This is a re-post. For some reason, when I posted this last time, it posted to my personal page rather than the group page. I want this diary to appear in the group blog page so anyone interested can see the introductory diary which explains the reason and the intended direction of this group. My apologies to those already following the group. I will be posting "real" first diary within a few days.
If you, like me, have been watching in horror the outlandish things happening in states like Florida, Wisconsin, Indiana, Iowa, Montana, South Dakota, Michigan, (ahem) Arizona, and others, you ought to be grokking that state politics is pretty damned important.
We all love to follow federal politics. It's in some ways easier and more consolidated. But nothing has a greater immediate impact on the day-to-day lives of regular everyday folks than state and local politics.
We have a fight on our hands. We also have been given a great opportunity. This group and this introduction are about how we can, together, WORK state politics to our favor, how we can influence voters to become aware of and engaged in what's happening in their state legislatures and governor's offices and how we can do something very simple to create change from the bottom up.
If your state, like mine, has been completely hijacked by tea bagging idiots, its time to do something about it.
WHY THIS GROUP: my impetus for starting the group
During 2010 I canvassed the same areas close to my home that I canvassed in 2008. Mostly low-income white and hispanic communities as well as low- and middle-income black communities. What I found was that in 2010, these populations of people were proud of Obama, understood the challenges he inherited and were willing to support his efforts. But when asked if they had early voted or (on election day) what time they were planning to go vote, they were non-committal.
The fact is that these folks are people who don't follow politics. They don't have that luxury. They have three kids and two jobs and never enough money and no extra time. And yet, these are the people who will be most negatively effected by republican legislatures and governorships.
So my question was: how can we help them understand the importance of voting in mid-terms and in state elections?
At the time, it was a tough sell. I managed to do OK (apparently not OK enough, though, right?), but now that the deed is done and the consequences of voter apathy and non-engagement are about to start coming to fruition, I believe we have a tremendous opportunity to draw a direct line between the things that are important to these people's everyday lives (and that will disappear over the next four years of republican rule) and the importance of participating in ALL elections, not just the presidential ones. I believe this will accomplish two things:
1) demonstrate the very real danger of not voting in state and local elections
2) amplify the poor policies of the GOP and by contrast build the democratic message
3) build relationships with those in our communities so that when 2012, 2014 and 2016 arrive, we are not strangers to them, but trusted sources of reliable information
4) and to a lesser extent, begin preparing voters for an Obama-less contest in 2016. They need to vote the ticket, not the candidate, right?
These people are the swing voters. These people are the democratic sometimes-voters who sometimes don't show up. These are the people the unions and the party and the candidates spend millions of dollars to call and visit and register and GOTV. They are critical constituencies. But the time to act is NOW not to wait until the election year. And those of us who have been "blessed" with wing-nuttty state legislatures and governors have a REAL opportunity right here, right now.
THE PROPOSAL: its easy, cheap and collaborative
Some of you know that I have a background in advertising, marketing, web design, graphics and TV. You may also know that in 2008, I created a webpage where anyone could freely download a nicely done flyer, customizable, to distribute in your own community. These flyers were created to be an adjunct to the materials OFA was putting out but just couldn't create and distribute in a "rapid response" way. Things that refuted the "latest attack" or the "latest smear" with facts. Things you could easily print and take with you canvassing. You may also remember that I created a video that was downloadable so anyone could burn it to a DVD and hand it out while canvassing. It was also a refutation of lies and bullshit that the campaign itself just didn't have the mobility to refute "on a dime" and didn't produce national ads for (yes the DVD was "unforgiving" and "hard hitting"). Now this stuff was national in scope but I see no reason not to localize it on a state-by-state level.
What I'm proposing now, is something very similar. And DK4 is the perfect platform for it.
Here's how I propose it works:
1) Anyone who's a member can post a diary to the group that explains exactly how a particular policy (enacted, preferably) will impact directly people in that state or county or neighborhood. Let's face it, we'll fight teh stupidity but we will not be able to prevent much of it given the "nutter takeover" in many of our states. So when a policy gets enacted, we analyze who gets hurt and exactly how (it's always the working folk and the poor, right?) and USE that to our advantage to educate the very people who will be impacted.
2) Other members with skills in graphics or design (like myself but like many many others here) can create and upload to my server (I'll provide access) flyers that anyone can view and print out. These flyers can be creative, funny, straight forward, in color, in black and white, anything. I imagine a comic strip. Or a funny flyer. Or a flyer with hard hitting photos. Things that will really capture the attention of those who receive it. And those who want to print them and distribute them should have a variety of choices. So several flyers made by several talented Kossacks and available for printing.
3) Followers, readers, activists, local dem clubs - anyone - will be able to print them out and mail them to target populations/addresses. Or go canvassing to drop them off if you're local. In this way we reach people in the way that is most accessible to THEM. Many are not online. We show them WHY and HOW the policies enacted by the republicans will impact them and what they may be able to do about it (make a call, send a letter and of course VOTE for the DEMOCRAT in the next election! Even let them know WHO that person IS, right?). We could compile this list from freely available voter registration documents or possibly with some alliance with a group that already has the lists (or maybe even tapping into the list registry that many campaign use to monitor mailing and visits and phone calls).
The idea here is that if even 500 people could print out and mail 10 flyers each at a cost of MAYBE $4 in postage, we could go a long way toward frustrating the future prospects of the "raging right" in our red and purple states. If we could get 5000 people to do 10 flyers for distribution in any state concerning any issue as it arises, we create a powerful stealth movement that our opposition won't see until the next election. Imagine it.
So I am open to suggestions, ideas, and input.
If you want to write a diary for this group about what is happening in your state legislature and how it effects directly people we want to reach, please send me a message and ask to join. I welcome all fellow editors.
If you have mad skills and want to create flyers and other impactful items for the "distribution materials library" (like that? I made it up out of nowhere!), please email me and ask to join. Because this involves server access, I'll need to recognize you around these parts. I hope you understand.
If you want to be kept aware of the latest action in a given state, please follow this group by clicking the little heart on the right under the group name . Even if you are from a safely blue state, you can be of tremendous help in this effort by printing and mailing the necessary flyers when the need arises.
Thanks SO MUCH. We have a real opportunity here to turn looney red states into formidable battlegrounds using just these simple, easy, cheap and collaborative efforts. for those of us in red states, there won't be a whole lot we can do to stop teh crazy train, but we can use it to our strong advantage.
Now, to coin the phrase of someone who seems determined to turn my state into Somalia, "Let's Get To Work!"