IFAS | Freedom Writer | October 1998 | party.html

CNP chief outlines plan
for party involvement

Washington, DC On Saturday, September 19, a workshop titled "Effective Involvement in a Political Party" was presented at the Christian Coalition's Road to Victory conference by Charles H. Cunningham and Morton C. Blackwell.

Cunningham is the Christian Coalition's national operations director. He coordinates the Coalition's voter education, registration and identification activities, as well as its national field operations.

In 1960, Morton C. Blackwell began to identify, train and place young conservatives for activism into the political process. His intensive training seminars have turned out over 18,000 political activists. He is founder and president of the Leadership Institute, and executive director of the Council for National Policy.

Cunningham began the session by stating that the Christian Coalition does not endorse candidates, but that does not exclude Coalition activists from involvement with a political party or a candidate.

He criticized James Dobson's suggestion earlier this year that Christians might join, or form, a third party that better reflects their views than the Republican Party.

"There were comments made earlier this year by Jim Dobson that were very confusing to the grassroots. It was an important message that the congressional party leadership [Republicans] needed to hear, but I don't think it helped us at the grassroots. And, in that respect, I don't think it was responsible. To even imply that pro-family, pro-life conservatives consider third party, or independent options, I'm not sure is, well, I would argue it is not the best option, and here's why:

"We don't have proportionate representation in the United States like in Europe. If you get 10% of the vote in the US you get zero. If you get 49%, in most cases, you get zero. You need 50% plus one. Because we have a winner-take-all system there will always be two parties.

"I would encourage you to get involved within both of them. In one of them, the party platform tends to represent our views better.

"Politics is not an event, it's a process. We're not in a sprint. We're in a marathon. Anything that can be won in this election can be lost in the next election. The challenge that we have is that people in this culture expect something for nothing, or they expect immediate return on effort. This is a lifetime commitment. We've got to stay involved."

Morton Blackwell said that elections are won by superior strategies, using "political technology," which can be broken down to "organizational technology" and "communication technology."

Blackwell proceeded with the Christian Coalition scheme of getting thousands of conservative Christians involved at the grassroots level. He stated that through this method, over time, they will eventually control the political process.

He outlined a 15-step strategy for effective involvement in a political party. His suggestions ranged from volunteering in campaigns and contributing financially to attending party meetings and studying the party rules. He warned not to push for party office, as that would create suspicion. Turnover is rapid in most party machines, and Blackwell said that if you work hard at small tasks you will soon be asked to serve in a greater capacity.

© 1998 Institute for First Amendment Studies, Inc.