thoroughly understand these laws and rules to assure your petition is not disqualified. Recent experience has shown that incumbent, big-government, career politicians are anxious to disqualify any “Tea Party” candidate’s petition based on the smallest technicalities. For example, in Ohio to apply to run in the race for Precinct Executive / County Central Committee an applicant needs at least five valid signatures of registered voters, who are registered in the same party as the applicant. Even though fifteen signature lines are provided, if equal to or more than 3x the required signatures are obtained, the petition will be disqualified. Petitions must be returned to the Board of Election seventy-five days before the primary election, which for the 2012 election will be December 7, 2011.
Also make sure that you are applying to run for the proper position within the party to fully realize your goal of affecting party policy and candidate selection. In many states, the parties have a two-tiered system of Precinct Executive / County Central Committee and State Central Committee, with the latter having most of the power within a state and with the national party organization. While the Precinct Executive / County Central Committee representatives are elected locally by neighborhood precinct, State Central Committee representatives are often elected on a state Senate or Legislative District basis. The latter is clearly more challenging and thus further protects the party’s incumbent power structure.
Once you are elected to a party position for either a two or four year term, make sure your expectations are realistic. Based on experience and basic “Change Management” principles, your advocacy of Constitutional principles of limited government, free markets, and individual liberties will be met by resistance from incumbent, big-government, career politicians. For example, in the 2010 primary election, the Ohio GOP spent over one million dollars to defeat “Tea Party” Precinct Executive / County Central Committee candidates to assure that their party’s favored candidates were elected. They did this despite internal party rules prohibiting candidate advocacy for party Precinct Executive / County Central Committee elections. Despite this, many “Tea Party” candidates won!