I think we can all agree that the NHGOP is failing and needs new leadership. Chairman Stepanek and Vice Chairman Tucker are not seeking re-election, which has opened the field to a variety of new candidates, with more likely forthcoming.
As a state committee member, I’m considering my options based on the following criteria: fundraising capabilities, messaging and marketing plans, strategy ideas, and vision for youth outreach.
Notice I have not included any political ideals. Party leadership does not need to closely agree with my personal politics because they do not create governmental policy. In fact, I’m not sure I want to know what their specific political views are because I want leaders to be neutral. To win, the NHGOP must be a big tent organization and leaders cannot alienate any faction of the party. My biggest issue with current leadership is their lack of impartiality. Leaders should not get involved in day-to-day politics of the state and should remain neutral to all Republicans.
It’s no secret that the NHGOP was massively outspent by the NHDP. I have sat back and tried to figure out where the Democrats are getting their seemingly unlimited quantities of money, and while it might be through fraudulent means like FTX or some Ukrainian money-laundering scheme, the fact remains that we cannot win if we are outspent 20-1, as in the US Senate race. This is not something I’m personally good at, so I don’t have the answers, but I need to hear some type of vision for how to get the money.
MESSAGING AND MARKETING
The Democrats aren’t campaigning the way they used to. They aren’t taking the swing voter lists that we all have and creating nice messages about their plans for the future. They are marketing to new voters, or those I refer to as the “garbage can” voters. There has always been a large group of people that don’t vote. They tend to be apolitical, have zero political or economic knowledge, but Democrats have made them come out to vote more and more each election. Democrats employ a single message, not multiple messages, to this group of people. The message is not what the Democrats will do, but an attack against the other side, leaving Republicans constantly on the ropes, in defense mode. This year, it was “Republicans want to ban abortion”. This is a brilliant message because it’s not a lie. Republicans DO want to ban abortion; it’s in the platform. They have no practical plans to do so, but that’s too subtle a concept for this group of voters. We need our message to be an attack against the other side in the same manner. It needs to create a visceral response, and it needs to be simple, with enough truth in it.
From my observations, Democrats had a sophisticated ground game. They had observers in many districts marking off voters as they arrived, and teams ready to deploy and pull voters out as the day went on. In other states, they have employed elaborate means of taking advantage of early and mail in voting. While both of those options were illegal in NH this past election cycle, they still aggressively pushed absentee voting and same day registration. Republicans find this distasteful because it feels unethical. I agree with the sentiment, and I hope to change laws in the future to tighten this up, but we cannot wait for that day to come. We must fight fire with fire. Republicans have had this defeatist mentality that elections are fraudulent, and they sit around and cry about it. I’m not saying zero illegal activity occurs, but it’s the unethical behavior, such as pushing same day registration, absentee voting, mail in voting, and early voting that is flipping elections in the left’s favor. I want NHGOP leadership to not only understand this, but be able to articulate it to the base and have a plan to do the same thing, so we don’t continue to lose. We cannot govern if we cannot win.
It is clear from exit polls nationally that Gen Z destroyed the red wave. I argue that the likely swing voters did break for us over the economy, just as polling suggested. But pollsters can’t poll those who don’t usually vote, and the 18-30 crowd doesn’t usually vote. Estimates suggest that the 2022 election was the second highest voter turnout for this age group in the last three decades. The reality is that the NHGOP completely ignored this group. I shockingly found out that the NHGOP doesn’t even have a list of the College Republican chapters in this state. You know that the NHDP not only has such a list, but they also have that group mobilized. Republicans laughed when Biden invited Tik Tok influencers to the White House, but we shouldn’t laugh; we should be doing the same thing. Tik Tok and Instagram are where the kids hang and NHGOP has obligatory accounts, but they don’t use them in any way to reach outside of their own echo chamber. I want to hear a serious social media strategy and a concrete plan to engage Gen Z from any NHGOP leadership candidate.
In short, a simple “I’ve been around and have experience” isn’t a good sell for my vote for NHGOP leadership. Your “experience” is likely from an outdated playbook. I know these are usually volunteer positions, but they are critical positions, and I am desperately hoping to see innovation and inspiration.
Melissa Blasek is a lifelong resident of New Hampshire. She has a background in music and operates a small business as a music instructor in voice, guitar, piano, at her home in Merrimack. She is a former State Representative
Do something about out of state college students voting here. Unless that is solved the rest of it won’t matter much.