What if they won’t do the right thing?
We’ve received quite a few emails from our activists in California and several other states with intransigent liberal Members of Congress. Conservative activists understandably wonder what they can do to make a difference when their elected “representatives” refuse to do the right thing.
After last week’s conservative wave, many Americans expected most Members of Congress to get it. Sure, maybe they would still need a little education push them to the right side. And some Members may need personal contact from a committed group of conservative activists.
But Members of Congress who refuse to do the right thing and proudly announce their support of the wrong side are another story altogether. They’ve ignored conservatism’s best arguments and decided liberalism is better. More emails and phone calls may annoy them, but they’ve made their decision.
Conservative activists living in those districts ask now what?
Unfortunately, many conservatives choose to disengage, thinking that nothing can be done with those Members of Congress. While those Members may be hopeless, there are always opportunities to advance our conservative values.
Here are some ideas to get you started:
1. Broadcast the issue. Write a short letter to the editor describing your interaction with the Member of Congress or their staff. Explain why your position should be theirs and how they dismissed you. This will bring the issue to your neighbors’ attention and you can guarantee your Member’s office will notice. Calling a local talk radio show will also make a strong impact.
2. Build a group. Recruit people that will spread the conservatives message to others. Gathering a group around a specific issue may result in wayward Members of Congress taking another look at the issue. Generating a more energetic conversation around the issue will also encourage future opposition to other bad policy positions.
3. Personal meeting. As you elevate your concern to other constituents and through the media, you may consider approaching the Member’s district or state staff and seek to arrange a personal meeting. If you raise issue’s profile enough, a Member of Congress they may feel compelled to meet or see it as an opportunity to look like a good representative.
4. Organize a debate. Recruit a scholar or expert from both sides and hold a debate-style event. Using an online or public forum could help motivate more people to bring the issue to your Member’s attention.
5. End around. If you can find the opportunity, talk with an elected official that will listen and take action on the issue. Sometimes state or even local action can force the hand of a federal official.
Take it from a conservative that grew up in Maine: it’s still worthwhile to be involved, even when your elected officials fail to represent you. Everything you do now builds momentum for the future.