Posts tagged Unconventional Wisdom
Observations of the ¨Progressive Candidate-to-Freshman¨ Transition – aka an Opportunity for expanding Progressive Power (and the power of the CPC)0
Since 2005 I’ve worked with dozens of Federal candidates/campaigns, some for a few days, some for a few weeks, some for a few months. One of the things I do often is ascertain what expectations have been given to candidates and what assumptions they have about not just running, but what happens next.
I’ve worked with a nominee who had never visited DC. I took him on his first visit to the Capitol, got him a tour, let him see how things work. It was like a child learning about wind as it turns a pinwheel.
I’ve worked with candidates who have been lobbyists, state legislators, Mayors, etc.
All of them have significant flawed assumptions and frequently are either allowed to walk away with rosy expectations or blatantly fed rosy expectations during the recruitment process, whether it be conducted by local, state or federal agents.
Recent writings, discussions and legislative battles have opened the question of whether or not the Congressional Progressive Caucus has power, wields it effectively. Some of these rants dismiss the tremendous successes of the CPC in taking on the White House and Democratic Leadership in both the House and Senate. I do believe there is room for significant growth, but we should give credit where credit is due.
These observed assumptions and expectations shape the behavior of victorious progressive Freshman, and I believe this is a significant opportunity for power expansion among the Congressional Progressive Caucus.
1. Candidates believe that win or lose, the day of the general election is the last “hard day” they will have to work for quite some time. They see victory as meaning they can hang up the “campaign hat” for at least a year, if not forever. They see defeat as the beginning of an extended vacation, most with a ‘screw everyone who didn’t do enough to help’ attitude. And frequently there is no one who did enough in their eyes.
2. When they start their campaigns, particularly among liberal/progressive candidates, candidates far too frequently believe that the positions they take on issues in and off themselves have value in terms of votes. Even when they figure out that is wrong during the campaign, they regain that assumption on or shortly before election day, which then carries in to their assumptions as a Freshman Representative. The lesson on the power of effective communication and messaging is lost. Every one of them (and you!) should read Anat Shenker-Osorio’s Don’t Buy It.
3. ”Good” campaigns are a constant exercise in expanding the network of the candidate, the pool of potential voters and the targets for volunteering/donating. This shifts in the GOTV phase where everything narrows to just those 1′s and 2′s. Those that have already given. Those that have already volunteered.
Progressive candidates frequently carry that narrowing philosophy in to their life as a Congressman. They rarely resume robust expansion efforts. This is 100% the opposite of their conservative counterparts, who see election as their mandate to become a national icon.
4. Compounding the narrowing problems from #3, we have the heartstrings problem. Progressives care too damn much, not wanting to seek donations from people that don’t have a huge surplus of money unless they absolutely positively need it. This means their fundraising operations scale back in all respects, nearly eliminate the small dollar/high volume efforts and narrow their efforts to the high dollar traditional donors. This dramatically alters the content and focus of their discussions, frequently away from the real experiences of working people and towards more broad view observations of wealthy individuals and organization leaders.
5. Generally narrowing everything about their efforts – to a specific set of issues, sometimes tied to their passions, sometimes their committee assignments. As such, they let many many opportunities sail by, failing to capitalize on earned media, network expansion and fundraising opportunities.
You can sense a trend… narrowing is a common thing. To candidates, campaigns are like being sprayed with chaos from every direction, the natural response is to try to narrow things down to a controlled flow from one small spout. Some candidates in this transition do go the exact opposite, Representative Alan Grayson tried to fill the void of outspoken progressive leadership for all progressive activists/causes in 2009/10 and it really killed him, he had one night stands with every niche group of activists but never got full engagement with any of them. This left him more vulnerable in the 2010 then he should have been. We need something in the middle. Leadership, courage, passion…on the issues that really matter to that member, taking advantage of key opportunities and passing on things when it is smart to do so.
When you look at the members of the CPC, think about these assumptions/expectations and consider where they might be if they kept their new media efforts at the same intensity they were at during the peak of their victorious challenger campaign. Think about how they would feel about the fundraising if they continued to raise ~$10K a week from email after they won their elections? That’s $500K/year. Likely that would incur increased costs of between $50 and $150K (for staff/services/office space), but still leaving a net gain of over $300,000. If they do it well, they could do double, triple or more.
