In our latest members' email, we encouraged members to sign and send a letter to a state representative encouraging her committee to take up our election integrity legislation.
I received this response from a member:
I'm told that sending form letters is not as effective as doing your own... In the past, these forms are just tossed out... It seems the Pols prefer your own words.... And, it is a form of spam. So, just copy, paste, reword your own way and send off.
She has a kind heart, and I know where she's coming from.
But this is incorrect.
And it's actually one of the big myths in politics, perpetuated by the politicians themselves.
Notice how it benefits politicians for people to think they don't care about "form letters." Many people don't have the time to write a personal letter. Some people aren't confident in their mastery of an issue, or their writing skills in general.
If every constituent had to write a personal letter, politicians would get fewer letters. They like it that way. They don't want to be troubled to respond. They don't want to be "pressured" by the will of their constituents. They want to be on voters' minds as little as possible.
Writing a letter to a politician isn't about changing their minds or pulling their heartstrings. If a politician isn't already motivated to do the right thing, it isn't because he (or she) doesn't know it's the right thing.
Politicians are, with few exceptions, motivated by their own ambitions. Those in tough districts are desperate for re-election. Those who aren't are desperate to make sure they maintain (or reclaim) the majority, and want to lead their caucus or run for higher office.
When a politician receives a "form letter" from 100 constituents, how does that compare to 100 personal letters on the same issue?
It's exactly the same. It's 100 concerned constituents.
Not only does it not matter whether it was a personal letter or a "form letter" -- the form letter is actually more powerful.
Because the "form letter" sent by lots of people is lots of people, with an organization behind them.
An organization with a list.
An organization that might contact that list again, should the politician do the wrong thing.
When politicians get letters from angry voters on any given issue, the most important question to them is: How many people are mad about this?
The "form letter" makes it easier to give them a truer figure.
Sign those petitions, folks. The politicians in Lansing are counting the signatures.
Hundreds of parents showed up to the Vail School Board meeting to demand the board make masks optional. The board didn't want to hear it so they walked out of the meeting before it even began. So the parents, under Robert's Rules of Order, voted in a new school board. Then, the new members voted to end the mask requirement in Vail Schools. The old school board members revealed exactly who they are and that includes GOP LD 10 Chairman, Chris King.
You can watch the full video of the meeting at the link above.
This is not the end of the story, of course. A legal battle will ensue. The cowardly school board members will not relinquish their titles without a fight. But the parents won't back down, either. They need to turn up in even greater numbers next time.
This is the power of people when they organize locally. Every local school board meeting should be like this.
In Rochester Hills, Michigan, the school board is attacking the parents who are exposing their misconduct. The parents are now working to recall four of its members. I hope they succeed. Recalls are extremely difficult in Michigan, but even if they don't get enough signatures, they can grow an organization around this and run candidates in the next cycle.
This is how a movement grows. Get people engaged, and get them involved in a worthwhile political fight.
Defending the rights of children is a very worthwhile fight.
Of the 506 signatures sampled, 434 or 86% were determined to be valid, the bureau said Monday. The result led the staff to estimate about 460,358 signatures of the total 538,345 submitted were valid. Unlock Michigan needed 340,047 signatures to obtain certification.
The Board of State Canvassers will take up the measure on Thursday, April 22.
The opposition group "Keep Michigan Safe" (Keep Whitmer Dictator would be an honest name) whined that the Bureau of Elections report ignored "90% of our many procedural and substantive challenges" and promised to "make our case to the Board of Canvassers and the courts to stop this ill-conceived and irresponsible petition drive."
Which reminds me: What ever happened to the Attorney General investigating the fake signatures that opposition operatives planted?
Next to boxes of valid petitions, a lone box sits off to the side...
It bears to photo of the left-wing operative that attempted to poison the Unlock Michigan campaign...
On September 28, 2020, sociopath Attorney General Dana Nessel announced that, as usual, her office would be opening a criminal investigation into an organization whose cause she disagrees with.
Unlock Michigan identified the operative that organized the hit job and, after delivering their 537,000 petitions to the Secretary of State, delivered the box of his signatures to the Attorney General.
And that was the last we heard of it.
I doubt we will ever hear about it again.
But it was my privilege to serve as Washtenaw County Coordinator for this great undertaking, and if nobody else leads the call for "Unlock Part 2," to end the governor's last remaining lifeline to dictatorship, the Health Code, count me in.
State Representative John Reilly discusses how an ordinary Joe became a state representative. Before becoming State Rep, his local group took over their township board and put a stop to lots of bad policy.
