80% of Life is showing up.

Showing Up

By Jon Smith, June 15, 2016

Yesterday’s South Carolina primary is over. 13.8% of eligible voters participated statewide with 9.89% participating in Beaufort County. Make of that what you will.

If the past year’s political whirlwind has shown us anything, it is that the political process, how political parties are structured, their role in the political process, and how candidates are selected are understood by very few. Sadly, that misunderstanding is made worse by the fact that few understand the distinction between a republic and a democracy and that the United States is a republic (“for which we stand”). Fewer still seem to care.

That leaves it up the people who care to do whatever can be done to ensure that the political process works. Elections are important. Holding those we elect accountable to the electorate is even more important. We can’t do that from the sidelines. It all starts with showing up and knowing how the system works.

To run for political office, not just for president, a candidate must do so through a political party (local non-partisan offices excepted) and comply with the rules established by the party members.

The popular perception is that a Republican Party member is someone who has registered to vote as a Republican or someone who votes for Republican candidates. Those are in reality voters with republican leanings. They are not members of the Republican Party. In states like South Carolina, an “Open Primary” state, voters when registering cannot even specify their party preference. They simply register to vote. They may consider themselves Republicans and may feel this quite strongly but they are not Republican Party members.

One result of this is there is no way to know how many such “Republicans” there are in South Carolina or in Beaufort County since they have not joined the Republican Party. The only source of partisan data is how many people asked for a Republican ballot in a primary election and then we can only assume they are “Republicans” since anyone may request a Republican primary ballot.

For Republicans, this is how it works.

First – To be a member of the Republican Party you have to actually join the Party. Voting for Republicans and even joining an affiliated Republican Club does not make someone a member of the Republican Party. You have to join the Beaufort County Republican Party.

Second – Most people, especially Republican leaning people, want to have input in the political process. Not understood is that if you wish to have influence in the political process, you must not only join but also become involved and becoming involved is really easy. As Woody Allen once said, “80% of life is showing up”. How can the Republican Party know what you think or what you want if you don’t show up?

The easiest way to become involved is to become a member of the Party. The easiest way to influence the Party is to also become a Precinct Committee member. It’s not at all difficult and it doesn’t require a lot of time or work either.

The Precinct Committees guide Party policy and it is from the Precinct Committees that delegates to the county, state, and national conventions are selected. There are 92 precincts in Beaufort County. There are Republican Precinct Committees in only about a third of them.

So the question in this tumultuous year is where do we go from here?

Regardless of how this election year turns out, the Republican Party will need a serious rebuilding effort and that effort has to begin now at the local level.

Like it or not, that is reality. If you want to do more than shake your fist at the TV or crumple up your newspaper and throw it on the floor in frustration you have to do something. You have to do more than vote or abstain from voting. You have to do more than leaving the outcome to someone else. You have to show up.

Paid for and authorized by the Beaufort County Republican Party.

Not Authorized by any Candidate or Candidate's Committee.