Shaping the Political Battlefield


By Tim Hannigan

For Republican candidates to win elections consistently in Fairfax County, the Fairfax County Republican Committee (FCRC) must articulate the reasons why citizens should vote Republican and promote these reasons relentlessly across all traditional and social media.

A political party must stand for something if it is to attract followers. If it doesn’t or presents positions in “pastel colors,” why would voters choose that party over others competing in the political arena?

The FCRC can materially help all Republican candidates by establishing a base of well-thought-out, well-publicized positions on key local, regional, and state issues that resonate with the electorate. Aggressive, year-round FCRC messaging campaigns will enable individual Republican candidates to leverage “an already shaped political battlefield” and to appeal to a public that recognizes the advantages of Republican positions and the deficiencies of Democrat solutions.

That means getting off to a running start for individual Republican campaigns!

So what should be the FCRC’s messages? For starters, the Republican Party of Virginia enshrined the party’s principles into the “Virginia Republican Creed.” But these great principles are useful only when Fairfax County Republicans apply them to concrete issues and activities.

We have no shortage of such issues and activities that challenge the principles of the Creed:

  • The Board of Supervisors has spent money irresponsibly, e.g., $86 million for pedestrian walkways and bike paths, and raised property taxes at nearly three times the rate of household income growth over the past 15 years. Certainly, this is not following the Creed’s principle of “fiscal responsibility and budgetary restraints.”
  • The Board of Supervisors has created a de facto sanctuary environment for illegal immigrants through its policy of not checking the immigration status of those suspected of violating the law, including traffic law. Since heroin, murder, and robberies are directly linked to illegal immigration, does this policy help citizens “assume their responsibilities … in a free society”?
  • The Fairfax County Public Schools (FCPS) have adopted the objective of turning out “global citizens” with allegiance to some mythical world community over allegiance to their country and state. In such an education environment, are students learning about “preserving individual liberty” and “observing Constitutional limitations”?
  • The FCPS has contemptuously ignored the vigorously, often angrily expressed objections of parents to ill-conceived family life curriculum policies and social experimentation practices that were hastily adopted with minimal discussion and inadequate implementation plans. Does the FCPS not think that parents are “essential to the moral fiber of the nation”?
  • The FCPS has rejected the surveyed views of the Jeb Stuart High School community and unilaterally renamed the school in a School Board-directed action that will cost taxpayers an estimated $1 million dollars. Does such imperious behavior meet the criteria of “fiscal responsibility” and respect for “citizens in a free society”?

Long is the list of Creed-inconsistent policies and actions implemented by “the people’s representatives” just over the past few years. And long should be the list of Republican messages articulating clear and forcible counter-arguments to ill-conceived Democrat schemes that confiscate more of our money, pollute the minds of our children, and challenge our individual freedoms and faiths.

If elected FCRC Chairman, my plan is to institute an active program to develop and publicize messages that express Creed-consistent Republican views on issues of the day. To do that, we will need to:

  • Take regular surveys of FCRC members, Republicans, and both formal and informal interest groups within the county about their views on current government policies and issues.
  • Form an FCRC team of volunteers with expertise in issue areas, e.g., education, transportation, county budget, property zoning, etc., for the purposes of identifying county issues and carefully developing Republican positions on these issues, especially those of a sensitive nature.
  • Establish a formal opportunity-risk analysis process that determines whether a proposed FCRC position will deliver a net gain in support for Republican candidates in both the short- and long-terms.
  • Form an FCRC communications team consisting of experts in multi-media political messaging to prepare and implement aggressive and targeted campaigns aimed at “winning the information war.”
  • Issue messages promptly and frequently explaining FCRC’s positions on both county-wide policies and issues and those that target specific groups.
  • Actively promote FCRC messages through all media and public outlets:  local newspapers, television, and radio; websites and blogs; social media; and testimonies at public hearings.

 

The point is, rather than waiting on individual Republican campaigns to define the party and its positions, the FCRC must seize the initiative, shape public opinion on local issues, build a Republican platform of policies and positions, and deliver that platform and its constituency to prospective political candidates. When we don’t do so, Democrats do the shaping and we must all live with the consequences.

By actively messaging, the FCRC will not only force Democrats to defend their often unpopular positions but will also embolden our Republican office holders and candidates to be more confident and aggressive in promoting Republican Creed-rooted solutions.

The Republican Creed is fundamental to all Virginia Republicans, and we must spread the message effectively with smarts, energy, and gumption. Let’s get cracking!