And then they helped him become their representative for 90 thousand people in the state legislature.
It involved getting like-minded people together and knocking on some doors.
Rep. Reilly is the proof of the power that citizens can have when they organize locally.
Last night, the Washtenaw County Republican Party hosted Ken Matiyow, former campaign manager and legislative staffer for Jack Brandenburg, a former lawmaker who served for 14 years in the Michigan legislature – the fullest term possible under Michigan term limits.
Brandenburg, a Republican, was first elected to the House in a district that hadn't been represented by a Republican since 1942.
Consisting mostly of Saint Clair Shores, the district consistently elected and re-elected left-wing Democrat Sander Levin to Congress, from 1983 until his retirement in 2018, when he was replaced by his son.
Republicans seldom compete in "Democrat strongholds," but Jack Brandenburg was determined, and Ken Matiyow discovered the winning formula.
The major issue that year, according to conventional wisdom, was the Single Business Tax. Knocking on doors, Matiyow was giving the usual pitch, until one day shortly after the NAACP had its convention in Detroit. All of the candidates for governor – Jennifer Granholm, David Bonior, and James Blanchard – attended the event, and each pledged support for "reparations": government quite literally robbing citizens of their money to give to black people, ostensibly to atone for slavery, which was abolished in 1865.
It was probably nothing more than the usual identity-politics pandering that dominates left-wing politics, but Matiyow found it interesting enough that he asked for, and received, Brandenburg's permission to experiment with the issue in his door-to-door work.
The response was stunning: The first day he began discussing the topic with voters, he placed 30 Brandenburg signs in people's yards.
The Brandenburg campaign found a winning issue, and created a campaign piece on the topic. Brandenburg became the first Republican to win the district in 60 years.
There are two lessons here. The obvious lesson is that political consultants are poor judges of winning issues. Consultants routinely advise politicians to avoid the issue of immigration, despite the fact the huge majority of the public opposes it.
Consider the 2014 referendum in Oregon on Measure 88. Oregon is, by all accounts, a left-wing state. Yet when voters were asked to approve the measure to grant driver licenses to illegal aliens, voters rejected the proposal by 2 to 1.
Rejecting giving driver licenses to illegal aliens was more popular in Oregon than legalizing marijuana, the incumbent governor, and the incumbent senator.
Last year, California voters said no to "affirmative action," another proposal to grant special privileges to particular minorities over everyone else, despite the forces supporting the proposal outspending the opposition 14 to 1.
The very issues that the "experts" tell Republican politicians to avoid seem to be the very same issues that actually resonate with voters.
But the more important lesson is to the power of knocking on doors.
But here we see it's also critical for identifying the best issues to campaign on.
When you go out and talk to 30 voters or so, you get valuable insight into what issues really motivate people. You can test an issue out on a small number of people, and see what works.
You'll also likely identify like-minded people worth connecting with and inviting to meetings.
It really is incredibly effective, and often becomes fun once you get over the initial apprehension about doing it.
But as Ken Matiyow noted, too many conservatives are just too chicken to do it.
"We talk a good game at our own events," he noted, "But then we freeze up at the notion of going out and actually advocating for our beliefs with strangers."
This is why conservatives are losing in the long run. We allow the radical left to present their morally obscene ideas as perfectly normal, and ours as "hateful."
Knocking on doors is the best, and possibly the only, way to change this paradigm.
Matiyow made this important the media: all the media combined only reach a few million voters, in a nation of 128 million of them. The huge majority of people aren't watching the media.
But if every passionate patriot reached out to just a couple hundred people every few years, we would be winning everywhere.
He noted the incredible political shift that just happened in Ontario, Canada.
For 15 years, the socialist Ontario Liberal Party was the most powerful political party in the province. Prior to 2018 the party won every election since the beginning of the 21st century and governed the province for the previous 15 years.
In 2018, conservative leader Doug Ford ran a Trump-style populist campaign. The socialists lost all but 7 seats in the legislature. It was the worst defeat for a party in provincial history.
40% of Canada's population lives in Ontario. This defeat was the equivalent of New York, California, Massachusetts, Illinois, and Minnesota turning from Democrat to Republican in one election.
It can be done. Socialism, which is the true platform of the Democrat Party, is unpopular on its face when voters understand what policies it actually advocates, and disastrous in its practice.
We can win everything back in 2022.
If – and only if – we find the resolve to get out and knock on doors.
As I said in the first column in this Grassroots Leadership series, the question I get asked more than anything else is, "What can I do?"
