Growing your movement: advice from Karl Rove

Karl Rove was responsible for George Bush’s election win over Al Gore in 2000, and denies being involved in the Swift Boating of John Kerry in 2004. His reputation as a political strategist without equal is deserved, as he helped perfect the micro-targeting and individualisation of campaign communications with direct mail.

The Tea Party movement has possibly the stupidest name of any political movement in history.

With the Tea Party movement at risk of running out of puff in the US, Rove writes in the Wall Street Journal (paywalled, but he replicates it on his website here) that the tea baggers need to keep up momentum.

To maintain their influence, tea partiers will have to maintain their current energy and concern over health care and federal spending.

I suggest that to do that tea partiers design a citizen’s pledge and then ask friends and neighbors to sign it with them. The pledge should make five concrete commitments.

The first would be to educate themselves about the key issues of health care, spending, deficits and the economy. The second commitment would be to ascertain with certainty where their candidates for the U.S. Senate and House stand on these issues.

The third would be for each signatory to agree that they will register and then vote this fall for candidates they personally believe best represent their views on these issues.

Such a pledge would also draw on the tea party movement’s record of spontaneous growth with a fourth commitment that each signatory make a manageable list of 10 to 25 people whom they would individually approach to take the pledge.

The fifth and final commitment would be that each signatory personally see that each of their recruits register and vote.

These steps would build on the natural inclination of tea party groups to use social networking tools and draw on the energy of people fresh to politics looking for ways to affect the country’s direction.

The advice is applicable to any grassroots movement or campaign. The use of pledges is a distinctly American tool, but their use is growing, and could be used in place of a petition.

In Australia, without the need to “get-out-the-vote” or enroll people to vote, can still use pledges to motivate campaign or movement supporters to some other call to action.

[box type=”info”]Karl Rove’s autobiography is well worth reading as an insight into this ultraconservative political master.[/box]

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