In the process, they would be amplifying progressive messaging/values to a broader audience. From party activists to cable news audiences to earned media coverage to the netroots at large.
One of the things I have many times harped on is the disparity between Republican Party events and Democratic Party events. Even in small counties in mid-sized states, the headline attendees to Republican fundraisers are congressmen, senators and governors — and these from other states and regions, not just locally.
The same events for Democrats often struggle to get a state senator who represents the county. Florida has somewhere around 45 “active” Democratic county parties. The 70+ members of the CPC should be fighting to appear at a fundraising dinner for every one of them. There should be a line of CPC House members begging for the chance to headline events for the FDP Progressive, GLBT, Black, Hispanic and Women’s caucuses. Our elected officials can’t sit on their hands and wait for invitations — they need to reach out and challenge organizations to create opportunities for them. Feel free to re-read that last paragraph and insert Ohio, Virginia, New Hampshire, Michigan, California, Texas, Iowa, New York, North Carolina, Washington, Arizona, Nevada, and so on in place of Florida.
In addition to increasing the power and efficacy of the CPC, this kind of action would also provide employment for more progressive talent. By keeping them in the system and interested in working more than 1 campaign cycle you further dramatically improve the quality of progressive campaigns.
I have two sessions proposed for RootsCamp 2012 at DC’s Washington Convention Center.
Already scheduled for Saturday in Room 149B at 10:30 AM (first session) is: “Where are we & how do we fix it. Auditing campaigns to right a sinking ship, even when already under water.”
You can find the handout for this session here.
Beth Becker of Progressive Social and I have also proposed a session entitled: “The word Consultant really isn’t the dirty word some would have you believe. How to find the good ones!”
You can find the handout for this session here.
An associate offering condolences for this past Tuesday’s election results offered the reminder that we need a Constitutional Amendment to fix campaign finance. Amending the Constitution is the only certain means of leveling the playing field between self funders trying to buy seats, those willing to sell their values for special interest money and establishment support and those tried and true progressive warriors honestly trying to make the world a better place.
The decline in the quality of media coverage of elections has been a perverse accelerator of the downward spiral, favoring big money, the establishment and creating the illusion of similar qualifications/values where vast differences exist. Why? To make money, profit over truth, profit over quality of governance, profit over everything.
Until we have major campaign finance reform and media reform, we as progressives (and Democrats in general) need to stop making the same mistakes campaign after campaign. We need to invest drastically more in infrastructure that supports candidate campaigns. The key phrase being, “that supports candidate campaigns.” We have a number of great organizations out there that are improving some of the message and starting to push back on some of the right wing attacks on our Democracy in favor of the 1%, but they aren’t doing nearly enough to help us actually win elections and shift the balance of power.
We need a return to the 50 State Strategy. It isn’t even debatable which strategy is more effective. When we run more quality campaigns, we do vastly better at controlling the message and we win more seats. We raise more money. We inspire future candidates and activists. Incumbency protection is best served by expanding the playing field, not contracting it to a defensive posture.
We must do more to provide candidates with the resources to compete – not just money, but training, quality staff and research. Candidates need to start by recognizing that being a candidate is not easy, and they should do more to learn to how to be better as a candidate. Progressive organizations need to begin their actions six months or more before primaries/elections, they need to get in early to make a big impact. They need to to do more to promote the positive narratives for progressive candidates.
We need to stop hiring/promoting staffers based on arbitrary measures, winning or losing a prior race isn’t necessarily indicative of any one individual’s talent and capacity. Being on a winning team in one capacity is not at all indicative of a capacity to succeed in a completely different capacity on the next campaign. Carrying staff not getting the job done is extremely detrimental to campaigns, where resources are highly limited and the impact of team morale is far greater than many recognize. A person not living up to the responsibilities of their job will drag everyone else down, any temporary drop off felt from firing that person among the rest of the team will be overcome by the greater impact of bringing in someone capable of doing the job. Rip off the band aid, don’t let it fester.
We should be willing to pay quality wages for quality staff. When you buy at a bargain rate, too often you get less than a bargain of quality and capacity. Which leads to this – donors need to get involved earlier, need to get involved in primaries, and need to recognize that their money can and should be spent on things other than TV. When progressive donors opt to sit out primaries, they are giving a huge advantage to the big money/establishment candidates and crippling our progressive heroes. Money has a decreasing value over the course of a campaign – the earlier you have it, the better you can plan and execute a campaign for victory. Late campaign TV is rapidly declining as an effective means of communicating with voters, the value of field, online and targeted mail campaigns are all increasing rapidly. All of these require having money earlier. More staff, less consultants.
