The ability of the North Star to influence and implement reforms is dependent on our organizational skills and our ability to execute and deliver. Our strength is that we’re organized by neighborhoods, villages, towns, cities, counties, states and nationally. We are a true grass roots organization, with local members working with their neighbors to get our candidates elected. The county and state North Star organizations have the responsibility to endorse local candidates and work for them if they endorse the North Star pledge.
We start at a local level by starting a weekly North Star meeting. The prime reason for a weekly meeting is to get North Star endorsed candidates elected. Weekly meeting members will make phone calls, stuff envelopes, do doors with candidates, publish idea and policy pieces, write letters and op eds, make signs and organize, organize, organize. All North Star organizations are responsible for creating and maintaining the North Star Voter Data Base and the North Star Mailing List.
Meetings can cover such subjects as political issues, local, national, and international; social issues; crime, poverty, corruption, etc. You may wish to discuss books and articles that you’ve read, or invite organizations to speak. Participants of the weekly meetings might be involved in community action projects and align the meeting with other groups that might coalesce around mutual issues. Weekly meeting leaders report to the county, state, and national meetings to inform, promote, or share issues or concerns. Republicans and Democrats meet once a month, think of what we can accomplish if we meet once a week! Don't forget, our primary mission is to get North Star endorsed candidates elected.
Activists must assume many roles:
Candidates must be identified and convinced to run. To create a candidate from scratch is no small feat. If existing candidates can be convinced to take the pledge then your jobs are a lot easier. The size and robustness of your organization should be enough to convince a candidate that your endorsement is valuable. If your organization has experienced activists then your job is a little easier. Your candidate, if new, will need a manager and treasurer. Make sure that these folks are up to speed on your state’s campaign laws.
Then there is the "business person,"someone who has been successful (or not), and wants to apply those skills in the legislative arena. Those hierarchical experiences usually don't translate well when communicative, collaborative, and cooperative skills are needed.
You and your candidate will have to work very hard to get elected. You probably won’t have a lot of wealthy donors and certainly not many corporate donors. That means you have to schedule many “meet and greats”, “door to doors” and community events and parades. You'll have to run ads in the newspaper and on the radio. Make sure that your candidate has "palm cars' to hand out to potential voters.Retail politics is what works on the grass roots level. You’ll want to “fire up” your supporters to get out the vote. What you have working for you is that you have issues that will motivate hearts and minds as well as true believers. This platform has legs and can appeal to voters across the spectrum. We call it progressive populism!
You might want to sponsor special events that will showcase your candidate. Cocktail parties, house parties and events where there other North Star candidates are great venues. Use guerrilla marketing strategies to advance your candidate as money will not always be there.
Nothing beats a strong get out the vote on Election Day. Make sure that your organization is working on all cylinders on this day. If your candidate wins, have a great party then inform them that you’ll be holding their feet to the fire to ensure that they advance the platform of the North Star. If they don’t perform, withdraw your endorsement and find a new candidate. If your candidate loses and they were a good candidate, convince them to run again. They can take advantage of all of your work this year to get them name recognition. They’ll have that and a lot more confidence next time. Get a “farm team” of potential candidates who will rise to the occasion when called upon. If you need help, North Star Central stands ready to assist you and your organization. We have held positions on national, state wide, and local campaigns and have a wealth of experience to offer you.