Welcome to Nuts & Bolts, a guide to Democratic campaigns. When you think about Democratic campaigns, we think of successful campaigns, big and small, the efforts that went into them, and the work put in by the campaign staff and volunteers. We want to remember the blood, sweat, and tears that were poured out in support of a candidate—and the victory speech on election night.
In many cases, all over the country, candidates enter a race knowing they have no statistical shot of winning before the race begins. They run anyway because they want to give Democratic voters a chance to pull the lever and signal their opposition to what is happening. They want to show that a district isn’t 100% Republican. They work hard for their campaigns to train staff, to learn the realities of a campaign, and they help campaigns up and down the ballot by turning out voters in their districts who otherwise might not vote.
In some districts, Democratic voters feel as though their vote just doesn’t matter since they never elect a representative. But after redistricting, there are opportunities to talk to them again and ask them to turn up and see what has changed. We can talk to voters about why supporting downballot candidates is meaningful and how it can help a candidate for governor, senate, or the house of representatives. These are noble and lofty goals, and we should support the candidates who take on this task. Still, we also have to sit down with them and say, “Please, for your own sake and sanity, don’t make these mistakes.”