A true story to lead off in our batting cage warm-up session.
A young man, out for his first political office, won the primary and defeated his challenger from within his party by a two-to-one margin. He was looking forward to taking a few weeks off and resting up for the campaign trail to the general election in November. Life--and his party--had other plans. The incumbent of his party that held the seat he was campaigning for suddenly resigned, and vacated the seat.
Remember how I mentioned in an earlier writing of the importance of the Precinct Committeemen? PCs have an additional function…THEY are the ones who meet in caucus to select candidates to fill any elective office vacancies held by their party.
Our young man was selected by the party PCs to fill the vacancy. Now, instead of running as a ‘candidate’, he would be coming into the general election as an incumbent AND candidate. He will be able to know the office that he is running for, and have a ‘leg up’ on his competition.
In politics, you have to ready when the Lord opens that door for you to enter.
TIME IN THE STUDY:
If one is serious about any venture, there needs to be time spent in the study.
Winston Churchill, that masterful statesman and lecturer of yesteryear reportedly spent roughly eight hours researching and writing just to get one line perfect in his speeches. The legendary Vince Lombardi held a workshop for coaches once, where he spent eight hours explaining one play that was the mainstay for the Green Bay Packers.
By the way, Lombardi’s one play--the power sweep--revolutionized football forever.
Charles H. Spurgeon--the prince of preachers--had a library of 6,000 books, and re-read several of these books a year, including Pilgrims Progress by John Bunyan, in addition to his regular devotions, Bible study and for sermon preparation.
The late C. A. W. Clark, a masterful preacher of the modern era once told me: “A call to ministry is a call to preparation”. The late E. V. Hill, another one of my preaching heroes, spent some time in politics AND was the Pastor of his church. He made sure that he and his members--when government money was involved--were good stewards of the Word and of their time. He was also a great man to talk with, as he broke things down for common consumption.
Time in the study is just as important as time in the weight room.
The quarterback who wants to be good at their position spends hours going over game footage. The doctor spends time in his medical journals. Even Scotty from the old “Star Trek” TV series spent time in his technical manuals to keep the starship Enterprise working at peak efficiency.
Politics is no different. It involves serious preparation. The successful office holder of today MUST learn how to read, study, research and digest information of not only yesterday…but yesteryear from successful office holders of the past. In addition, the man involved in politics MUST have or develop the ability to teach others, from his staff, to volunteers, to his voters.
In politics, there is a LOT of background clutter one must learn how to filter out to put forth a concise and uncluttered message. However, filtering out your voters…those whom you serve…is something that you have to fight. You must teach many of them!
You must dance with the ones who brung ya! You ALSO must make your voters PROUD to have brought you to the ‘political dance’.
Remember when we were in high school and went to a dance? You may have not been that much to look at, but IF you made your date feel like a Queen, many of them returned the favor and made you feel like a King, when they were on your arm.
TIME IN THE BOOKS (AND ON LINE):
Here are some of the resources that helped me during my days in politics and beyond. Feel free to expand upon this list with your own additions:
1. The KJV Bible. Daily with The Book of Psalms and The Book of Proverbs.
2. The Drudge Report. Daily on line media resource.
3. The Constitution of your state and the United States of America.
4. The Election Laws of your county and state. These WILL serve you well.
5. “Roberts Rules of Order” plus rule books of your local/state elective bodies.
6. “Black Lies, White Lies” by Tony Brown
7. “In The Trenches” and “Fighting the Good Fight” by Reggie White
8. “Failing Forward” by John Maxwell
9. “Doing Business by the Good Book” by David L. Steward
10. “Dig Your Well Before You’re Thirsty” by Harvey Mackay
11. “See You At The Top” by Zig Ziglar
12. “Uncommon” by Tony Dungy
13. A good book on political quotes (for speeches)
14. Any local books on the political makeup/history of your city.
15. Lastly, any books on the Christian application to political issues.
Contrary to popular belief, reading REAL books is still essential. In addition to using tech, flipping pages is a passion that those in politics have nurtured and developed. Especially those quality books connected with political history.
This next point is crucial for your campaign. Build your team of prayer warriors well in advance and keep in touch with them monthly, weekly, if not daily, when prayer needs arise. Have an inner circle of prayer warrior advisors to bounce things off of, and special spiritual needs. Also, have a stable church you are attending and have sunk your membership in AND seek your Pastor early and often for prayer and consultation.