We MUST MUST MUST do more to keep quality staffers in the campaign system between cycles. We must pay them living wages in and out election season. We must provide health care and career advancement training. We must strive to keep the best of our warriors on campaigns for 5 cycles. 10 years. That should be the goal. We need to make it a viable option by increasing the quantity and quality of mentorship, by providing employment options designed to fit between campaigns that continue the work for advancing progressive values, and by doing more to make sure the right people are hired by the right candidates at the right time to be successful.
We have a handful of strong progressive candidates running across the nation and Democracy Corps tells us 54 House Republicans are in danger right now. We can make gains this November, and we need to work our butts off to make that happen. We can make bigger gains in 2014 and beyond if we start learning from our mistakes instead of repeating them over and over.
For my part, I’m currently looking for the best opportunity to make a difference between now and November 6th. If you have ideas about what I should be doing, use the contact form.
Four years ago (8/29/2008), I wrote the following as a reaction to the pick of Sarah Palin as John McCain’s running mate:
Following the premise of Head of State, McCain chooses Sarah Palin as his running mate, undercutting his own arguments for his own selection, but (possibly) opening new doors for the party’s future.
Notes from the closing session of RootsCamp 2012, “Some Guy Candidates: How they Delay Progress & How to Make Them Suck Less.”
You can find some background here: ‘Some Guy’ vs Contender – which are you?
Reviewing, the basics of the ‘Some Guy’ candidate: Lacks money, social network and the experience/understanding of how to be a candidate.
We talked about the common ways ‘Some Guys‘ push back – blaming the system, proclaiming too much purity to be sullied by doing the work, and of course attacking those that try to help them.
We explored the common motivations of ‘Some Guy‘ candidates, that they typically have a high degree of ideological (or egocentric) resolve. This means that if you are trying to move a ‘some guy‘ out of a race, you better have an idealistic win-win proposals for them, the right advocate to make the case and an expectation that their resolve is much stronger than rational logic can conquer.
As an idealist, I admire the confident idealism of these candidates. But, I’m also a strategist – one that recognizes that these candidates running on sheer idealism are hurting the progressive movement and damaging the Democratic party brand.
The best thing you can do to help these candidates is get them to attend a Democracy for America Training, like the ones coming up in Miami (March 17-18) or Gainesville (March 24-25). The DFA Training program is a comprehensive overview of campaigning designed to help people at all levels of experience and engagement. Whether you are a 5 hour a week activist/volunteer, full time staff to a candidate running for office, the DFA Training Academy will make you more effective. The DFA Training Manual (provided to Academy attendees or purchased direct from DFA) is also a fantastic resource that you will use day after day throughout your adventures in campaign politics.
After they attend the training, the next step is rule #9 again, If it isn’t written down, it doesn’t exist. This means writing a landscape memo and campaign plan (and all the component parts, field, finance and communications). Somewhere in the midst of this process, if not sooner, the (former?) ‘Some Guy‘ candidate should begin to recognize that the water is way over their head. This is the best time to do a ‘right size’ analysis. Very few candidates should be running for Congress the first time out. State House, State Senate and city/county offices are much more attainable and can help build the foundation for a later campaign for Congress. This is also the point that we should remember that local offices hold the most power.
Long term, ‘Some Guy‘ candidates need to work to expand their social networks (offline more than online). This means reaching out to like minded organizations, attending meetings and conventions, building relationships and working to earn media. This process can also serve to help (future) candidates improve their campaign skills without the pressures of an impending election. If you are not certain three hundred people will give your campaign money in the first 30 days, you aren’t ready to run for Congress. Write down the list.
It was a great discussion, thanks to all who attended.
Now in a single handy post. An analysis from the prospective of progressive Democrats of the newly drawn US House district boundaries in Florida. Despite Florida voters passing Amendments Five (State) and Six (Federal) in 2010 (Fair Districts), the new map is rife with partisan gerrymandering. Who cares about the wishes of the people when the RPOF has super majorities? Data for Obama/McCain, Sink/Scott, party registration and racial composition is pulled from the Orlando Sentinel.
