WS>>How to become 500 times more powerful politically...than the
carl william spitzer iv
cwsiv_2nd at JUNO.COM
Thu Sep 14 17:02:05 MDT 2000
WS>>How to become 500 times more powerful politically...than the average
The Most Powerful Office in the World is Not the Pre-
sidency of the United States!!! (note: I have the "Most pow-
erful Office" rules for all 50 states---Grant Noble)
"I was a Precinct Committeeman for 16 years and I
eagerly encourage others to do likewise." Phyllis Schlafly,
President, Eagle Forum
"I hope this (essay) gets wide distribution."
Hon. U.S. Rep. Phillip M. Crane
Yes, I admit it. The title of this essay is a little
misleading. Bill Clinton (alas) is the most powerful man in
the world, so I guess, technically, the U.S. Presidency is
the "Most Powerful Office in the World." But what if I told
you there is another public office that (ultimately) chooses
who will be President plus virtually every other elected
official in the United States? If that were true, wouldn't
that office (ultimately) be the "Most Powerful Office in the
Conservatives take pride in their knowledge of the
Constitution and the outward forms of American Government.
Many can quote the Found Fathers "The least governed are the
best governed" (Jefferson), "Government is like fire, a
useful servant but a deadly master" (George Washington),
etc. We work hard electing a few tokens (like Reagan). But
the bottom line is, we know next to nothing about the real
system of American government, which isn't the fairy tale
we're taught in school.
That's why, years after the "Reagan Revolution", taxes
(and tax funded abortions) are up, the Federal debt (and
crime) continues to skyrocket, government regulations and
mandates multiply like rabbits. Public schools, the Second
Amendment, "gay rights"---I dare you to find one public
policy issue that isn't worse from a conservative perspec-
If you are tired of seeing things continue to go down
the drain, you must understand how liberals dominate our
government. You must understand the seven laws of American
1. If you want to change things, change the laws. Remem-
ber all the nonsense we learned in school about "Coe-
qual Branches of Government"? Actually the Found Fa-
thers made Congress far and away the most powerful
branch because it was "closest to the people."
The President can't spend a dime unless Congress au-
thorizes it. Congress can reject treaties and Presi-
dential appointments, mandate programs the President
doesn't want (by overriding vetoes) and even determine
if the Supreme Court can rule on a case (Article III,
section 2, "...the Supreme Court shall have original
Jurisdiction...with such exceptions and under such
Regulations as the Congress shall make.")!
Because our state constitutions are modeled after the
Federal Constitution, it's the same story at the local
level. Governors and State Supreme Court Justices have
some influence, but ultimate power lies in the same
legislature that passes the laws and determines what
happen in our society. Unfortunately, most legis-
latures are dominated by liberals.
2. To change laws, change the lawmakers. No citizens or
group can possibly keep up with the thousands of laws
passed each year by U.S. legislatures. Sure a big
campaign (like the recent one against the anti-private
school provisions of H.R. 6) can change a vote or two.
But after all the shouting is over, sometime down the
road liberal legislators quietly pass whatever they
wanted in the first place. There's really no substi-
tute for legislators we can count on whether our eyes
are on them or not.
3. Our people have to be on the ballot to get elected.
When was the last time you were really enthusiastic
about a candidate? How often do you vote for the
"lesser of two evils"? Ever wonder why, despite the
rhetoric, both major parties promote anti-conservative
policies after they are elected?
4. To get on the ballot, our people have to win a major
party primary. Except in very rare cases, everyone we
elect in the fall won a major party primary. In 90% of
elections, winning a major party primary is tantamount
to winning the fall election. Usually no more than 20%
of the registered voters bother to vote in these all
important primaries. In primaries that have multiple
candidates (very common in "open seat" dominant party
primaries), often less than 7% of the registered voters
determine who goes to the legislature. Since only half
of the eligible population registers to vote, I es-
timate about 4% of the voters are telling all the rest
of us what to do!
As this point, I should say something about third
parties. Some naive conservatives are falling for the
third party appeals of "conservative" leaders (who are
more interested in fundraising than results). The fact
is our "winner take all" system (like England and
Canada) does not provide for proportional representa-
tion. 10% of the voters in a general election gets
nothing. 10% of the voters in the primary of the party
that dominates an electoral district usually wins a
5. Party endorsed candidates the primary. Sometimes
candidates endorsed by their party lose primaries, but
it's rare. Endorsements mean you get party money plus
party workers who will pass out sample ballots with
your name prominently endorsed. Primary voters are no
different than anyone else. They don't have a lot of
time to study the qualifications of primary candidates
and their stands on the issues. Usually they see the
party endorsements, assume "the Party knows best" and
punch the appropriate holes.
There are state, ward and township party organizations,
but the basic unit of U.S. government is the county.
In nearly every case, the party endorsements the prim-
ary voter sees are made by a county executive commit-
tee. This executive committee is usually elected by
the county's precinct committeemen. These committeemen
are elected in the party primary from every precinct
(normally about 500 voters) in the county.
In some states the office of precinct committeeman goes
under another name (in Michigan, they are called pre-
cinct delegates; in Ohio, it is precinct executive).
Sometimes (as in Illinois' Cook County), the county
executive committee is elected by primary voters from
an entire ward, township or county. But such wide-
spread voting for a major party's county executive
committee, is the exception, not the rule. Normally it
is the locally elected precinct committeemen who ul-
timately control endorsements.