People aren't asking for generalities about effective leadership. They're asking for clear instructions.
In the first two columns I discussed what is generally effective (grassroots organizing) and what is not (volunteering on a campaign or trying to educate the public).
Now it's time to get into the nuts and bolts of grassroots leadership.
Maybe you are already involved in a grassroots group and are looking to change its direction. Maybe you run a grassroots group, but are asking "what should we focus on?"
I will cover these in a future column.
In this column, I want to discuss starting from scratch. Let's say you have no local liberty organization, or none you're aware of.
Sadly, this is the case for most people. This is why liberty is losing.
We need local organizations in every city and township. And every city and township has more than enough people to start an effective organization.
Where do you start? The very first step is bringing people together.
You Need To Organize A Meeting
Not online. In the real world.
There are three huge problems with meeting online.
The first is that all politics is local, and by meeting online, you're already tempting yourself to bring in people that don't live anywhere near you.
The group you want to create will be going out into the real world, to bring more people together and to create political impact in your area. This isn't going to work if your group members are far-flung and aren't going to be able to work together in the real world.
Second, online meetings are hugely dysfunctional by their nature. Any meeting with a substantial number of people is going to have a substantial number of technical difficulties. You'll also have problems with people being inattentive and minding what's going on around them instead of paying attention to the business of the group. You will have problems with group organization. Either a group leader will control who can speak and who is muted, which can often put off participants, or it becomes a free-for-all where people talk over each other and nobody can hear anything.
Third, meeting online will never have the human component of bringing people together to talk and socialize, and this is a critical component, especially if you're getting people together for the first time.
Local political groups die when members don't feel like they're forming a community. The social aspect of a meeting is critical.
When every real-world meeting ends, people hang out and chat. This is how relationships are formed. This is often when, after someone at the meeting announces he or she wants to do something, another person or more volunteer to help. Before the evil lockdowns, people would often migrate to a restaurant to discuss matters further, and begin laying plans.
When an online meeting ends, everyone is immediately cut off. There is no immediate follow-up in a more relaxed setting.
Online meetings do not work, period.
If you have the technology and want to offer an online alternative for your meetings, where people can "watch" the real-life meeting from home and possibly comment over a PA system, that's fine.
But you cannot rely on an online format. It will not be successful.
You need a real-world location.
Getting People Together
Before we discuss when and where to meet, let's first discuss how the heck you find like-minded people to invite, because this will actually make these other tasks much easier.
Finding a good meeting location is difficult in these times. Normal places like restaurants and public buildings are shut down. If you can first find people with a desire to get together and meet, there's a likelihood one of them has a heated pole barn or an office, or knows someone with a suitable meeting space.
How are you going to find like-minded citizens to invite to your meeting?
It is time to take your very first step. It is time to create your list.
The list is the backbone of every effective political organization. Whether it's a township group or a presidential campaign, the list is the foundation.
Be organized and create a spreadsheet (or a database, if you know how). I'll discuss list-building in more depth in a future column, but for now, just create columns for first name, last name, email, phone, address, and city. (Make sure you put first and last names into separate columns. Trust me; you'll regret it if you only use one column for name.)
The first people is to add like-minded people you know personally that live in your city or township, or close enough to be worth inviting. Hopefully, you have at least a few people you can think of. These are your friends, coworkers, and fellow church-goers. Even if you have no particular relationship with them, if you know they share your politics, put them on the list.
Your objective is to build the biggest list you can.
Now it's time to find some new people.
It isn't as hard as you might think.
Take a look around your neighborhood. Depending on where you live, you might just walk, or it might be easier to drive.
Get a map and survey your neighborhood, including all of the side streets and cul de sacs. You're almost certain to find people who still have Trump signs or flags in their yards. You'll see "Don't Tread On Me" flags.
But don't just look for the telltale signs.
As you go from house to house, notice how many homes' appearances tell a story.
Children's toys in the yard tell you the family has young children or grandchildren. Signs for so-and-so and the sports team tells you they have middle or high school children at home.
You'll see fishing boats, sports cars, religious symbols, and all kinds of other clues to the family's lifestyle.
Some communities are more outgoing than others. If you come up with little information, try again at another time on another day. You'll see different cars with different bumper stickers. You'll see open garages that were closed before.
You'll learn something. And you will find some households that practically scream "Trump supporter."
Write down those addresses. Put them on your list.
And then you must do what is extremely hard to do for the first time: knock on their doors.
