The Grassroots Case for Phoenix – Update – Update2

Update: Please don’t get distracted thinking that I’m a huge supporter of Phoenix or anything, this post is about control and who has it. The grassroots controlled party OR people who look at us as an obstacle.

I was at the CD4 GOP convention Saturday. Well, I visited CD3, 5, and 4. But ended the day at CD4. Near the end, Pat Anderson announced that the MNGOP has already decided to hand over its database operations and ownership to outside group(s), that everyone running for state leadership agreed and that it was going to happen. She said this is exactly what the DFL does and its time for the MNGOP to do so as well. – I’d heard the rumors about this, and have even supported the idea in the past.

The idea is supposed to be along the line of “The Colorado Model” where business, owners, big donors, or other interest groups or associations, etc  (like the Chamber & MN Biz Partnership) and/or “Super PACs” take over  and run the database. They build a system (or buy one), clean up the data, and allow people to use it. Its a good model if you have a singular goal, or agreed upon terms. It works very well for the DFL because their base knows that a Democrat winning is the most important thing. We as Republicans, have more principled values, and winning isn’t always all that matters. Many believe some if not most Republicans in public office are no different than Democrats.

When it comes time for the DFL GOTV machine to kick into gear, they push straight ticket no ‘ifs, and’s or but’s about it. They don’t moan and kvetch over this guy or that gal that voted this way once or didn’t pay their BPOU the respect it thought it deserved. Nope, for the DFL, the only thing that matters is that (D) after the name on the ballot and their activists, volunteers, and GOTV goon squad will fight tooth and nail for each and every voter to cast their vote for the Democrat, no questions.

MNGOP activists don’t work that way. While we need to learn from many of the DFL’s tactics in operations, our activists are not lemmings or slaves. If you take a good honest look, the DFL is an anti-grassroots party. Their conventions have checks and balances built in to prevent “getting it wrong” and if they do, their endorsed candidate usually loses in the Primary anyways to who ever the Unions want. Heck, they have quotas to get elected Delegate, walking sub caucuses designed to derail proceedings from the floor of taking control of the business before the body.

But enough of why I am glad I am not a slave in the DFL party.

The 3rd party database model for the MNGOP is probably going to have a buy in process. So if a candidate wants to have the data, there will be a fee or commitment made. I’m not sure if that would be financial, or pledge, or what. But just because BPOU Chair from SD99 says so and so is good so send them the password (like we currently have), isn’t going to fly when someone else owns that data now.

There is apparently a growing desire to go with a 3rd party database  in the MNGOP. Meanwhile, there’s also chest thumping about fighting June Primary because it would allow the Chamber and rich people to undermine the “grassroots” endorsement process. 

Do you spot the huge problem that I do?

On the one hand we want to hand over control and ownership of our biggest resource (data) but on the other we don’t want to trust these very same people in candidate selection.

Why is this a problem? In the DFL, if a local BPOU or CD isn’t doing what it is told to and the DFL needs that District for their plan, they send in the unions or send the work through an outside group. One of their local volunteer leaders isn’t cutting it or doesn’t like the candidate, in comes the paid professional staffer to run local operations.

While I see the merits of that strategy when it comes to winning at all costs, I know that MNGOP activists would scream ‘top down’ and say that you are supposed to walk on the green side of sod not the roots. (attempt to be funny and clever. FAIL)

On a statewide basis this could work, I do believe we GOP activists have to approach endorsements with a much more, just let the primary sort it out” approach. Sorry, but 2 duds in a row and well, fool me once….. I do fully support the endorsement process for Congressional & Legislative races. Its just that a contest of “last man standing” (how I explain the Caucus/endorsement/Delegate selection process) to have 2000 people decide who is best to appeal to 2 million Minnesotans is proving its own faults. The only people to have had any electroal success statewide in Minnesota have run in spite of the objections of the grassroots, that can’t be ignored.

Here’s an example of why the 3rd party model has serious flaws.

DFL Senator Terry Bonnoff is supported by right leaning groups that are likely to have control of the new 3rd party owned database Pat Anderson mentioned on Saturday. The MN Chamber endorsed DFLer Bonoff in 2010 over Republican Liberty Caucus Chair Norann Dillion and again in 2012 over GOP grassroots endorsed David Gaither.

