Thursday, February 14, 2013

Why Don Murphy is Right about Rallies

If you listened to this week's episode of Seeing Red, special guest Don Murphy discussed a major point that he has been making for some time as it relates to holding rallies. And it relates to a few points Don's been making on Facebook:

  • Attending a rally or a bill hearing in Annapolis won't change Maryland... But voting will...
  • So, how many votes were changed on JPR as a result of the huge rally in Annapolis yesterday??? (It's a trick question)
  • The Arab Spring proves that it is better to be feared than ignored. Unfortunately, most 2A supporters will go back to their ranges and tree stands for another year allowing those in Annapolis to ignore them...
One of the things that our movement loves to do is hold a rally. We hold rallies on taxes, on spending, on guns, on supporting life, etc. And you know what, rallies are a wonderful and inexpensive way to show support or opposition to a particular issue or piece of legislation. Heck, I've even spoken at them....


They provide a chance for members of the movement to get together, to rally, to network, and hopefully to raise funds and to raise a volunteer base in an effort to motivate people to action.

But that's the problem; go to a rally is easy. Translating that into action is not. And so far there has been no obvious correlation (at least in Maryland) between rally attendance and electoral success, fundraising success, registering voters increasing the volunteer base.

My further concern (not necessarily in Maryland, but when it comes to the national level) is that rallies are a sexy way to draw attention to one's self and their organization at the expense of actual electioneering. The most notorious example of this was the series of FreePAC events put on by FreedomWorks last year, where FreedomWorks went into swing states like Ohio and Florida and held day-long rallies full of guest speakers, but did not organize any of the thousands of attendees into direction actions to influence elections. Instead of encouraging people to volunteer at home, FreedomWorks brought thousands of people into an arena to have them sit on their kiester.

That's not to suggest that rally organizers in Maryland have been encouraging rally participation at the expense of getting people elected. In fact I think organizations have done a fair job at encouraging active and not just passive political participation. But at the end of the day until the rallies themselves are coupled with electoral success at targeted legislators (such as any General Assembly members in competitive districts who are ousted in 2014) the rallies will be but events that are designed to motivate our side than they are to give pause to our opponents. 

1 comment:

Tony McConkey said...

If done properly rallies have a big impact. Nothing frightens legislators more than to have average constituents ( not lobbyists, not advocates ) feel passionate about an issue to take the time to show up. Many rallies occur when legislators are going to and from session, and the particpants fan out afterward to visit their individual representatives. That can be very effective.

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