If the house is obviously a Republican household, you might say:
"Hey, I like your yard sign. I'm Adam; I live around the corner. I'm a Trump supporter too. I'm looking to get some neighbors together and start a group. Something that's part social club, part trying to figure out what we can do to help people see what's going on."
I know how hard it is to talk to strangers for the first time. Start with these houses, where it's very likely you're talking to a friend. But if the person at the door gives you a cold "no thanks", you just have to accept that some people are like that, and move on to the next door.
Summoning the nerve to knock on the first door is the hardest step. With every door, it gets easier.
Depending on your community, you might come up with other creative ways to find people to invite to your meeting.
I recently chatted with a business owner whose business has a high percentage of Trump supporters. I recommended this process, until I remembered he lives in Ann Arbor, a city dominated by Marxists where conservatives live in fear of expressing their opinions. He would be unlikely to find anyone with a Trump sign in the yard.
But having made the recommendation, it suddenly occurred to him:
"I get lots of Trump supporters in here every day! I'll just start up a list!" He whipped out a pad and wrote at the top: "MAGA Supporter Group Sign Up!"
In the past four years, the guy never thought to build a list of Trump supporters. In two weeks he will have dozens of people's phone numbers and emails.
In a normal world, a restaurant, library, or town hall would be suitable, but in this postmodern hellscape, you'll have to be more creative.
You may find a church willing to host your group. You should certainly ask.
You may find somebody with an office or other space they will allow you to use. If they offer you the space, you need to make sure they understand and accept the risk, because you cannot allow them to cancel after you begin promoting your meeting.
If you promote the meeting in a public way, it may draw the attention of the left-wing mob. If your host is sensitive to public pressure, he might cancel your meeting. (It won't help him; the mob only reacts to placation with increased hostility. But he won't know that.)
On the other hand, if you only invite people to the meeting that you know you can trust, negative publicity is very unlikely. And if the host is a MAGA supporter, he may not care what the left says or does about it.
But before you choose a meeting location on private property, you need to make sure the host understands the risks and is willing to take them.
In the non-winter seasons, a park may suffice as a meeting location. You can probably use a pavilion without a reservation, as very few people are using them these days anyway.
Finally, you might have a meeting at someone's home, if it meets all the proper considerations. First, it must have enough space. Second, the host must be comfortable with bringing in strangers. Some people have enough space and amenities to host a meeting in the garage or pole barn
Whatever you come up with, it has to be something, and you may have to settle for the best option among those with shortcomings.
But find a meeting place, you must.
Time and Format
Next you must set a date and time. I recommend a weeknight, 2 to 3 weeks in the future. You need to give yourself time to invite people.
As I will discuss the next column, regular meetings should be only one hour in duration. But the first meeting may need to be a little longer.
Your first meeting is going to be mostly about people getting to know each other a little. You'll want to allow everyone a few minutes to introduce themselves. Your first meeting might go 90 minutes, or even two hours. But it shouldn't be longer than that.
Any weeknight is fine, even Fridays, since people aren't going out these days. Start sometime between 6:30 and 8:00pm.
Preparing For The Meeting
Once you have a time and location, begin to invite people.
Don't just kick out an email. Call people to follow up. Get their commitment to attend.
Make sure you create a sign-in sheet. I recommend making a sheet in "landscape" orientation (11 inches wide on the page) with little gray squares instead of blank lines to encourage people to write neatly. Include fields for name, email, phone number, and zip code.
You'll want a clipboard and pens for the sign-in sheet. Make sure the host puts out chairs. I don't recommend serving food, because it is distracting, but offering water or coffee is a nice touch.
Now you have everything you need to organize your first meeting.
What are you going to do at your meeting? Stay tuned for my next column.
In my first column in this series, we looked at why the main entryways for concerned citizens into politics -- getting involved in campaigns, or trying to educate the public -- lead to dead ends.
In this column, we will look at what is effective.
First, we need to debunk one of the core myths of politics: that once elected, politicians don't care what their constituents think.
On the contrary, most politicians live in constant fear of alienating their constituents. Many seats in the legislature are won and lost by just a few percentage points. Congressmen and Michigan state representatives are up for re-election every two years. Senators have a little more leeway with four-year terms in Michigan and six years in the U.S. Senate, but they too must be careful.
Even in what we call "safe seats" -- seats where the baseline is so high for one party or the other that the seat is unlikely to be "flipped" in the near future -- those politicians worry constantly about "losing majority." They want to raise money for the caucus to spend in more fragile seats, for the sake of majority (and for plum committee assignments, which are awarded to those that raise the most money).
