Seeing this headline in this morning’s Commercial Appeal, “Shelby Democrat party disbanded,” should gladden the hearts of Republicans in our city. As is said, when your enemy is busy killing himself, don’t get in the way.
Make no mistake. They are the enemy. Of course I don’t mean that you can’t have a friend who’s a Democrat. But you can’t trust their organization because they will whittle away at our rights and work to make us an even bigger minority than we are now. That is what they have been busy doing for the past century.
Their decline is an opportunity for the Shelby GOP. There is no doubt that their effort in several elections has made a difference. We’ve gotten people elected who will steer this city into more jobs and prosperity for all while safeguarding our rights.
But we shouldn’t sit back. They are dissolving, we need to be strengthening.
How to do this? I’m certainly no expert, but having started a club and been on the steering committee, I have come up with some ideas.
We need someone in place who can devote continual time to the effort. Someone who can make the maximum use of our headquarters as Don Johnson did. A friend called HQ recently to ask about getting a Trump sign. The response she got was I’m not here, but I am working. No specific hours were given when someone would be there. How does that help someone who wants to drop by for a sign for a candidate?
Many of our officials are lawyers or other professionals with a lot to do in those occupations and with family. That’s fine, but they cannot give the 100% leadership others can. Some kind of delegation of duties needs to be done so that we can cover all our needs and plan ahead of elections, debates and other civic events.
We need to get people who can look at facts and data and tell us how to contact Memphians who are potential Republican voters. Voter rolls are discussed a lot, but attempts to use them to our advantage never materialize. Granted it is a lot to go over, but it is one way we can expand our vote.
Our messaging is poor. Even today, a look at the Shelby GOP website is out of date, referring people to links about the upcoming Aug. 4 election. One item even refers to the presidential primary on March 1st! Can’t this be checked daily? What does a Shelby County resident who wants information on our party going to think when it’s not current?
I would have liked to have seen pictures or read reports of the convention held in Cleveland. I’m sure a lot of interesting things happened there to Shelby County Republicans, but it wasn’t communicated publicly. A daily quick report from there by leaders would have let some of us at home have an idea about what was obviously an exciting and newsworthy convention.
Our clubs need to be strengthened. I think the clubs have helped get many of our people elected by sending out letters to their neighbors who recognize them and give credence to the appeal. Right now clubs are just left to sink or swim on their own. Again, it’s not a criticism of leadership, it’s recognition that many of our leaders just have too much to do for one position.
Perhaps we need more communal events free of cost to encourage fellowship among the clubs. One where there isn’t any agenda or speaker or cause. Get togethers could do a lot to foster communication and esprit de corps.
Our big fundraiser, the Lincoln Day dinner, drastically needs an overhaul. The silent auction has some weird items and has lost its interest. Surely there are other ideas to supplement the event. The food doesn’t exactly lure you in either. And let’s put some of the speakers on the retired list, please.
We need to get more young people involved. There is activity at U of M, but what about Rhodes? A few years back, the president of the College Republicans there attended one of our Midtown meetings. He then graduated and we lost touch with them. I think a lot of our members would welcome them to our meetings and be able to lend a hand in other ways, too.
Being in charge of Republicans anywhere is a big job. Our philosophy of individuality means we don’t indoctrinate or propagandize easily.
I hope we can overcome these divisions to come together. So much of the future depends on it.