If you are naive enough to think that the people “allegedly” ready to spend their 3rd party war chests to fix our data problem, are going to give a crap if the Executive Committee from SD99 hates the chosen candidate…. Heck, GOP State Rep. Ernie Leidiger endorsed the DFL opponent for GOP Sen. Ortmann. That kind of crap doesn’t work in the business world, and chances are, the business community and professionals are not going to have much patience for the usual grassroots infighting. They will see it as unproductive and quickly solve the problem, and that won’t be finding a new candidate. That will be cutting the problem out of the loop.

Going forward, if the MN Chamber or 3rd party entity,  controls access to the database, what happens to the GOP endorsed candidate or primary winner is different then theirs? Who gets the data? On whose authority? And what if the BPOU doesn’t agree? Do they pull support or access if our guy beats their gal because they know our guy just can’t and/or shouldn’t win?

Think about this folks. You wanna hand over “the data” to the very people you don’t trust to pick the candidates. What happens when grassroots activists pick a candidate other than the Chamber does? Who gets the data? Look at it from their point of view, they have a vested interest in winning elections, not our principles or platform.

Phoenix is far from perfect. I get that. But the party owns it. The party controls it. And the party is responsible and held accountable by the grassroots.

Now let’s get in to the case for why we should stay with Phoenix.

We own it, for better or worse, but *WE* own it. The Party owns it and everything in it. No one can tell us what we can and cannot do with it, and more importantly, no one can tell us what we can do “to” it.

Short of someone finding about $1.5 million dollars laying around give to the party to buy a brand new system, to replace all our VOIP phones, servers, websites, and other things, (This is above and beyond the current debt) the only other options are the 3rd party “Chamber” model” or the RNC system. I’ve gone over some of the bad points above on the 3rd party model so let’s look at the RNC system.

I believe the RNC system is no longer called Voter Vault, its something like Data Center or what not. But here’s the big rub, scrapping Phoenix and going tot he RNC system doesn’t remove the Phoenix budget line item from the party’s budget. From what I understand, we don’t just plug in to some server in DC. Its a DC based system but run locally. Basically they wrote the software, and we have to run it here locally.  We would still have to run and maintain that data here. (Just like we are right now.) It is shared back and forth, but we would still need staff, servers, resources, and money to run the RNC system for just Minnesota.

The fact of the matter is, in some states or select Congressional Districts, yes the RNC helps and pitches in, but given the condition of the Republican Party of Minnesota compared to the footing of the DFL’s and the recent electoral calamities that we have put forth for statewide officer, the RNC wisely won’t waste resources here on a losing proposition. Nor should they in my opinion. They shouldn’t subsidize  poorly run and performing state parties. Its time for the grassroots to share some blame in our state party’s last 4 years. Everyone is great at pointing fingers until they get in front of a mirror.  I’ll save that for a later time, but the point is, we elected Carey, Sutton, and Brodkorb as well as endorsed Emmer & Bills. The results speak for themselves. So does that ash heap over there known as the party.

Frankly I am getting sick and tired of fighting over who to blame for what went right and what went wrong.

Unless Joe Mauer retires from Baseball to run against Mark Dayton, the RNC & Governor’s association are not going to even take a phone call from Minnesota. And if we still haven’t had anyone begin to start talking to the general public and not focussed entirely on GOP Delegates, until next May or June after the endorsement, they will block our phone number because that’s too late.

And even if Matt Birk does run against Al Franken and we have the name ID battle on the same page, the NRSC & RNC are not going to even consider spending a dime in Minnesota. Their logic firmly grounded in the 2012 US Senate results where the grassroots candidate had the worst election performance in modern history for a statewide candidate from a major party, and there have still not been one single set of reforms or at least mea culpa’s over the condition of the party or quality of the candidate. (And yes, I am looking at you grassroots)

In my opinion, the notion of “I hate Phoenix because it doesn’t do what I want so anything has to be better”, it is a lateral move at best, but one we would regret forever. 

Because the chance of a Republican winning statewide in 2014 appear to be, logically, somewhere between slim and fat chance. Its funny, because that’s about the same odds as us getting a bunch of big names in for fundraisers or for RNC staffers and national money to be airdropped in. So if we think that the RNC system we agreed to use, should be changed to do something that works for a BPOU or even if we at the State level want it to be able to perform some new specific function, the RNC isn’t going to change it just for us. Its a one size fits all solution and that’s a problem. Minnesota is a unique state.

