When it comes to winning elections, the greatest potential for change comes from grassroots activism at the local level. However, many American citizens are either ignorant of their potential for influence or do not lend their time in the numbers needed to effect change.
Conservative activist and West Point graduate Dan Schultz, who runs a website called The Precinct Project, says "there's power in numbers," and Precinct Committeemen are the "foot soldiers in the army" who can truly change the chemistry of the Republican Party as it now stands. Simply put, at the precinct level where the party should be its strongest, it is tragically where it is the weakest—and with devastating consequences.
Graphic/Right Lane Network Website
Schultz's mission to transform the Republican party began in 2007. He had moved his family to Arizona, and the illegal immigration challenges there spurred him to action. His midwestern, small-town upbringing helped plant seeds that would later germinate and grow into meaningful civic action. And it was his seventh-grade social studies teacher, the late Sam Alvord, who "taught [him] basic American Civics in the late 1960s in Alma, Wisconsin," lessons that are very rarely taught in schools today. Those lessons were so impactful he dedicated his pithy but inspiring book—with a very long title—to Alvord: "How To Get Into The Real Ball Game Of Politics Where You Live To Help President Donald J. Trump Make America Great Again."
The November 2020 Election left many in the Trump movement feeling helpless. Many think the election was stolen from President Trump and are now feeling powerless to change things sufficiently to elect the people who represent their needs. However, Schultz says that, in many ways, feeling powerless and clueless is exactly what the Republican National Committee (RNC) wants voters to feel. The RNC has made it their job to hide the ways everyday Americans can effect change with relatively minimal commitment and time. Referencing the barrage of emails and junk-mail the RNC sends out, Schultz says, "The RNC really wants your money, but they do not want you to know where the real power lies."
The 50-minute interview was a mini-workshop on local activism at its best, demonstrating that becoming a Precinct Committeeman is one of the most effective ways to quickly change the party's direction—using the existing RNC tools to do so. Using the strategy of filling precinct committeeman spots with solid conservatives, Schultz was able to "[invest] a couple of hours a month and three or four at the time of the primary and general elections...in [his] precinct, with [his] conservative cohorts, double Republican turnout in a local mayoral race, as compared to the city-wide average turnout for all voters, and achieve an 86+ percent Republican turnout in the 2012 election."
Citizens across the country can leverage the Trump movement's momentum to fill precinct committeemen spots and truly change the party from the bottom up.
Right now, says Schultz, "there are around 200,000 vacant slots for Precinct Committeemen." The RNC doesn't want you to know that, though. Schultz believes that we need to make sure those 200,000 spots are occupied by solid conservatives who respect and follow the constitution. However, working with the RNC's existing structure and its tools is the fastest way to transform the Republican Party. Schultz says that if "three-tenths of one percent (200,000) of Trump voters filled those spots, they could take over the party. We would guarantee better people getting elected in the 2022 primaries and general election, and by 2024 we would reclaim the House, the Senate, and Presidency votes are being counted properly."
As Tracy mentioned in the interview, Kelli Ward's election as GOP Chairwoman in Arizona has been hugely influential in the push for election integrity in the state. However, Schultz emphasized that Ward would be "entirely more effective" if the state party and its precincts, with vacancies in two-thirds of the slots, were to fill all the slots. He says that had Ward been fortified with an army of voices from solid constitutional conservatives behind her, her push to hold the Senate Legislature accountable for election integrity would have been much more effective—a lost opportunity for conservatives because it still doesn't have the citizen engagement it needs there. With more engagement at every level, election fraud is much harder to pull off.
The Precinct Project website provides a wealth of information for the neophyte activist looking to become involved. Provided are short how-to videos prepared for a 2020 Trump win on whom to recruit, the strategy, how to run and why you should, the importance of working from the Precinct Committeeman level, and more. "The real ballgame of politics is played at the local legislative district, county, and state political party committee meetings by the Precinct Committeemen," says Schultz. The website also lists on its side-banner all of the how-to guides for becoming a committeeman by state, as all states are different.
Schultz's ultimate goal is for someone in each state to provide to its incoming citizen activists easily digested information detailing organizational charts, guidelines, and deadlines so that citizens can gain a clear understanding of how and when to get involved. His mission is to make the process and time commitment as transparent and accessible as possible. The flyer below was created by Linda Herren, a National Committeewoman in Georgia:
Schultz has helped develop a one-stop-shop website for Arizona called Right Lane Network that he hopes will be used as a template for other states. The website clearly lays out the mission and all the information a citizen might need to secure a bright future for the conservative party. It is also a secure, private portal for important communications for activists for the state.
Donor money and how it is spent is also often decided at the county officer level. However, Precinct Committeemen get to elect County Chairmen. "The county chairman is the person who has sole authority on how and where that money gets spent, so if you're on the county committee and you've elected a good County chairman, the stewardship for that money will be very good."
Schultz says it is imperative for conservatives to unite. It is time to dissolve the "political wall of indifference" between those who pay attention to politics and those who do not.
Graphic/Precinct Project/The Wall of Indifference
Shultz emphasizes that if Americans truly want change, they will have to become engaged and united. He also says that the fractured nature of the party is crushing its potential for winning consistently.
One of the more obvious but probably under-appreciated nuances of Schultz' strategy is how one needs to attract the low-information, lower-propensity voter. This is where his close-knit, small-town America upbringing really shines. He says the key to engaging those voters is at the personal, neighbor-to-neighbor communication that can only be accomplished at the grassroots level. A personal phone call from a Precinct Committeeman is the way to deliver information about the candidates. Later a follow-up with a flyer left at the door explaining the differences between the candidates or promises that an incumbent didn't keep can truly help ensure that the low-interest voter goes to the polls. Primaries are more important than most realize, and low turnout by Republicans in primaries can have a very detrimental effect.
"If you can target the 75% that don't normally vote in the primary and boost their turnout, give them a reason vote, they'll go vote. But you gotta be able to target them. What do you need to target them? You need REAL people. See those lower information, lower propensity folks; they don't pay attention to mailers, they don't listen to the TV ads in the radio ads. What they need is a gentle reminder and a reason to go vote from a REAL, LIVE, person."
The ultimate goal, Schultz says, is to "take over the Republican party and make it a hammer against socialism."