Rebuild the Party started with a handful of Republican activists with a vision, and today, we’re making a real, measurable impact on the future of the Republican Party.
The initial goal of Rebuild the Party was to provide guidelines for rebooting the Republican National Committee through a greater commitment to new media and technology, and to encourage each candidate for RNC chairman to endorse the plan. Within days of its launch, hundreds, then thousands, of Americans signed up to endorse the plan and join the effort to rebuild our party.
To date, five out of six candidates for RNC chairman have endorsed the plan, and over 10,000 people are involved in supporting the plan’s goals — by participating on the Rebuild the Party Action Network, Twitter, and Facebook. Members from a few states have even initiated Rebuild the Party meetings (offline) in their communities to collaborate on specific steps for electing new, inspiring Republican candidates.
By launching two days after the election, before the race for RNC chairman took shape, RebuildtheParty.com quickly became one of the key groups defining the race. Media coverage by the Washington Post, CNN, Fox News, Politico, the Atlantic, the Daily Beast, and dozens of blogs appeared with a minimal “press” rollout, demonstrating that a truly buzz-worthy effort will near effortlessly gain attention.
Apparent from day one after the November election was the hunger by grassroots activists for new technology and innovative strategies, a fresh crop of candidates, and a more open grassroots approach by the next RNC chairman. The Rebuild plan reinforced this hunger, engaging fiery grassroots activists on the site and activating them towards a tangible event: the RNC chairman’s election.
We intended to jumpstart the conversation about what the party must do from a tactical standpoint to rebuild. We did not intend to provide an all-encompassing manifesto that will guarantee a renewed Republican majority.
Our philosophy: rather than sit around and meet behind closed doors or wait for the perfect plan, let’s get started right away making changes within the party infrastructure.
Let’s impact the conversations about what the party must do to rebuild. Let’s ensure, as a start, that the next Republican National Committee chairman sets the right tone from a tactical perspective. Most importantly, let’s open up the process so that we, the Republican people, have a say in electing our next party chairman.
Not stopping there, Rebuild sought to spark the attention of every right-leaning organization, campaign, and elected official — institutions that suffer the consequences of ceding the structural advantage to the left.
The founders of Rebuild the Party did not conjure up the plan and the idea for the group out of thin air: each of the initial coalition members believed in online politics before online politics was cool. They advocated for innovation and bottom-up grassroots campaigns as staff on campaigns for election officials, and were met with strong opposition. They came together not with an axe to grind, but with excitement about the opportunity that a crisis brings: learn from your mistakes, tap new leaders, listen to your “customers,” and work harder and smarter.
The next RNC chairman will have a considerable amount of power; they make decisions about money: what political programs to sponsor and which elections to effect.
With five out of six candidates for RNC chairman endorsing the plan: Chip Saltsman, Saul Anuzis, Ken Blackwell, Michael Steele, and current RNC chairman Mike Duncan, chances are pretty high that the next RNC chairman will share the ideas and follow the guidelines as outlined on the site. (Only Katon Dawson has not endorsed the plan.)
By agitating for change within the RNC, the Rebuild network has already made a difference. Candidates would not have signed on to a plan with 12 endorsers; it took thousands of endorsers to move the ball down the field. Each member can and should take credit.
The candidate endorsements, and for some of the candidates, the participation in the Rebuild forums, prove that while we may not always have a vote on the future of our party, we do have a voice … and a mouse … and mobile devices … and great ideas to share through our medium or device of choice.
If the RNC adopts the principles as outlined on RebuildtheParty.com, we can build a more active coalition of right-leaning Americans who want to make a difference. We will have the opportunity to reclaim the “party of ideas” and “party of the people” mantles, and create a culture of competition.
Our work won’t stop with the RNC. The nearly 10,000 people who have joined our efforts have a tougher mission ahead. Based on my conversations with U.S. House and Senate staff, efforts like Rebuild the Party are being noticed, and we should expect more of a say in the policy and strategic direction of our party. If not, we now have a platform to agitate for change.