Admittedly, I never seen or ever used the RNC system so maybe it is perfect. But what if it isn’t? What if it can’t do everything that Phoenix (whether it does it well or not) currently does for us? What if they don’t allow every single endorsed candidate to use it? During GOTV, I may or may not have seen  local volunteers deciding to add local candidates to GOTV calls. Some may have even  written the names of their County Commissioners into the script, or strayed from it in ways that would be, let’s just say, hard to explain to certain people. Some locals like to do things their own way, and more power to them, but when you buy in to someone else’s system, you work for them now. Its everything on the RNC’s terms. Go ask Bill Paulsen to tell you about the RNC… in case you missed his stump speech.

No matter whether we go 3rd party or RNC on a new database, we’d lose grassroots control and make the Republican Party at all levels virtually useless.

No more meaningful endorsements, no more database. Well what good is a state party with a 3rd party owned database who also controls the candidate selection? Do you think they will care if you endorsed someone else for Mayor, County Commissioner, or State House than they did? Do you think they would have left your phones on, if they knew you were going off script? No, they’d shut you down from DC. Your phones would go dead on GOTV weekend. There’s no incentive for big donors to give anymore. The State Party and all its affiliates would shrivel and die because, unfortunately, a platform is not enough to stand on let alone run a statewide organization on.

Plus, do you really think that they will actually give the grassroots access to the system? I’m guessing it would be read only and you won’t even be able to make changes if you find out someone is really a Democrat, but is marked as a Republican. Either way, they will have delays in updating as chances are it will be verified first. If you think Phoenix is slow, just wait until Minnesota is the lowest priority on that RNC data guy’s list and he  has a stack from every other purple or swing state ahead of Blue State Minnesota’s.

Just think about the logistics for a while folks because this will have lasting effects on the party. While we may enjoy conventions and monthly meetings, they will serve no real purpose. The people with the power and control will no longer be at those meetings.

So, on to the case for Phoenix. 

Since we own Phoenix, we can control not only who has access (as in candidates & BPOUs) but also how it works and what it can do. If there’s a problem or glitch, we can fix it. If it doesn’t do something we need it to, we can fix that. That’s something that will not be possible with the outsourcing options. Yes, it takes money to run our own database, and no it hasn’t been done that well. But just like we hastily and for suspect reasons went to Phoenix, change for change’s sake is not a good enough reason.

Phoenix isn’t perfect, it may not even be good, but its the best option we have to keeping grassroots control of our party. Its going to take work. Its going to take money and effort to get it better and the data better. But, that’s going to have to happen anyways. Someone will have to fix the data, the system, the question is, after its done, who has control of it?

The grassroots, or the people we are supped to be afraid of taking away our endorsement process?

Update 2: I’ve talked to a number of people today.  Contrary to what Ms. Anderson said, this is NOT a done deal and  most people are wondering who she was talking. Maybe this will make them realize that they shouldn’t trust her, but hey, that’s just me.

But there is something happening. And it has to. The question is about who controls controls access and how. Its become clear today that there are different tiers involved, and not everyone understand they aren’t at the head table.

I thought I had the full picture, but did not. Still don’t, but the more I learn the less worried I am. That being said, its a major change and people should be aware of what is happening.

Chose your party leaders wisely,.
I trust Keith Downey, Kelly Fenton, & Chris Fields to make the right call at the State Executive Committee level.

Like Bringing A Spork To A Howitzer Fight

Another Example Of How To Win So That You Can Be A Happy Hyphenated Republican

Minnesota United For All Families alone spent $12.4 million on the 2012 election.

You cannot affect the change from the minority.

Add that to the millions and millions from other Democrat friendly groups, and you will begin to see down the rabbit hole.

What is the plan Stan?

OPEN THREAD: What’s The Plan For The MNGOP?

I started writing something last week about the future of the Republican Party of Minnesota. What it needs to change, stop doing, and the lessons it must realize and come to accept.

And not just lessons that need to be learned by the people who hold election certificates, elected party leaders, señor staff, strategists, advisers, etc., but also the lessons that the activists and base need to understand. What its is that sets us apart, in a negative way, from Democrats when it comes to party operations.