Each state has slightly different rules for getting on
the primary ballot as a committeeman candidate. For
example, in Illinois (outside Cook County) you must
file the signatures of any 10 registered voters in your
precinct 90 days before the primary. In Ohio, you must
file 5 signatures 75 days before the primary from
voters who either voted in you party's primary or
didn't vote in any primary in the last two years. The
rules (and the name of the office) may differ slightly
from state to state, but it's usually easy to get on
the ballot to run as a committeeman.
6. It's not necessary to have a majority of the county
committeemen to influence the endorsement process.
Here's how it works in my home county, Lake County,
Illinois. Lake is overwhelmingly Republican. To
advance their agenda, liberals get elected as Republi-
There are roughly 400 precincts in Lake County. About
100 are "vacant", i.e., nobody ran for Republican
committeeman in the last primary. Of the 300 or so
committeeman elected, about 10% are conservatives, 15%
are liberals and the rest are "regulars" who are mainly
interested in patronage and power and usually could
care less about issues like abortion, "gay rights", gun
Say X and Y are running for Lake County's executive
committee. Each has half of the "regulars". Where are
they going to get the necessary voters to get a majori-
ty? From 45 liberals or 30 conservatives? And once
elected, who do you think the winning candidate is
going to endorse in the next primary---a liberal Repub-
lican or a conservative? That's why most of Lake Coun-
ty's officials vote liberal, despite an overwhelming
Republican vote. That's how 45 people in a county of
520,000 control the endorsement process. In my county,
it's not 4% telling all the rest us what to do, it's
less than one hundredth of 1%!!
Occasionally, some rich amateur will dump millions into
a campaign and become a senator or governor overnight.
But for the vast majority of politicians, it's a long,
slow grind to the top. Each step of the ladder, they
need a party endorsement---endorsements which in both
parties are dominated by liberals. Is it any wonder
why we get the government we do?
In summary, to change things, we must change the laws.
To change the laws, we must change the people making
them. To get elected , our people must get on the
ballot. To get on the ballot, they must win a major
party primary. To win the primary, they should get
endorsed by their party. To get a party endorsements,
we must find, train and elect precinct committeemen who
will in turn elect the people who make party endorse-
ments. Precinct committeeman is the most powerful
office in the world because committeemen ultimately
determine who goes to Washington and the state capitol.
7. The Powerful Office in the World is Easy to get!! Lake
is typical among U.S. counties. 25% of the committee-
man spots of the dominant party are normally "vacant".
In these precincts, if you get on the primary ballot
with no primary opponent, the only way you can lose is
through an almost impossible write-in campaign.
In the other 75% of precincts, you will probably have
to oust an incumbent committeeman (sometimes they
withdraw rather than fight). But most incumbent com-
mitteemen are patronage hacks who do little besides
drop off party literature and endorsements. (When was
the last time any committeeman came to your door?).
$50 for literature, a few weekends visiting the hundred
or so homes that might vote in your party's primary and
any dedicated conservative can win.
In my experience in Illinois, it's very rare for a
conservative who follows the formula above to lose to a
"Regular" Republican committeeman---even a "regular"
who has had the office for decades. I've even seen one
issue zealots who insisted on converting everyone to
their cause (pro-life, gun rights, etc.) eke out wins.
Those who follow our advice and say "I'd like to repre-
sent your views to the Republican Party. What do you
think are the most important issues?" usually win 2 to
Of course, being a conservative is harder in the Demo-
cratic party. But there are many "Reagan Democrat"
areas where conservatives can win and the Democrat
party is the only game in town. As the 1992 Presiden-
tial election proved, it's a mistake to put all our
conservative eggs in one party's rickety basket.
Believe me, liberals never make that mistake. They
always join the dominant party of their area, no matter
which it is.
Voting for the Executive Committee and critical primary
endorsement is by far the most important power of
precinct committeeman. But there are others:
1. Access to Neighbors. The media makes conservatives
look like kooks. No wonder conservative politicians
have problems. As the dominant party's committeeman,
you can reach people who would never come to your
church, social club or home. Most voters are eager to
know about their government and the people they elect.
Even the most apathetic have some interest in an
institution that is taking about half their income in
taxes, mandates and fees.
2. Respect from Politicians---Committeemen represent 500
voters and those key party endorsements. Any call or
letter from a committeeman is going to get a lot of
attention form elected officials of their own party.
3. Launching point for other offices---running for com-
mitteeman is the best place to learn how to build
winning coalitions. One of the big problems among
conservatives is the notion that running for office is
like running a business. Levelheaded businessmen, who
wouldn't dream of being their own lawyer in court,
somehow think they can win against experienced, en-
trenched liberals without any prior political experi-
4. Control of party leaders and platforms----Committeemen
influence or control most party matters. If the
Republicans dump pro-life and other conservative
positions from their party platform, it won't be
because of election results. It will be due to hand-
ful of liberals who have patiently wormed their way to
high party positions, starting as a precinct commit-
Now you know how our Government actually works, just
like the average liberal does. You can continue to picket,
write letters to the editor and your Congressman or work in
another losing, non endorsed primary campaign---all the
things that have gotten conservatives nowhere the last 60
years. Or you can stop wasting time, run for precinct com-
mitteeman and start using the liberals' secret weapon
Permission is granted to reprint or even sell this
essay as long as nothing is altered without the author's
permission. Grant D. Noble, P.O. Box 146, Lake Forest,
Il. 60045 847-234-3520 Fax: 615-0281 gnoble at safeplace.net
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