Sick of seeing scorched-earth Republicans in Congress holding America hostage?
Sick of our guys letting them get away with it?
We need to make it clear, right here, right now, that we are obsessed with increasing voter turnout in mid-term elections. That - and nothing else - will put backbone into the congressional Dems and fear of accountability into the GOP. We need to make everybody know that we are eating, sleeping, and breathing 2014 turnout.
America's democracy can only function when citizens provide scrutiny and participation. Less scrutiny, and less participation, and the system becomes dysfunctional.
So it's no surprise that progressives do better in the high-scrutiny, high-participation presidential campaigns, than in the low scrutiny, low participation mid-terms.
As I wrote in "Forget Demographics! Obama won because Americans are progressive"
...Presidential elections are the ones which citizens pay the most attention to, and are most likely to vote in. If you're looking for the purest existing way of expressing the will of the American majority, you look at the popular vote in Presidential elections. In the last 6 presidential elections, Republicans only won the popular vote once - and only by a few thousand votes...So it's no surprise that congress always has such a low approval rating - even when Democrats run it, it's skewed to the right of American public opinion.
It doesn't have to be this way. If mid-term elections had the same turnout as Presidential elections, Congress would have been ours 5 out of 6 times also. So, it's time to talk about how we can get mid-terms to be more like presidential elections.
Some ideas off the top of my head:
*Lots of shiny citizen initiatives. They don't need to have any hope in passing, they need to actually be any good. They just need to draw attention to voting day.
*Lots of shiny, media-friendly candidates. Celebrities. Again, they don't have to be any good or have any hope of winning, they are just there for media buzz. Check the Guiness book of world records and try to break a few. Look at media circuses of the past, talk to people in the media, figure out what makes headlines.
*Presidential elections get the media attention because the small cast of characters is more dramatic. We need to find people in showbiz and ask them: if a mid-term election was going to be a a movie, how would you do it?
*I want to see reality shows about people running for congress, or a show like the West Wing, about congress.
*When it comes to activists grabbing media attention, you can't beat PETA. You may agree with them or not, but they sure know how to get in the headlines. Imagine if there was an organization - let's call them "People for the Ethical Treatment of Voters" - whose job is not to make friends, not to look good, but simply to keep the mid-term elections in the headlines.
*Here's a suggestion for an organization that does nothing but increase mid-term turnout.
*We need a unified logo and slogan like the Obama campaign should be used. "We're all in this together", shortened to "together"? (The "O" being the Obama logo.)
*A campaign to get employers and universities to give time off to vote. From ehow.com:
Many employers give workers time off to vote in presidential elections but not in midterm elections. Also, many professors in colleges and universities cancel class or excuse students from class to vote in presidential elections, but may not do so in midterm elections.*If Dems are good at one thing it's defiance. Keep talking about the GOP's voter suppression efforts. "If voting worked they'd make it illegal" - and they are, so it does.
*Challenge nonvoter memes like the quote above. "Dems will just follow the money" -they won't need so much money if we always vote. "They'll wimp out" they don't need to surrender if they know we've always got their back. "Blah blah 3rd party" - we already have those, they're called primaries. "If we're loyal they'll take us for granted." Again, a way to punish them exists, and they're called primaries. Thats how conservatives got so much power - by using primaries, not by staying home. And when you're feeling discouraged and hopeless, don't go infecting everyone, either tell your dog, or STFU.
*Reverse-engineer the tea party. Minus the extremism and threats.
That's all I've got for now. Let's hear your ideas: