Rand Paul Is Absolutely Right on How to Expand the Tea Party

JedediahVia Jedediah Bila at PolicyMic

At the Tea Party Patriots’ five-year anniversary event in Washington, D.C., Sen. Rand Paul offered some words of advice: “In order for us to be a bigger party, though, we have to reach out to more people, not just those of us here. It has to be a bigger party, it has to be a bigger movement. There are times, and I don’t think it is our movement, but there are times when people are using language that shouldn’t be used. I recently criticized someone for using some of that language, and I’m not going to bring it up, but I will say that we can disagree with the president without calling him names.”

Sounds like a good message to me.

Every politician, commentator, activist, or television host has a decision to make. It’s a personal one that involves answering a simple question for yourself: What is your objective?

Is it to win over new people who aren’t inclined to be open to your message? Is it to grow the voting bloc that stands with you on election days? Is it to rile up those already standing with you or to inspire new thinkers and voters to join your cause?

I would argue that the right approach can do it all.

In the game of politics and elsewhere, I have little time for name-calling. I left that on the playground in middle school and haven’t had use for it since. That approach doesn’t win hearts and minds. It makes you look small, weak, and like you’re reaching for an easy method of attack because you’re not standing on solid policy ground.

It doesn’t inspire converts to your cause.

When it comes to outreach, delivery matters. The way you sell something – your tone, your marketing, and your messaging – can quickly turn a product into the best or worst item on the market. That object or concept can become something that appeals to new eyes and ears or something that makes people turn away in disgust. A good deal of power lies in the messenger’s hands.

So once again, I ask you: What is your objective?

For candidates, in particular, delivery is key. If you can’t sell freedom in a way that gets people to understand its value or can’t clearly articulate a pro-life message without making a ridiculous comment about rape or the female anatomy in the process, then you’re probably in the wrong line of work. Succeeding in politics is partially about strong policy, but it is also about whether or not you can articulate that policy in a way that hits home with a diversity of people.

Can you wrap your policy in an honest, well-presented word package that doesn’t injure or demean its goals? If you can’t, you won’t be changing many hearts and minds. You also won’t be winning many elections.

I am all for robust debate and tough talk on issues. Politicians or activists without passion for the cause at hand, or a commitment to defend that cause, are useless. But elevating the dialogue and keeping childish nonsense like name-calling and yelling out of the equation will only help you in your quest to grow a movement.

As we wake up each day ready to tackle heavy, difficult issues that can sometimes feel quite personal, it serves us well to remember that if the goal is to inspire new listeners, it’s worth taking a moment to think about the way we express our ideas.

The way we approach the things we believe in – our words, our tone, and our delivery –sometimes really does make all the difference.

Follow Jedediah on Twitter @JedediahBila

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8 years ago

Every time someone talks about a “bigger tent”, what they really mean is to compromise your convictions to include people that don’t necessarily agree with you. Compromise is typically a reality that we all deal with everyday, but today compromise means agreeing to Socialist or Communist ideas and programs and “that” is why conservatives are considered so extreme by the Left, because they are not just left, they are Socialists. The ideology that America has been fighting and dying to keep away from our shores, for hundreds of years.

Our real problem is that the establishment Republican Party is the enemy of the people and want to destroy the Tea Party and the Constitution and all it stands for, just as much as the Socialists in our government.

Ron N
8 years ago

The Tea Party is grassroots and should continue to remain that way. The message should always be about freedom. Our desire for freedom will always trump the desires of those who wish to control. It’s a simple message to spread to our neighbors, friends and co-workers. Even our favorite political forums. Leave your message of freedom and let those who desire to control leave there’s, along with their name calling, and let those with common sense make their own decision.

8 years ago

Another very good article.

Diana Erbio
8 years ago

What you say Jedediah makes a lot of sense. I expressed a similar sentiment in my column for AMAC “Remember Who We Are”. Here’s a paragraph from it that goes along with what you have called for.

As Americans we must once again talk to each other in frank, honest terms. We must take the time to really listen and understand. Often we have a lot of commonalities but the way we are communicating is not helpful, each group sticking to its own dogma instead of reaching out to find common ground in our freedoms and opportunities. An interesting e-book, for $1.99 at Amazon, The Three Languages of Politics by Arnold Kling addresses the way we are expressing ourselves these days and ways in which to open up the dialogue and speak to each other instead of past each other. Arnold Kling makes a good point when he says, “I believe we can reduce our level of political anger by better understanding the other languages. You can still carry the belief that you are right, and you do not need to split differences or compromise. However, you should be less inclined to demonize people who speak different political languages.”

8 years ago

Like the Article titled; Rand Paul Is Absolutely Right on How to Expand the Tea Party

There is a lot of us that need to be involved but not quite sure how to do his. Maybe the “TEA PARTY” needs state or county leaders to help jump start this process again very soon.

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