All politics is local.
That phrase has been bandied around the United States for 90 years or more.
According to PoliEngine, there are about 520,000 elected offices in the United States, and 96% of them are county and local offices. This means nearly one in every 20 citizens is a politician.
The Covid-19 pandemic helped further expose the meaning of the phrase. Even the iron first of a totalitarian government must rely on state and local governments. It wasn’t only the federal government of the United States that shut down the nation. It was the state and local governments. Sure, there was plenty of incentive and coercion from Washing DC, but your governor showed far more actual power than the president. Even so, when the mandate to close businesses came down from governor’s offices, it was still county and local offices that had to do the work.
For example, closing stubborn restaurants or salons fell on the shoulders of local health departments. Further, local police and county sheriffs were expected to enforce every mandate governors issued. Fortunately, in some localities, sheriffs refused. Some of us were lucky enough to have elected a sheriff who understands that their oath of office is to the US Constitution first. Some officials understand that according to Thomas Jefferson in the Declaration of Independence, the government’s primary job is to protect our rights.
School board meetings were another example in the Wuhan Flu spotlight. All across our Republic, local school boards were expected to follow CDC guidelines that didn’t make any sense to many parents. Those parents objected at their school board meetings. The federal government couldn’t actually do anything about the parents, so they attempted to label them terrorists. Nonetheless, it was the local school board that had the power in the situation.
The federal government wanted a complete shutdown. Some state governments wanted a complete shutdown. The actual level of shutdown varied greatly from county to county and town to town. The government closest to the people may or may not govern best, but Government closest to the people is certainly the easiest to influence.
There are a couple of ways this knowledge is helpful. Consider a public official who is performing so poorly that a majority of constituents don’t approve. If it is a local office, you simply need to organize your neighbors to remove the official. Learn the process from your county election office. Most likely, collect some signatures and file the petition. If that poor performer is at the federal level the amount of influence and bureaucracy involved makes removal next to impossible. Whereas removal of a state-level official falls between the simple and nearly
Also, consider vacancies. Offices declared vacant in local elections are disappointingly common. The last municipal election in the South Ward of Bellefonte, Pennsylvania had three positions with no candidate at all. Two of those three positions were declared vacant by the county election office. That is two vacancies in just one of four wards in one small town. There are over 35,000 municipalities in the United States. There are likely tens of thousands of elected offices vacant at any point. Therein lies the opportunity in the situation. Every office has a procedure to fill vacancies. If real power rests at the local level as described above, then reason dictates there is great importance in every local office.
In Pennsylvania, when a Constable position is vacant for example, the process is simple. The county court appoints a constable when presented with a petition of ten or more signatures of local voters. So it is surprising that at any given time there are 1,000 constable vacancies in Pennsylvania. I use the constable as a mere example for that is exactly what I did. Seeing the importance of the position, I sought and obtained an appointment to Pennsylvania State Constable.
Another example is election day poll workers. There are usually three elected positions for each ward within a municipality. These are jobs that only require two days of work per year. With election integrity being such a contentious issue recently, you would expect every political party would run candidates in every precinct for every job related to elections. Often there is no candidate for these offices.
Could it be that big party politics forgot that little fish feed the big fish?
Regardless of your political ideology or affiliation, you can make a difference. If you feel the government has gone too far to one side or the other you can be part of the solution. With 2022 in our sights, and 2024 not far off, the GOP would be wise to ensure conservatives get involved on this level. Imagine how the current vacancies might have fueled the Big Cheat, and then ask yourself if you can spare two days a year.
If you are smart about it, you can take office without being a candidate or managing a political campaign. Contact your county election office to find out what positions are vacant. Then ask if they know how the position will be filled. The election office may know the process, but even if they don’t, it will only take a little research to get the ball rolling.
It’s a power play neither party has considered thus far. But conservatives should start thinking outside the box. Because if you continue to do what you’ve always done. you will continue to get what you’ve always got. And for the right, it’s not a lot.
~Peter Serefine, Liberty Lighthouse