Last legislative session saw Alaska Family Action president Jim Minnery ascend to new heights within the socially conservative political elite in Juneau. That political elite happen to hold a super-majority in the legislature, retain the governor’s office, and have a bill likely to obtain the same result in the judiciary.
Minnery’s appeal to many lawmakers is rooted in the belief he can deliver electoral success by rallying a network of excitable social conservatives. He gained the reputation and graduated from assembly politics after coordinating various anti-gay efforts in Anchorage.
Some lawmakers share extreme views similar to those of AFA. Others follow along because it seems like the most politically opportune thing to do, especially with many up for reelection in the midterms.
Jim Minnery wants to help with those reelection efforts and keep his stock rising. On September 10, he posted a blog entry on the AFA website informing voters how they could get involved.
In order to get our state and country more aligned with policies that protect and defend innocent human life, strengthen marriage, assure religious liberties and safeguard parental rights, we simply need more leaders who are willing to step up and create change.
Some of those people are already in office and need help keeping their seats. Others are challenging an incumbent or putting their names in the ring for the very first time.
Either way, most often, they’ll be facing stiff competitive races and need all the help they can get to position themselves and attract the votes that will get them in office.
Minnery announced a new partnership with the national group American Majority, a right-wing non-profit political training group run by former George W. Bush speech writer Ned Ryun and his brother Jim, a former deputy director of the Republican National Committee. Their goal is to inject tea into local, state, and federal politics – or, as they put it, to create “a national farm team of conservative leaders.”
The campaign training program the group offers advertises itself as a tool to improve efforts of candidates, campaign workers, and activists: “Our political training programs bring the expertise and knowledge of national politicos, campaign strategists, communication consultants, and seasoned organizers directly to your community.”
AFA scheduled two campaign training dates: October 25 in Anchorage and October 26th in Fairbanks. As those dates grew closer, Minnery sent a follow-up email entitled “Conservative Campaign Training Next Week Filling Up – Register NOW”.
Cough up that $35 quick, folks! According to the guy running the show, seats are running out!
And then, last week, registered attendants received a surprisingly contradictory email from the group’s Director of Operations:
Monday morning, Minnery sent an email out to his followers:
Due to a smaller than expected number of registrations, the American Majority New Leader Campaign Training scheduled for this Friday in Anchorage and Saturday in Fairbanks has been CANCELLED.
Wait… What just happened?
Legislators might want to think twice before feeling comfortably propped up by Minnery’s vast network of socially conservative activists demanding ideological legislation that is not supported by the majority of Alaskans. It is not that difficult for a small amount of very loud people to successfully troll an Anchorage Daily News column, or take a couple hours of phoned-in testimony on legislation. It takes quite a considerable amount more to fund and run a successful campaign.
Jim Minnery couldn’t fill enough seats in the Assembly Chambers of the Loussac to bring up the American Majority campaign training. A word of caution to legislators: recognize a paper tiger when it growls.
Three days after urgently encouraging attendees register because his event was close to full occupancy, the training session was canceled do to an overwhelming lack of occupancy.
The Bible doesn’t say a whole lot about the thoroughly debunked gay conversion therapy approach to “engaging gays” that Minnery is currently promoting on AFA’s website. But I believe it does have a few words on the topic of honesty.