I’m still working on my piece and trying to decide if I actually want to publish or release it. I’m debating my future in the party, as far as being active in the party side of things. This piece is helping me work through that decision in my head. But its more like an open letter, or a speech I’d love to give.


But I am curious as to what you all think we should do differently, not at all, or start doing. Or maybe you think everything is just fine. Please share.

From The INBOX: Andy Please Ready This

I was forwarded the Anoka County Watchdog email today and asked to read it. This portion of this week’s email is very important for everyone to read and remember the next time the election cycle heats up and the same people are telling us how and who we need to win.

Just take a look at campaign finance reports. To be honest, there are some flat-out
embarrassing fundraising numbers in there. You can’t win without the proper resources.
It’s that simple. It’s a fact that some candidates lost because they didn’t raise
enough money and/or didn’t door knock hard enough.

And that’s not anyone’s fault except the candidate’s. The candidate alone is responsible
for the effort. The result is influenced by many factors but a strong effort on
the part of the candidate is often times a necessary ingredient, especially for
Republicans, who have no “gimme” seats.

Which brings us to the amendments. Simply put, the amendments backfired, failing
to deliver the turnout punch many had hoped for.

In fact, the amendments went the other way, motivating turnout for the crowd opposed
to the amendments.

The Watchdog spoke with a political operative who was involved with a liberal organization
working to elect DFLers to the legislature.

This operative was of the strong opinion that the amendments, especially the marriage
amendment, increased DFL voter enthusiasm, especially in college areas.

He chalked up the defeat of Rep. King Banian (R-Saint Cloud) to the amendment battle,
as well as the legislative losses of both Travis Reimche and Phil Hansen in the
Moorhead area.

In addition to firing up college crowds, the gay marriage amendment no doubt helped
to contribute to the gender gap the GOP experienced.

Moreover, the campaigns for both these amendments were horribly executed. The people
responsible for these campaigns were outraised, outspent, outhustled, outworked,
and outthought.

Remember, the forces behind these amendments had the initiative. The ballot questions
were selected and passed by the legislature at the time of their choosing.

The ball got fumbled in a big way and many people paid a price for it.

To watch the photo ID amendment drop like a rock in the polls made both the Emmer
and Bills campaigns look like Karl Rove masterpieces.

Talk about a need to rethink things. We thought the Emmer campaign was the worst
major campaign in party history. And then came the Bills campaign. And then came
the photo ID campaign. And the marriage amendment campaign.

Four catastrophic campaigns in back to back cycles.

We’re making it way, way too easy for the Left. This has got to stop.

May these people never work in politics again. Find another line of work.

Hold Fast, Stay True

I’m seeing many Minnesota Republicans panic and begin the oh too easy finger pointing olympics. I know, I know, I’ve been guilty of that too, and I’m sure eventually I’ll open a vein and opine on what went wrong.

But right now I am seeing the men separate from the boys. Some are already threatening to leave. Others have thrown their hands up and called the 2014 US Senate race for Franken, and others are looking for their next big paying gig.

The fact is not all of 2012 was bad. There are some glimpses of hope and examples of success. Overall things suck though and that’s an institutional problem with multiple causes.

The Republican Party does have some hard decisions to make coming up. How big should the tent be, do you tolerate destroyers for the sake of unity, do you have that candid conversation with social conservatives, do we need to finally address the platform reforms because the public has no clue what we really stand for, and what is it that we really stand for?

And most importantly, what is the party organization structure really for?

Because due to the losses, the Democrats will use their unchecked power to pass June Primary weakening the party endorsement process. Which after the last 8 to 10 years I think is a good thing. So then what does the party do?

I’m seeing reason for hope. I’m seeing the things that can be improved upon to make sure 2014 isn’t such a surprise. Because the fact that we were all caught flat footed, well, not us in the 6th District because we kinda kicked some ass, but that we had no clue the majorities were at risk and that Cravaack was toast, isn’t something that only a small number of people can take blame for.

We all have to do better. We can fix this. Its not the end, just another opportunity to save Minnesota and the country.

I’m not one looking to make me better in politics, I’m looking to make Minnesota a better place to live. Because after this election, its bad, but I’m not going to run away just because the going is getting tough.

The next 2 to 4 years will be tough on America, but Patriots and people who love liberty and freedom don’t run away scared of the amount of work it will take.

Hold fast and stay true Republicans.

What He Said

Its almost like he was watching races in Minnesota the lat few cycles. Worth the read!

Richard Mourdock – Why He Lost

I want to start by thanking Richard Mourdock for his courage.  Not only did he choose to run for office, but he chose to take on an Indiana institution, Dick Lugar, in the primary.  I was a vocal supporter of Mourdock early on because I believed his heart was in the right place and that he wanted to go to work for Hoosiers.  On the issues there was no questioning his conservative credentials.  I believed he would be a great Senator for Indiana.  What I didn’t anticipate was an inexperienced campaign staff, party division, and a divisive comment that would sink his campaign.

Read the whole thing!

It doesn’t matter how much you agree with the candidate if the candidate can’t win. You have to be able to win, that doesn’t mean you change what he says or believes, but you have to understand that winning isn’t just a message.

Yippie Ki-Yay!

Tonite we’ll see if hard work paid off, but today there is still more to do. #GOTV #mngop #mnred Calls, wave signs, leave no vote uncast


I was going to try to write a post for today convincing people not to be idiots. It would have talked about how the people who left the 2008 Rochester convention so upset with the Republican Party and Norm Coleman that they voted for Dean Barkley and then plotted to take over the party and have their revenge in 2012. Well we have them to thank those Liberty loving Americans for Obamacare and the laundry list of other radical leftist oppressive policies Obama accomplished in his first 2 years with Senator Al Franken.

I was supposed to go enjoy my Summer, I was lead to believe there were better Republicans than me who cared more about the country than me, who could help the party more, blah blah blah well ….

They disappeared as soon as the work needed to be done.

America needed help and they were nowhere to be found.


Yippie Ki-Yay …

Yippie Ki-Yay

I’ve been getting lots of thanks and kudos for what I’m doing politically. For those that don’t know, the lack of blogging isn’t by choice, I’m just too damn busy after the 18 hour days. I don’t take compliments well. I thank you all who have gone out of your way, said, or sent messages, and apologize if my response wasn’t like I’d just won an Emmy, but well, I don’t feel like what I’m doing is special.

I tried to find this on youtube, but couldn’t and have to get back to doing stuff, but this quote from Live Free Or Die Hard kinda sums up how I feel.


… Trust me kid, nobody wants to be that guy. [I do this] because there is nobody else to do it right now. Believe me if there was somebody else to do it, I would let them do it. There’s not, so [I’m] doing it. 

There are hundreds of thousands of GOTV calls to be made across Minnesota. Not just for Romney or Bachmann, or you Congressional Candidate, but also for the people who will prevent Mark Dayton from unfettered access to your checkbooks, the Legislative candidates are critical in this election.

I beg you, please find a call center and volunteer. Whether you can volunteer all weekend like some already have, or can only spare 5 minutes, please, show up and help us make some calls.

I’d love you to come to our CD6 offices  and help as our goal is to make the most calls in the state, but just show up at anyone of these MNGOP offices and help. I don’t care where, just show up.

We have a bunch of people already helping, but there’s never enough. We need you.

I’d planned on sitting back and letting other people prove me wrong, prove that they knew better, but it turned out that ….

Point is, I’m not even supposed to be here.

We Need You – GOTV

The story over the weekend, that Minnesota is in play for Romney, is great news. But there is one thing required for it to become a reality, you.

The only way we can end our 50 year drought of Republican Presidential candidates winning Minnesota is for you to show  up and help with GOTV.

The only way we can prevent DFLers from retaking the majorities Minnesota House & Senate and allowing Mark Dayton to buy his blankcheck Legislature, is for you to show up and help with GOTV.

The only way Republican Congressional candidates are going to win is for you to show up and help with GOTV.

Notice a trend here? That’s correct, all these candidates need YOU to show up and help with GOTV.

Just a couple of hours spent making phone calls i what could make the difference from President Romeny or Obama, Congressman Graves or Bachmann, Speaker Thissen or a Republican, or Majority Leader Tom Baak or a Republican.

We all need to remember the key to political parties and activism isn’t about just winning our own election, its winning enough to hold majorities, so Republicans hold the highest offices, gavels, and set the agenda.

We can’t maintain the majorities with out your help.

We need you.