The result of this is that politicians are motivated by real-world pressure. They want to avoid political pain (e.g. angry voters), and maximize political pleasure (e.g. money).
"Education" does not transfer to real-world consequences for politicians. This is especially true for "education" over the Internet, because politics is so geographical.
Here's a concrete example. Today, two Republican congressmen from Michigan, Fred Upton and Peter Meijer, voted to impeach President Trump, who leaves office in less than seven days.
It was a reprehensible vote. It was not just a slap in the face of the Trump-supporting Republicans that elected them, it was a betrayal of the entire American constitutional system.
President Trump would have been wise to have placed far greater emphasis on encouraging demonstrators to be peaceful prior to the event. But nothing he actually said on January 6 encouraged violence or criminal behavior in any way. It was completely protected speech, and to impeach the President on these grounds was a gross abuse of the Constitution.
It also provided ammunition to the Democrats to abuse the Constitution again and again, having legitimized politically-motivated impeachment.
Explaining this to people by posting it on the Internet would be a form of education.
But what will be the real-world consequences for Rep. Upton and Rep. Meijer?
Peter Meijer just took office two weeks ago. He won office by less than six percentage points. If just 11 percent of his voters decide to stay home in 2022, or vote 3rd party, he loses his seat.
If a strong candidate emerges to challenge him in the 2022 Republican primary election, there's a good chance he loses his seat to a Republican challenger, who can make the credible argument to primary voters that if Meijer is even nominated for a second term, his betrayal of the Republican base will cost the party the seat altogether.
Even if he survives the challenge, the money and resources he will spend defending himself is money he doesn't have for the general election, and certainly doesn't have to share with the caucus. Which means he doesn't get the committee assignments he wants.
All of this is intense pain for a politician.
This is why real-world grassroots leadership is so important. Voters in Texas can't do anything about Peter Meijer. Activists in Meijers' district can. If angry voters organize, they could recruit a primary challenger. Educating people on the Internet won't accomplish this. It takes people getting together and forming a plan to deliver maximum pain, to send a strong message to the new congressman that there will be a severe punishment for bad behavior.
Meijer is especially vulnerable because his name is on a massive business across the Midwest, owned by his father and uncle. If activists begin a #BoycottMeijer campaign, the blowback to his vote to attack the President, the Constitution, and his constituents will be economic and personal as well as political.
This is how politicians learn what boundaries they can and cannot cross with their base. How well they learn is proportional to how much political damage they take. Maximum pressure produces maximum results.
This is why grassroots leadership -- the real-world organizing of people to have real-world consequences for the political class -- is so critical.
Education alone won't do it. Complaining on the Internet won't do it. (Although I certainly encourage you to do your part to get #BoycottMeijer trending!)
What ultimately changes public policy, and the composition of the legislature itself, is grassroots movements.
The left has understood this, and that is why today's Democrat party is so radical. They have systematically targeted the moderates, and replaced them with hard-core leftists.
When Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, or ("AOC") defeated incumbent Joe Crowley in the Democrat primary of 2018, she damaged the Democrats severely. Crowley was the chair of the House Democrat Caucus. He was their top fundraiser after Nancy Pelosi herself.
But the Democrats got the message: there is no place for moderates in their party.
That's the message the grassroots must send to every RINO in Washington and in Lansing.
AOC had no qualification to be a member of Congress. But she was a "community organizer," just like former President Obama had been.
Community organization works for the left, but tactics are ideologically neutral. They work just as well for both sides.
This is why grassroots leadership is so essential. It really is what ultimately shapes the circumstances that create political and policy outcomes.
Want to save America? Then you must get involved at the grassroots level.
In the next column, I'll begin discussing how to do so.
The most common question newly-interested concerned citizens ask me is: "What can I do?"
This is the first of an ongoing series of columns dedicated to the nuts and bolts of effective political action. I intend the series to start at the very beginning: Where do you start if you have no experience, no leader to turn to, nothing but a newly-ignited passion to defend and restore liberty?
From there, each column will progress through the process of developing an effective local organization that can control the local political environment and significantly impact that of the state.
But before getting into the procedural details, it's important to explain some fundamentals.
Ask a member of the political class, "What can I do?" and you'll almost certainly be told: "Get involved in a campaign. They'll show you the ropes."
The first problem with this advice is that many campaigns, especially high-level campaigns such as for governor or congressman, are run by lazy consultants that have no clue what to do with volunteers. They are more interested in raising money, spending it on advertising, and (often unbeknownst to the candidate) making a handsome commission on the ad buys.
