A Political Lesson About Issue Advocacy

Photo credit: Molly Theobald (CC by 2.0)
Photo credit: Molly Theobald (CC by 2.0)

I wanted to highlight an article in Breitbart by Mike Flynn the other day that I intentionally didn’t share over on Truth in American Education’s social media.  It doesn’t mention Common Core, it’s not even about education, but it contains some insights that I think will help the cause of fighting Common Core in the future.  So I didn’t want to throw it up there without providing some context regarding how I see this as relevant.

He points out how conservatives are losing ground to liberals because they are being out-organized.

I don’t want to make this article about left vs. right, but rather about a political strategy towards building a movement.  The left have been masterful at accomplishing this.  The right not so much.

Lessons to learn for us:

1. Go local.  I think there are far too many of us who are focused nationally.  Certainly this website is a national resource, but we focus on state-by-state activism, and my personal activism has been at the local and state level.  I have to roll my eyes at new national groups formed to fight this battle, not because I see them as competition because I don’t – we’re allies in this fight, but because that is not where the battle is at.  I may not be able to organize a nation, or a state, but I can organize in my school district or my voting precinct.  I do want to point out that there are a good number of grassroots groups doing this.  Thank you!

2. Up our game with organizing and canvassing.  So many of us have participated in grassroots lobbying, but have we considered how our results could have different if we spent as much time canvassing and educating people?  We can’t match the resources that pro-Common Core advocates have.  We do have people who are fired up about this issue.  Anyway, if we expect to make an impact at the Statehouse or the ballot box that means we have to educate people and not just rely upon them coming to our presentation.  We also need to go to them.

3. We need to do better at finding out who are supporters are and more importantly where they are.  We don’t do a good job collecting this data because well we’re against data collection.  I’m pointing a finger back at myself on this one because I am notoriously bad at doing this.

Anyway… share your thoughts, and more importantly, ideas and examples of how we (as a movement) do a better job.