I Went to Chicago to Discover the Future of the GOP

ChicagoOct2013I have reached my limit. I can’t possibly read one more word opining on the impending implosion of the Republican party, the conservative movement or, apparently, free democratic government. If you are looking for yet another article assessing the pre-apocalyptic GOP… this is not it.

The weeping, moaning and gnashing of teeth can be heard throughout the media, the blogosphere and the op-ed pages…  and there exist in these mediums more opinions, strategies and prognostications than the sky has stars. (Or … more than Obama has czars. I almost went with that.

But I’m over it.  I’m over the whining and complaining. In politics, it seems that the “end of the world” seems to come every 3.45 years or so and seems to only switch main characters and buzzwords.

I didn’t get into politics for THIS.

However, I saw the future of the Republican Party this weekend. And I have HOPE.

Hope may seem like a false comfort when a unifying strategy is the medicine we need, but for me, after the weeks I’ve witnessed in Washington, I’ll take hope.

This past weekend I flew to Chicago to teach a class on fundraising as part of the Republican National Committee’s “Getting Ready to Run” series. This was the 2nd of 6 nationwide trainings for female GOP candidates that I’m honored to be participating in over the next few months, and frankly, I’m thrilled that the RNC is investing in a program like this. These types of trainings are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the outreach we must be engaging in.

(Shameless Plug: If you or a Republican woman you know is interested in these trainings, they are a great resource, and please visit: www.gop.com/readytorun to learn more)

These sessions are great opportunities for female Republicans who are interested in seeking public office to learn about the basics of campaigning, grassroots, fundraising, media relations and even social media.

The women teaching the courses are fantastic, and they provide great resources for candidates.  Lisa Camooso Miller, former Communications Director at the RNC and founder of BluePrint Strategies leads a great session on media relations. Serenety Hanley, former Digital Director at the White House and owner of the Social Shack holds a thorough training on social media and the importance of a strong digital presence. Other speakers have included Wisconsin Lieutenant Governor Rebecca Kleefisch, GOP Rising Star and State Representative Marilinda Garcia and RNC Political Director Tiffany Watkins. Its an impressive group and I’m honored to be a part of it.

In these workshops, I’ve met some absolutely amazing women, from strikingly diverse backgrounds: stay-at-home moms who want to run for city council, college students just getting into student government, State Legislators who have run multiple campaigns, first-time candidates for school board and even a few candidates for U.S. Congress!

These sessions reminded me of what I already knew – that the future of the Republican Party starts and ends with better leadership.

Rebecca Kleefisch

Wisconsin Lt. Governor Rebecca Kleefisch speaking to the RNC’s “Ready to Run” meeting in Chicago on October 19, 2013.

We need to inspire, to ignite, to connect with the average voter – something we have unfortunately failed to do in the last two Presidential cycles.  And I strongly believe that type of connection only comes from having more women at the table. Do any of us REALLY think that if more women held office in the House of Representatives that the government shutdown would have reached such a ridiculous impasse? If nothing else, women have shown a stronger ability to compromise and work in a bipartisan fashion than men (Read: Time Magazine – Are Women the Only Adults Left in Washington?) in other debates.

Seeing these strong conservative women at these sessions gave me hope. Hope that we have the ability to connect with female voters across the country, but we cannot continue to ignore their power and hope they jump on our “jobs and economy” message.

Voters choose their candidate based on their ability to connect with them. They have to identify with that candidates story, their background, their message.

This weekend I saw the future of the Republican party.  

I’m more convinced than ever that we have a bright future ahead of us, so long as we nurture the inspiring female candidates who want to be a part of it. 


Questions, comments or feedback? Leave them below or tweet Kirsten at @kborman! 





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