Report from Democrat Meetup, Chicago, IL
We met at the Goose Island brewery/restaurant on the North side on Clybourn St...
The restaurant must host quite a few meetups -- there was a Barack Obama for Senate Meetup going on at the same time in a different part of the bar, and the staff seemed quite accustomed to all these Democrats running around.
When I arrived the small party room was filled -- about 45 people, I'd say. One guy took up the role of volunteer facilitator - I forget his name, but he was very nice.
He had come to the previous Meetup, and led the introductions around the room. Introducing ourselves took up the majority of the time. The crowd was similar to a typical Dean Meetup crowd, circa September 2004. The lowdown:
Median age 40, mostly white
Mostly lifelong Democrats
Most had no political campaign or volunteer experience
25% had been to a Meetup before (mostly Dean supporters)
A few were unemployed
100% want regime change
Once we finished going around the room, discussion turned to "What the heck do we do now?"
The main suggestions were:
- 2 or 3 volunteers agreed to e-mail the list about candidates, the primary, etc.
- Folks coming next month should be prepared to start advocating for particular Dems in Illinois or across the country, since the primary is the day before the next Meetup. We won't have any Dem primary head-butting to worry about.
- We were encouraged to drag local politicians to next month's Meetup -- I shared that our most successful and positive Dean Meetup was the one before Iowa where city councilmen and candidates showed up to genuflect before the Dean Meetup altar. It was sweet.
- Pledge to vote and adopt 3 friends to make them vote in November. Turnout is the moneyball.
The meeting lasted about 75 minutes.
Analysis: This crowd is more evidence that the DNC can KILL in the next election, if they get their act together. I plan next month to share the key national races that I learn about on DKos and hopefully I'll be able to tag along with the newly elected Dem nominee for Senate or maybe a House candidate.
Many people shared last night that they would do ANYTHING to help win -- man if the DNC can tap groups like this half as well as Dean did - look out baby.