During the first weekend of December, more than 100 activists from 19 states descended on FreedomWorks headquarters for our post-election Fly-In. FreedomWorks President and CEO Matt Kibbe began the weekend by thanking the audience for showing the resolve to keep fighting for liberty in spite of disappointing results on Election Day.
Kibbe remarked that “November 7th was always going to be more important than November 6th,” because the response to Election Day is more significant than the results of the election itself. “By showing up today,” Kibbe continued, “you have already passed the test.” While many on the left expect the Freedom Movement to dissipate, the attendance and enthusiasm at the Fly-In presented a bright outlook for the policy fights of 2013.
Graphic Designer Matt Battaglia led a presentation on branding and messaging. He spoke about the importance of creating a fresh, memorable brand – pointing to the Obama campaign as an example of successful branding. The panel expanded into a broader discussion of how conservatives can better communicate their core values. Being able to create and defend a popular brand is a key challenge for the Freedom Movement in the coming years.
To help put November’s election results in better perspective, Vice President of Development David Kirby compared the performance of establishment Republican candidates to those candidates endorsed by FreedomWorks. Contrary to reports from the mainstream media, true fiscal conservative Senate candidates ran approximately 4% stronger than their establishment Republican counterparts. Kirby’s presentation dispelled the false myth that conservatives should moderate their beliefs and capitulate to progressives.
On Sunday’s minority outreach panel, Deneen Borelli, Kevin Jackson, and Ana Puig discussed how fiscal conservatives can combat stereotypes used to denigrate the Freedom Movement. Instead of focusing on racial politics, conservatives should promote the American dream – a concept with universal appeal. The youth outreach panel urged for the inclusion of the so-called Ron Paul Millenials – young libertarians who traditionally have been unable to find a viable political party.
During a workshop on new media, activists learned how to make use of the latest social media capabilities that are playing a crucial role in forming coalitions. FreedomWorks’ array of technologies such as FreedomConnector, Facebook, and Twitter allow for instant news sharing and mobilization. Activists were trained on how to take full advantage of these tools in order to achieve political objectives.
Matt Kibbe closed out the weekend with a stirring address, explaining that FreedomWorks will continue providing the best service to grassroots activists who are seeking to advance the cause of liberty and free markets. After two days of training and debate, activists were beaming with energy, ready to return home and apply their newly-acquired skills. In a moving display, some attendees became teary eyed when expressing gratitude to Kibbe and FreedomWorks staff.
Long-time activists joined with those new to the FreedomWorks family and made them feel at home. It was an expression of who we are as a movement and what we stand for. Freedom knows no prejudices. Age, creed, and race are irrelevant when it comes to lower taxes and limited government. The Freedom Movement is poised to grow and make even greater gains in the future. The Fly-In only reaffirmed that bright future.