This is a re-post from earlier this year, but reading it over, I think it still makes a lot of sense and is something everyone of of can do.
There is a lot of despair about the state of the Democrats who are in control of the Congress these days. To be fair there is a lot to despair about given the performance of many of the old guard in the party. On the flip side, there is a realization that we are indeed better off with Democrats in control of the government, as the example of 8 years of misrule by the criminal Bush administration clearly shows. Finally there is a significant worry that the Democrats are going to lose ground, and if thing turn catastrophic, lose control of one of the Houses of Congress.
These are the problems, but I have an idea how you and I can address these problems in a positive way. It will not require a hierarchical structure, it will not require any allegiance to the current power structure, and it will take merely a moderate level of work from each of us, over a period of the next ten months.
We know that mid-term elections are all about base turn out. It is the time when the most Liberal and the most Conservative members of Congress are elected. The traditionally low turn out makes these off-cycle elections vulnerable to the most passionate of the electorate, as they turn out to vote, where a large number of the more moderate voters have better things to do than speak up about the governance of their nation.
If we want to change the game, both in terms of keeping Democratic majorities and the type of Democrat who is part of those minorities, this is the cycle in which we need to act! So, enough of the tease, here is my idea. Each of us will go out and find 10 voters who are either not registered, or are not likely to vote and we use the next ten months to bring them home for the Democratic Party.
This is more than just registering new voters; this is really mentoring people through the process. The first step is finding them. If you are reading this, you are already involved in politics at some level or another. You read and talk about the issues of the day and you are likely to be a Liberal or a Progressive or at the very least a Democrat. You know people who are less involved than you are already. I am willing to bet if you took a moment you could easily write down the names of ten people who you think will not vote this year.
Your job, assuming you will take this on, is pretty simple. Talk to those folks and find out if they are registered. If they are not then arrange a time when you can car pool down to register. Bingo! You have started the process.
The next step is to talk up the value of them voting. They need to know who the candidates are on the primaries and why you think one candidate is better than the other. Then you need to make sure they are going to vote. I think that making a outing of it is a great way to make sure you all vote. Arrange to car pool down to the polls on the day of the primary. It is not going to take very long for all of you to vote, make sure they know this. Then a couple of weeks before the primary start confirming and re-confirming with your ten that they will be going. Offer to drive. Offer to bring cookies for after, but whatever you do make sure they are going to be there and make their voice heard.
After the primary, it is time to go back to education. Have a dinner party to talk about the Democratic candidate. Let these folks debate what they think about her or his policies and the Republicans policies. Push the idea that they have a disproportional voice in this, as there will be a lot less people voting that in the presidential elections.
Then in late October, it is time to start planning the Election Day carpool. Tell them they can have left over Halloween candy if they come, or you will all have a results watching party at your house. Again, the point is to be 100% sure your ten will show up and vote.
Now, that does not seem like a lot of work does it? Just a few contacts between a few people who become more involved citizens, but think of what a change it would make if we could get 10,000 or so people nation wide to do this! That would be 100,000 votes, which would not have normally been part of the process. Elections can swing by a very small number of votes, especially when voter turn out is low. Bringing your ten in might make the difference in local and statewide elections, which are a huge deal this cycle, as re-districting is going to be on the agenda in every single state in 2011.
It also has the potential to make a difference at the national level, especially if you get your ten in for the primaries. By bringing new voters into the process you have a chance to shake things up, change the dynamic that I know many ofmy fellow Liberals feel is strangling government of and by the people.
None of this requires that you spend long periods of time at phone banks (though if you like doing that, you really should) or pounding the pavement in the hot sun (though you can get a great tan that way) or even being part of a party structure. You would become your own GOTV operation, and you would be bringing better representation to the people you live neat and work with.
So, you want to change things? Well here is your chance to put you actions where your mouth is! Will you take a total of about 10 hours to try to change the status quo and make sure the Republicans do not make gains in 2010?
The floor is yours.