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Brought to you by your Tenth Congressional District/Fifteenth Assembly District Democratic Clubs.
"Whether you think that you can, or that you can't, you are usually right" - Henry Ford
The powers within the Democratic party apparatus have at last realized that conventional "money in, votes out" campaining just doesn't work for us any more. Some in the party thought that members of the Democratic majority in congress were getting lots of corporate PAC money because we were the good guys with the right ideas. WRONG! This was simply a matter of the corporations buying the access to those who had the most influence. (Buying access is the most polite way of expressing this.) Now it used to be that this money would often flow to both sides of the same campaigns, just for "insurance", in case the voters (us and our neighbors) cast a wild card vote. Now that the Republicans are in power they are telling the fat cat corporate PACs that they not only must contribute even more to Republicans, they must also stop contributing to Democrats. As any informed citizen knows, the Republicans are rewarding these powerful interests by the legislation they propose and pass, even when clearly against the will of the public.
Well, times have changed and the powers that be within our party are now believers in grass roots campaining! The ideal of grass roots campaining is to have person to person two way information flow, with fact based information, as opposed to the current mass media sales pitches which usually devolve into highly negative personal campaigns.
Additionally, we can win and hold the important Fifteenth Assembly District seat only by registering and motivating a substantial number of new Democratic voters. This will require a focused and efficient registration effort to elect our candidate, Gail Murray.
If money won't work for us, what will? We will! We will return to true person-to-person politics. In previous campaigns, (particularly our last congressional effort) precinct work was given only lip service and exploited as cheap postal doorstep delivery. I personally felt this was a misuse of the talent and energies of the the people involved. This was a consequence of a lack of belief in the efficacy of grass roots politics and an unwillingness to apply resources to this kind of effort as a response to the influence of campaign consultants used to working within the world of big money politics.
My analysis of the election results showed that intense person to person campaining paid off in votes. According to my (admitedly superficial) voting pattern analysis, if the 10th district had done as well overall, relative to previous years, as it did in those few precincts intensively worked person-to-person, Schwartz/Baker would have been an even split (too close to call). Add to that the difference between an off-year election and 1996, when even usually apathetic voters may realize what an all Republican sluice box (House, Senate and Executive) would mean for America and we have a genuine shot at booting Bill Baker back to Danville. Even more important than our local Congressional District interest is the fate of the Presidency. This is because eight Democratic Senators are retiring, many from states that aprove of their Senator but are not particularly Democratic in voter population. This raises the very real posibility that Republicans can gain a sufficient Senate majority to override even a Democratic fillibuster. Add to that a Republican president and perhaps as many as three retiring Supreme Court justices and what do you get? The Railroading of America!
Now these matters (of Senate supermajorities and Supreme Court balance) are somewhat abstract concepts, remote from the presidental "horse race" as presented in the media, and they are not easy to present to a voter in a short soundbyte or TV spot. In dealing with voters one on one we have the advantage that the Republicans have already shown their true colors in their Congressional votes, in their policy direction, and in their public rhetoric.
We Democrats have a better philosophical foundation, firmly rooted in respect for the individual and a belief that governance is important, not irrelevant, and that the self governance of democracy can enable all to lead better, more productive, and happer lives. Our inclusiveness will enable us to effectively communicate our ideals to voters of all means and registrations. In contrast, the Republicans will be stuck with supporting their record, which is clearly in opposition to the beliefs of most of the voters, especially on the environment, taxation, and medical care. In our district we have many elderly couples who have modest wealth and great comfort in the form of the house they own. Republican proposals would raise the real likelyhood of the loss of this estate in the event that a husband or wife become severely ill or required long term care. These are not mere scare tactics, they are real possiblities that could affect you and me as individuals. This is just a simple illustration that we have very real, very powerful ammunition at our disposal. As in war, two of the keys to victory are to have both materiel and the means of delivery. This is where our grass roots effort comes in.
To be effective we must have an effective and efficient "rapid response" information delivery system. This is essential if we are to effectvely counter the last minute big money slick mailings, radio, and TV ads that we can expect from the Republicans. The truth told person to person will be effective in countering the lies, half truths, labels, smears and inuendos that we have seen in the past.
To support this effort we need Democrats of all interests and abilities to contribute time and energy to this effort. We have an organization context with many slots to be filled. We need you to speak to your neighbors about our candidates and programs. We will also need a wide range of technical and artistic specialties.