Tuesday, July 3, 2018


I still find Joe Scarborough to be insufferably smug more often than not, and his tolerance meter for Trump outrage was several years behind the times, but I’ll give him credit where credit is due.

Blaming Hillary Clinton for the party’s demise is too easy. More than 18 months after that inexcusable loss, Clinton’s party still lacks a winning national message and has yet to find a candidate younger than 77 to replace Republican Speaker Paul D. Ryan.

But many Democrats campaigning across the United States understand that now is no time to panic. Instead of being distracted by those electric flashes of light created by Trump’s perpetual motion machine, they are knocking on doors, reaching out to neighbors, making Facebook friends and organizing teams to drive their supporters to polling places. For those still distracted by the latest cable news calamity, remember the words of a union activist wrongly executed in 1915. Before his death, Joe Hill sent a friend instructions: “Don’t waste any time mourning. Organize!”

If my inbox linked to this blog is any indication, the Democrats are doing just that, at least here in Florida.  I get ten to twenty missives from local campaigns and national organizations a day.  The difference between now and two and four years ago is that they’re not all begging for money.  They’re telling me about rallies, campaign appearances, and other such events where like-minded people are getting together.  (Yes, of course they all come with an appeal for a donation.  They’d be derelict in their duty if they didn’t beg.)

What I’m also seeing, though is an emerging message.  Like a star forms when various quantities of gas and dust begin to coalesce, it may not seem all that coherent until you realize that each individual mote and molecule has a message of its own, mainly geared to local issues and providing a positive outlook for the place they’re in.  And it might just be working.

The national Democrats are at the natural disadvantage in that they don’t have a national candidate like an incumbent president to rally around.  And it’s hard to sell a Dump Trump message without something to sell on your own.  But if the local campaigns keep concentrating on the local issues — forget about pussy-grabbing but fix the schools — the mix of a thousand different voices in a thousand local races can win over the places where they need to be won.

5 barks and woofs on “Organize

  1. What I would love to see is someone produce a series of TV spots that present the democratic party’s core beliefs. Articulate what our values are. For too long we’ve allowed the Republicans to define us, obviously in a false, negative light. It’s time for us to sell our own brand. For years I’ve seen spots produced by Mobile-Exxon, BP, the pharmaceutical companies and other industries (remember the Archer Daniels Midland spots from a few years ago?) that attempt to improve their public “likeability”- not selling product but simply trying to promote their “beneficial” efforts. The dems should be doing the same. Generic spots that don’t mention any particular candidates but simply point out the issues that we support. For instance, picture a spot with a “typical” mom speaking to the camera saying, “I support affordable health care and equal opportunity for all. I think higher education should be within reach for everyone, and I see a society where a mother shouldn’t have to worry about their child being a victim of excessive police violence. And that’s why I vote democratic”. Another with a blue collar worker talking about a government that protects the “little guy” from predatory business and banking practices. These sorts of spots could be aired in all parts of the country and would support dem election efforts while presenting a truer picture to voters of why we’re “on your side”. I really think it’s time we get more proud and pro-active in selling the progressive agenda. Maybe I’m naïve but I think most Americans share our values over the horrible agenda being instigated by Trumpism.

    • That’s a great idea. How can we pitch this to the powers that be in the Democratic party?

      • I wish I knew how to get a message to the right people. I even signed up to one of those DNC email pitches, hoping they had a “feedback” opportunity. Nope, all I get is daily pitches for donations. I don’t think our problem is lack of money, it’s lack of vision

  2. What a wonderful post, MB. I think you’ve put your finger on it and you’re not alone. One interesting facet of this coming mid-term election is the number of women who are in it, women who have full lives but also see the urgency of fighting for the sake of their children and the future of democracy. All sorts of local campaigns – school boards, county commissioners, state house races – are being challenged, sometimes for the first time in a generation – to push out the good ‘ol boys and let the women have the reins. And they all seem to be energized by the Trump administration. It’s reason for hope.

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