One of the many lessons of last November is that if the Republican Party is to remain competitive, we can't afford to do things the same way ever again. The Digital Age has brought about an unprecedented revolution in politics, empowering people like never before by giving them the tools to organize quickly and influence policy. The old "top down" paradigm of political authority and party structure we have so long relied on has been replaced by a very effective "bottom-up" form of activism.
When the average person can put up a Facebook page and create a vast network of like-minded "friends" or communicate to thousands of people instantly using technologies like Twitter, political movements can be quite literally created overnight.
The bottom-line here is that people don't need to rely on political parties or their often outmoded authoritarian structures the same way they did in the past. They don't need to wait to be told what to do or how to do it by responding to orders from above; they can make a real difference all by themselves.
To adapt to this new world, our party leadership should focus on empowering our folks --- rather than trying to control and micromanage everything they are trying to do to further our shared Republican cause. The world is far too interconnected now and things move far too quickly. We need to encourage this new spirit of individual activism as a Party by lending our support, our resources, our experience, and our wisdom...and then get out of the way.
By embracing these new technologies, we will be well-positioned to communicate our time-honored Principles as a party to a whole new generation of voters. We don't need to change what we believe as Republicans; we just need to be able to explain our message in ways that younger people will listen.
Editor's Note: Stephen G. Duncan is the chairman of the 11th Republican Congressional District. That district includes Buncombe, Cherokee, Clay, Graham, Haywood, Henderson, Jackson, Macon, Madison, McDowell, Polk, Rutherford, Swain, Transylvania, and Yancey Counties.
For a complete schedule of upcoming Republican meetings across the 11th District, please visit their website.
Luckily with Michael Steele as the new head of the Republican National Committee (RNC), we shall see just these things happen on a national basis.
Will they happen statewide? The jury is out. Currently, the NC GOP has zero budget for any technological advancements. Your blogger believes that members of the NCGOP budget committee, the members of the NCGOP Central Committee and the NCGOP Executive need to be dragged, kicking and screaming, into the current decade.
Those spots are plumb ones that usually go to the older, wealthy, members of our party, and not to the younger members, or to activists as often. Thus, such members don't always see the need for bottom-up management or technology.
Additionally, we MUST elect a state chairman who believes in these same values.