What Next?

Our party enjoyed another great victory last week. We managed to keep a very blue county vibrant with red winners. The pundits are still confused about what happened. Curiously, they are fixated on the wrongs of the Democrat party rather than the rights of our party.

This time Democrats can’t blame the Election Commission or declare voter fraud. The loss falls clearly on their shoulders. Interestingly, I chuckle to read Jackson Baker stew about it. He says he will look for “possible ways for the party to reestablish itself, both in Shelby County and in the stat e— and thereby revive the two-party system.” Funny, no one worries about the two party system when the GOP is out of power.

In some ways we got lucky this time with such poor Democrat candidates as Joe Brown and Henri Brooks. But we can’t depend on this trend repeating itself in four years. We have to start thinking about strategy now.

The 2014 election showed how important good candidates are. We need a good bullpen of experienced people who can invigorate the party. We need to scan the fields now and see who might be promising.

We also need young people. We have the Young Republicans and branches at the U of M as well as Rhodes. They need all the help we can give them to canvass for members. We need to reach them with the tools they are familiar with such as facebook, twitter, YouTube and vines.

Some of our candidates this go round did not take full advantage of these tools. In fact, most of them didn’t. Some didn’t have websites til the very end. Now this is one of the easiest things a candidate can do. It’s basically free, as most of these things are. Why not put a YouTube of yourself up on a website to introduce yourself? Why not have updates every day and answer questions about things that are happening in the community? I would opt for the humorous as that attracts attention and who doesn’t like something funny?

You can even attract national attention. It’s free advertising for goodness sake! As far as I know, we didn’t do any Vines either. If you don’t know what a vine is, Wikipedia explains “Vine is a short-form video sharing service… It allows users to record and edit seven-second long video clips, which can be then published through Vine’s social network and shared on other services such as Facebook and Twitter. Vine’s app can also be used to browse through videos posted by other users, along with groups of videos by theme, and trending videos.” They are only six seconds in length. With today’s attention deficit disorder populace, that’s about all you can hope for.

I don’t remember the message of many of the candidates or their slogans. A message and the continual pounding of the message must be employed. It’s really not that hard.

The GOP also needs to use more of the precinct tools available. In 2012 I saw Democrat workers going through my neighborhood on several occasions, armed with a phone and the data to identify targeted houses. It certainly worked for Barack Obama. We have that ability, but we don’t seem to use it. If you’ve ever tried to knock on doors with a bulky paper list you know how difficult it is to keep an eye on the addresses, get a pencil out and record responses while walking around. New apps feed the information right to a bigger bank of names. These are the people we want going to the polls.

Did we use CallFire this election? I never got any information on it. We used it to great success in 2010. Perhaps the days of phoning people at home are over. This is a topic the leadership should tackle.

Good as the election results were, it is galling to see that Republicans didn’t turn out as much as they could have. We won with crossover votes when we have plenty of Republicans to draw upon, but they don’t get to the polls. They need to understand how important their votes are. In the 90s Dick Hackett lost the mayor’s office to Willie Herenton partly because of the votes Prince Mongo got. It was a close race and those votes would have made the difference. What happened was we got stuck with the poor leadership of Willie Herenton for about 20 years. We are still paying the price for that election.

It is not comforting to see that almost 50,000 Memphians cast their vote for Judge Brown or that Henri Brooks got 53,541. We have to make sure future elections don’t fall into the hands of politicians like these.

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