Before I begin this post I want to take a little time to thank all of you who have read and “respectfully” commented on the Unite Blue posts. There are very strong feelings on both sides and the only solution from my point of view is an honest, respectful and factual discussion from those on both sides. Personal attacks, accusations, unfollows and blocking does nothing to move forward from what has become a divisive discussion on the progressive side. And I do believe all the people involved in this are progressives, I will not allow myself to buy in to this accusation of those on the other side being Republican moles/operatives. To that point my heartfelt thanks to those of you on Twitter who came to my defense when I was accused of being a “Repug” because of the neutral position I try to keep in this “discussion.” We do better if we can avoid accusing, looking for dirt, belittling others on this side so we can all unite under whatever banner you choose to go after those on the other side. Whether it be Unite Blue, OFA or CTL, people don’t associate with them to fight for the Republicans, everyone please remember that.
Now to the point of this post.
Those of you who follow know that in 2012, not only did President Obama win, the Democrats took additional seats in the Senate although they were expected by pundits to lose control. People were relying on the urban myth out there that we are not only a center-right nation; we are getting more extreme right. Why else would the Tea Party fanatics be getting all that air time? Well we know it’s FOX and mainstream media using news more for entertainment than for telling people what is really going on out there. Now the Democrats did not take the House although they did win back several seats. In fact, nationwide the Democrats received 1,362,351 more votes for House seats than Republicans. It’s been well established that had it not been for the gerrymandering the Republican using the control they gained in state legislatures after their 2010 wins; the House could have also gone blue. Of note is the fact that in Arizona, the voters were able to get a Constitutional Amendment placed that required that our redistricting board be non-partisan. As a result, and despite Governor’s Brewer’s attempts to throw out the board’s plan, we ended up with sending more Democrats to the House than Republicans. Our districts are competitive, favoring neither Democrats nor Republicans. So in this Red state, we showed that maybe we as a nation aren’t so far right of center as the media would have you believe.
Here is a spreadsheet showing the situation as of 2012 for the Congressional Seats and what would be required to turn them blue:
Lawsuits notwithstanding, Congressional redistricting cannot occur again until after the next census in 2020. So what can be done for the 2014 midterms? It has been estimated that for the Democrats to take the House back in 2014, they would have to outdo the Republicans in the popular vote by over 7 points. Considering that voter turnout on the left is already depressed during midterms while the turn out on the right remains fairly solid, this doesn’t bode well for taking the House back. But it doesn’t have to be this way. The key is to educate voters in these gerrymandered Republican districts to the realities of what the GOP platform has done personally to them, and how it can only get worse if they remain in power in the House. It’s no easy task obviously, but “impossible things” can be accomplished if you put the effort, ingenuity and dedication to the task.
From my point of view the key to getting this done are the younger voters and social media. A Howard Dean type 50-State Strategy is essential. Problem is there isn’t a lot of money out there to go around. Traditionally, the DCCC will only allocate money to those districts they think they may have a chance. Sorry, with gerrymandering those seats are far and few between and don’t add up enough to turn the House in 2014. You need to turn gerrymandered districts blue. If you don’t have or don’t want to spend the money, then go social media. Twitter and Facebook, as well as others are a start. The younger voters are more inclined to follow social media than the older, usually more solid red voters are. This is our advantage. However, such a plan can’t be just tweeting and posting stuff out there for people to ignore, it must be coordinated, focused and (sorry to say) focused group tested for it to be successful. This does require money, but not as much as the more traditional ways those on the right tend to rely on.
Now this is where organizations like Zach Green’s 140Elect comes in. They have developed software for just this sort of thing. Much of it was developed (I believe) during the 2011-2012 Republican Primaries. The GOP were the only group actually campaigning nationally in that primary, we already had our candidate. Zach can correct me if I’m wrong here and I know those from OPUniteBlue see it differently, but they were working with the GOP because the GOP were the only ones with use of their product. You go where the need is. The need now is the 2014 midterms. If not Unite Blue and 140Elect, then find another group with the technical expertise to organize and effectively implement a 50-state strategy. Better yet, bring on as many groups as possible to work for this common cause. If Unite Blue could unite with OFA and make their software available to them, that would in my opinion be great. But that isn’t my choice to make. However, better to have this tested technology working for the progressives and not the conservatives in 2014. Just saying.
Americans on the whole are center left. Americans tend to care more about Americans than they do the corporations, political parties, and those in the upper income brackets. Americans do not like to see fellow Americans tossed aside so others can make huge profits and live even higher off the hog than they ever had before. They are also concerned about their rights to live as they see fit without government telling them what morality standards they must live by. Polling shows that:
A majority of Americans support Gay Marriage,
A majority still supports abortion rights,
A majority supports civil rights,
A majority supports voting rights,
A majority support affordable and accessible healthcare,
A majority support teachers, first responders, police being there for them,
A majority support anything government can do to provide jobs.
All these things and more have a common theme, they are what the Democrats support and the Republican Platform is opposed to.
That’s the messaging that must get out to the individual voter out there, especially the young who follow social media and must be made to realize this is in their hands.
So whether it be Unite Blue, OFA, CTL, DCCC, a combination of these groups and/or a yet to be formed group, let us all work together to use social media that best way possible and get the word out to educate those in those “gerrymandered” districts that they don’t have to vote the way the GOP told them to by herding them into these reservations. They can use some discretion of their own, step out of their comfort zone, and vote for someone who will work for them, not the GOP and their corporate masters. Oh, and the one thing I left out, we need to get some progressives to run for office in those gerrymandered districts. We need to convince people not only to vote progressive, but to actively engage as being progressive. Run for office, go door to door, and respectfully engage those who don’t agree to convince them otherwise.
This can be done, but we need to take the first step and the sooner the better.
I emphatically agree with your point on integration of groups. I would extend that and suggest that the strength in such an amalgamation is necessary to confront many challenges on a different level.