In addition, you will also have to spend time in meetings and training sessions, both with your political team and with your political leadership. The OLDER you are and the LONGER you have spent in the political game, you will have to teach others where you stand, and have them carry the torch and the battle to the front lines for you.
Time management is essential, as well as sharpening your people skills.
Also remember…the local bookstore is your friend; with a wealth of information from days past. A good film (video) can do wonders in addition to books. “Mr. Smith Goes To Washington” starting Jimmy Stewart is a good political thriller. It may be dated by today’s standards, but old truth is still truth. It gives one a true picture of political power and political machines, in a black and white format.
If you can, pick up some audio tapes on past political speeches and learn from them. Brevity IS the sole of wit…and politics. Learning the particulars of public speaking will aid you, and help you in your bid for elective office.
THE WORK LOAD INCREASES:
When we last left our hero (yours truly) he had won his first political contest and was elected GOP Precinct Committeeman. No joke. However, with the job came more work and more responsibility.
Every municipality political organization has first lieutenants to serve as part of the field management team of the local party. Now, in the military, second lieutenants are often called ‘90 day wonders’. First lieutenants have more experience, but still are learning the ropes of command, including the top sergeants in their political party. Successful Precinct Committeemen know they can command more in the way of respect as they have more in the way of proven experience.
However, as I learned, the wise PC MUST have enough sense to know that they must rely on the established precinct machinery to allow their polls to run smoothly.
I learned NOT to run into a new situation desiring to make changes. I learned to observe and let those who were in positions of authority and responsibility under my watch to do their jobs. They were on the job before I got there, and would still be on the job after I left.
Your party bosses have the power to appoint you to a good precinct (as they have faith in you, as the polls practically run themselves) or, to ‘Ice Station Zebra’ (a bad precinct with high poll worker turn over and a lot of personnel problems, often punctuated with clashes with the other political party).
Your ability to get along with people will determine where you land.
THE NEXT STEP UP: WARD CHAIRMAN
After proving myself as a GOP Precinct Committeeman, the next step up quickly arrived. Praise God I was ready for it. Downtown--again based upon the recommendation of my Township Chairman and others (after they saw my work in the field), presented me with the opportunity to serve as a GOP Ward Chairman…one who would be appointed by the party to be placed in charge of a GROUP of Precinct Committeemen--and their poll workers--in a particular portion of my county.
It was a promotion from First Lieutenant, to Captain, in military terms.
I drew a GOP ward that had half of its Precinct Committeemen and poll workers in a majority Democrat area. I knew that I had a major league challenge on my hands. I also knew that downtown was watching to see whether or not I would rise to the challenge that they presented.
Make no mistake about it: The game of politics is all about challenge and solving problems. Challenges to maintain your devotional time with God and the KJV Bible. Challenges to make time for wife and family. Challenges to make time to find poll workers. Challenges to keep up with the reading and current events. Challenges to work your day job. Challenges to manage your time in order to choose which potential candidates to talk with, which candidates to avoid, and what fires to put out. Challenges to work with the opposition party, while keeping a smile on your face, and NOT compromising your beliefs and party platform.
While growing up, I used to get a kick out of the old ‘Ed Sullivan Show’. One of the acts that I enjoyed was the guy who managed to keep all the plates spinning on those thin, spindly sticks. At any moment, one plate could fall, and throw off the entire act.
The miracle? Keep all the plates spinning…and not letting one fall to the ground.
If you want to get into the political arena, brothers…this is what you will have to not only learn, but master. How to keep all the plates of your life in the air, without allowing them to come crashing to the ground.
One other suggestion. IF there are certain skills that you lack, don’t worry. Just figure out your weaknesses, and LEAN on God to bring you those people and situations to can help you to fix your lack.
More to come!
Mike Ramey is a Minister, Modern Street Gangs Specialist, Nationally-Known Political Consultant and Syndicated Columnist who lives in Indianapolis, Indiana. “Ramey‘s Guide To Elective Office For Men” is one of a variety of columns that Ramey has in cyberspace. His address is still the same: firstname.lastname@example.org. ©2019 Barnstorm Communications (5).