I have been a lifelong Conservative Republican who absolutely loves what our party platform stands for. Make no mistake, I bleed RED! It is because of my passion and desire to see our party grow and prosper that I write this white paper. While we are making much progress in key vital areas, the following encouragement and consultation is to help us get to the next level of dominance in South Carolina politics and beyond. I believe that my training, knowledge, and experience allows me to generate keen insights into the pathway forward.
I have been extremely privileged to have had some of the most fascination training and work- related experiences in life. I am both a trained political scientist from an Ivy League school (Brown University) and a trained global strategist (Fortune 500 and Fortune 50 companies, respectively) who understands what political strategy is all about. As a former VP of Sales at a Fortune 500 company, I also recognize that team building is the catalyst to unleashing unparalleled levels of excitement, bonding, and results. Here are my recommendations for a more robust and inclusive approach to GOP strength and growth in South Carolina politics.
l. We need to move from a backdoor party boss approach to South Carolina politics (the good ole boy and girl’s network), to one that is much more inclusive and respectful of everyone’s opinions and participation
For those GOP County Chairs who have grasped this concept, congratulations! As I have traveled the beautiful state of South Carolina for my U.S Senate run, I have observed your openness and inclusion which have not gone unnoticed. There are many GOP Chairs and Executive Committee persons who embrace such an approach. However, we still have approximately 30% of GOP leadership who just don’t get it. They are stuck in the political abyss of yesteryear. Manipulating National Delegate elections toward pet candidates, manipulating Senate Primary races for establishment candidates, and silencing the voices of good quality candidates is their modus operandi. They are awash with political ambition that destroys the very lifeblood of the Republican Party. Leveraging their undue and unwarranted political influence; using questionable and egregious methods of voting manipulation; along with underhanded tactics, are all part of their political arsenal.
This begs a most serious and fundamental question of who we are as a party. Will the back door and manipulative approach to South Carolina politics be attractive to ordinary citizens? The answer is clearly, no! It will limit our growth to only those on the “inside” and will continue the expectations of a “who you know” 1950ies political ideology. We are better than this! The South Carolina Election Commission speaks about the need to have free, fair, and impartial election processes. How can we as a party declare that we are following such important dictates when we have people in positions of GOP County leadership, who by their actions, do not agree? Republican Party members have had enough of this old and dying way of operating in the political domain. We need to show our members that we are moving toward a new frontier of political strategy and tactics.
ll. We need to capitalize on the depth and breath of political experience, expertise, knowledge, and talent REGARDLESS of the length of time served or affiliation with a local GOP County
In other words, if there are people in this state that are committed to getting results and working to move our party forward, let’s bring them to the front of the line and let them fly. Let folks with talent and expertise have an impact. Why wouldn’t we want this to happen? I will tell you why…ambition, ego, jealousy, and/or ignorance. The 30% of GOP County leadership that I referred to earlier are failing to embrace the younger generation and those with extraordinary levels of talent. They are content with telling party members to jump in the back of the line and earn you stripes. If you are an outsider, they consider you either to be irrelevant or not viable. Once again, they are stuck in the political abyss of yesteryear. Harvard Business School laments about this very issue! Why are millennials jumping from job to job and seem to have so little commitment to organizations? The answer…. they are told to jump in the back of the line and earn their stripes. Millennials with talent have a well know propensity to want to participate at high levels very early in their career. If they do not see that they are having an impact at the highest levels of their organizations with their specific levels of expertise, they will leave. When organizations (business, political, or otherwise) purposefully attempt to hold down and squash the upward mobility of those with talent who are committed to the cause, expect very weak growth numbers, turnout, and political infighting. We have an inspiring example right up in York County! A millennial who we let get involved, lead, and is having a tremendous impact. We need more of this. Let the horses run!
The results of this kind of approach plays it self out all across South Carolina. Those with extraordinary leadership skills are building the foundations of our party for the long-term. These special GOP County leaders understand the importance of organizational health, while the level of infighting in their respective counties is held to a minimum. These special leaders do not try and squash and control other leaders who want to have a voice. On the other hand, those stuck in the political abyss of yesteryear are experiencing one of two things. First, because of their ambition they have alienated many in their county and the political infighting is rampant. Second, they are so entrenched in the party boss style of control and manipulation that they are “shrinking themselves to greatness.” In other words, the attendance and enthusiasm are lackluster at best because of their “style” of politics.
lll. The South Carolina Republican Party needs to build a robust talent bench for the future
As a new management trainee early in my career, I learned that business was entirely about people. The same thing applies in the political domain. Politics is entirely about people. If South Carolina is to be best in class, we need to get to the next level of talent acquisition and succession planning. Those with talent must be identified, trained, and plugged into the respective positions that fit their idiosyncratic bents. In other words, if we put people in positions of leadership before they are ready or put them in the wrong positions, we are setting ourselves up for failure. There are some GOP Party Chairs that would be awesome Parliamentarian’s or even Robert’s Rules of Order fact checkers. They would be awesome in that role. However, these individuals are not suited to lead with the vision necessary to get results and build a local party.
lV. Allow maximum autonomy while giving clear and direct political guidance
We never want to be seen as micromanaging the local GOP County apparatus. However, at a very high level, if there are leaders stuck in the 1950ies good ole boy and girl’s leadership philosophy and are demonstrating tactics that are harmful to the party, intervention and remedial training must take place, immediately. Allowing political cancer to spread is a death blow to local GOP county organizations.
V. We need GOP County Chairs that are able to cast a vision for the future
We need more than managers at the helm of our local parties. We need folks that can embrace technology, build teams, and move toward a more generous and inclusive approach. We also need folks who will not succumb to the baser instincts of manipulating National Delegate elections toward pet candidates, manipulating Senate Primary races for establishment candidates, and using party boss tactics to keep people in line. This is not leadership. These tactics are something that you would see from Stalinist Russia.
Vl. South Carolina state leadership needs to provide clear guidance to GOP Chairs for those running in primary races
A GOP County Chairs responsibility is to inform, train, and provide an awareness of all of the candidates for local, state, and national level elections. Failing to do so manipulates the fair and impartial election processes in our state. Equal time should be given to opposing voices. Currently, there are some GOP Chairs that are silencing the voices of the opposition. Once again, these tactics are something that you would see from Stalinist Russia. Ambition, ego, and the power to control and manipulate results is their end game.
In conclusion, we have a party platform that is second to none! The Republican Party and all of the conservative patriots in our state are a pleasure to work with. We have a majority of GOP County Chairs and Executive Committee persons who have the depth of understanding to get to the next level of success. We simply need to encourage, train, and/or remove those that are stuck in the quicksand of the past. This is a true and honest opinion of how to get better results, more participation, and a broader spectrum Republican party talent.