If the volunteer isn't tasked with mindless work like stuffing envelopes, he'll be given a phone or door-to-door app where he's asked to robotically read a candidate survey and report the results--which are usually "not home", "bad number", or "refused survey."
(I use the old-fashioned "he" but I mean both sexes.)
The volunteer will soon tire of performing what feel like worthless tasks. Being emotionally invested in the campaign, however, he already has "skin in the game" and will soon answer the campaign's requests for financial support.
If the candidate loses, the volunteer's time and money is lost, with no lessons learned and no meaningful relationships established. Soured by the experience, the volunteer decides he's done his duty and moves on with his life.
If the candidate wins, what happens next is often worse: The candidate the volunteer believed to be Joe Goodguy turns into Senator Twoface.
(Why is this so common? I'll explain in a future column, but if you can't wait, pick up a copy of the essential book, What Makes You Think We Read The Bills? by the Senator H.L. Richardson, from whom I borrowed the funny names. It's explained in Chapter 12. Senator Richardson passed away last year. The conservative movement lost a master strategist as well as a delightful writer.)
At this point, the volunteer will either throw up his hands in frustration, or become an excuse-maker for the politician's bad behavior. Instead of imposing his will on the political establishment, he becomes a servant of the political establishment.
The concerned citizen set out by asking the political establishment what to do, and the political establishment's answer proved totally self-serving. The concerned citizen set out to defend his values, and in the end was taken for a sucker.
Occasionally, a volunteer demonstrates enough talent and enthusiasm that the campaign offers him a job. The pay is almost always lousy. The Republican Party is notoriously abusive to staffers. They are intensely pressured to "produce results," which usually means generating a large quantity of phone calls or knocked doors to report the good numbers to donors. The incentive to make up fictitious results is great.
Ever wonder why so few College Republicans stay involved in the party after they graduate? Ever wonder why Republican Party lists are so inaccurate? Now you know.
Having now covered the political establishment's answer for what you can do, let's examine the other common mistake.
Many people understand intuitively that getting involved with a politician might not be a good idea. But they want to do something, and search themselves for ideas.
What most people come up with is education. "If only more people knew the truth, our side wouldn't be losing."
On the surface, the logic makes sense. We've all developed our own beliefs through some process of education. We think we can replicate that in others. We see the mass media infecting the public with outrageous lies and feel compelled to combat them.
But this thinking has severe problems.
First: Education alone will never achieve certain essential goals for political success. Education will not find the outstanding candidates we need for so many public offices.
Great representatives need a grounding in constitutional and moral principles and the courage to do what is right, even if it is unpopular and even in the face of threats. But they need much more than that. They need the communication skills and charisma to get elected in the first place. They need the time, financial security, and fortitude to run for office without compromising their families.
The right combination is rare, and on top of that, they have to be in the right district at the right time--and be willing to run.
Education will never find quality candidates.
Second: People seeking to "educate the people" aren't the great teachers they think they are and rarely reach the right people.
Most people's idea of education consists of posting or sharing articles on the Internet. Who do they reach? Mostly people whose minds are already made up, on their own side or the opposing side. They're either preaching to the choir, or debating the opposition with nobody watching.
And frankly, few of us are skilled writers or debaters. Mass media personalities are expert propagandists.
Third: Public opinion does not make policy or win elections.
Americans overwhelmingly hate foreign aid, illegal immigration, and tax increases. Has that made any difference? Of course not.
The vast majority of Americans vote for the same political party, Democrat or Republican, no matter who the candidates are. Elections are determined by voter turnout and the small (and shrinking) number of swing voters.
Fourth: Education isn't what shapes public opinion anyhow.
People are not the intellectual creatures we think we are. We are emotional; we rationalize our opinions to fit our emotions.
People respond to social pressure. The left are masters of social pressure. If a conservative points out that welfare programs consistently backfire and encourage ongoing poverty, the liberal responds: "Why do you hate the poor?"
This is why the left doesn't debate the merits of Trump's policies. Republicans tout Trump's accomplishments: record low unemployment, higher personal incomes, extricating us from no-win wars in the Middle East, etc. Democrats don't debate these points; they simply paint him as a racist and sexist.
To sum up: Education doesn't change minds, public opinion doesn't decide elections, and elections don't decide policy.
All of this is not to say education has no role in politics.
But Andrew Breitbart had it right: Politics is downstream from culture.
And even then, culture doesn't change public policy in and of itself.
Now that you know what doesn't work, in the next column I'll discuss what does.