A Number You Should Think About: 527

Jan 16, 2013

Remember all the way back to the 2000 Presidential race? Well, maybe you don't, but one thing continuously sticks in my mind: 527. That is the number of votes by which first-time presidential candidate George W. Bush beat then-Vice President Al Gore. That number is a strong reminder to even the greatest skeptic that every vote counts.

Although the 2008 and 2012 Presidential elections were less contested, they provided some insight into the power of grassroots activism. In 2008, then-Senator Obama for America organized and registered 1.8 million people to vote, in the single largest grassroots campaign in presidential campaign history.

So what can everyone involved in conservative political activism take from this? Never before has knocking on doors and participating in registration drives been more important. Take it from Obama for America Campaign Manager, Jim Messina, the man who constructed Obama's winning 2012 campaign, who said, "Door-knocking is going to be even more important in the future." Whether or not you agree with his politics, Messina arguably had a greater challenge ahead of him to get Obama reelected than David Plouffe had in 2008.

A 24-hour news cycle and explosion of Gore's internet ensures that we have access to any information we want, but we're more likely to insulate ourselves from opposition view points. Messina says political messaging is difficult in an age of electronic inundation. Even surveys and political phone calls are losing their value to some extent.

One way to break through the electronic clutter is personal contact.

Knocking on a door and engaging your fellow citizens is returning as the paramount method of winning elections. It's a symbol in an electronic world of your commitment to an idea, and ideas are infectious.

Conservatives cannot allow the losses in '08 and '12 to keep them down. As 2000 reminds us, influencing just 527 people could make a difference in who occupies the White House. It could also be the difference between winning and losing the next policy battle on Capitol Hill. We must stand guard, ever vigilant, against Washington's expansion of power at the expense of our freedoms.