UPDATE: DailyKos Elections put together a great grid of information here.
My prediction is that 6-8 years from now, this redistricting process will be seen as a drastic overreach that blew up in the face of the RPOF.
Updates will be inserted as they are available – consider this a living document. Please email us with missing information.
US House District 1: Resembles the old first district, is composed of the western half of the panhandle. This is a strong Republican seat with over 50% Republican registration. John McCain’s 2008 Presidential campaign and Rick Scott’s 2010 Gubernatorial campaign both pulled in well over 60% of the vote in this district.
Incumbent Republican Rep. Jeff Miller isn’t expected to face serious opposition. A variety of ‘some guys‘ have filed.
US House District 2: This seat resembles the old second district, composed of the eastern half of the panhandle with Tallahassee composing a huge chunk of the population. Democratic registration is over 54%, but this isn’t the super safe territory that would imply. Obama took just 47% of the vote here, bested by McCain’s 52%. Alex Sink fared better versus Rick Scott, netting a 52% to 45% victory. Prior to 2010, this seat was held by Conservative Blue Dog Democrat Allen Boyd. With a strong minority population (23.5 Black, 5% Hispanic) this seat is absolutely winnable by a progressive Democratic candidate. It should end up in Democratic hands in 2012. With a strong campaign effort and help down ticket, Barack Obama could win this district in 2012.
Incumbent Republican Steve Southerland will seek re-election and a gaggle of Democrats have already jumped in the fray to challenge him for this enticing seat. State Rep. Leonard Bembry, Former Bay County Democratic Chair/Lawyer Alvin Peters, and Environmental Activist Jay Liles are in, rumors of additional candidates exist.
Ex-Republican Nancy Argenziano, former State Senator, former State Rep and former Charlie Crist appointed Public Service Commissioner and party revolution activist first indicated she might seek the seat as a Democrat last summer, but has filed for the seat as an Independent. Argenziano is seeking State House instead of US House.
US House District 3: A gigantic swath of land spanning from the Gulf Coast to the Saint Johns river just outside Jacksonville, this seat is absolutely criminal. It skirts around a variety of cities, avoiding urban/minority populations and progressive neighborhoods. The intent appears to be to drown out the Yellow Dog Democratsthat dominate this region with rural and suburban engaged conservative voters. Democrats outnumber Republicans in registration, 43.5% to 39% but neither Obama (39.5%) nor Sink (40.5%) performed in line with the registration. This district combines parts of the old 4th, 5th, and 6th districts, all of which were held by Republicans in 2010 and prior.
If Sink’s performance was slightly better, this would be easily identified as a ripe target for Democrats, but at 40.5% it was pretty abysmal, only 1% better than Obama’s in 2008. However, Sink’s campaign was horrific statewide and lacked any field effort in these rural counties. There was no support down ticket in this region in 2010 and Rick Scott funded a heavy field operation throughout these rural counties. My conclusion is that this is territory we should be working for aggressively in 2012 and beyond. If we fielded quality candidates at the State House, State Senate and US House levels for (several) consecutive cycles, we could likely revive the Yellow Dog base that already exists and turn this region of the state at least purple.
Incumbent Republican women hating Rep. Cliff Sterns has announced he will seek this seat in 2012, joining a primary adventure with Clay County Clerk of Court James Jett and State Senator/Former Alachua Sheriff Steve Oelrich and one or more some guys.
Jett announced that Stearns and associates made attempts to bribe him out of the race. Jett turned over recordings to the FBI and Lt. Gov Jennifer Carroll is rumored to be implicated in the corruption.
US House District 4: This seat resembles the old district 4, wrapping around Jacksonville while avoiding Democratic neighborhoods and minorities as much as possible. Currently held by Republicans, likely to remain so with a 10.5% registration advantage and the history of both McCain and Scott breaking 60% in the district.
Incumbent Republican Ander Crenshaw will seek re-election here, a parade of some guys may or may not challenge him the primary and/or general election.
US House District 5: Possibly the most criminally gerrymandered seat in Florida, though not really any worse than it’s former incarnation as District 3. Held by long time Democratic Representative Corrine Brown, this is a majority-minority seat (49% Black, 11% Hispanic) that stretches from Jacksonville to Gainesville and then down to Orlando’s urban community. Don’t think it is criminal? There are multiple places where you can stand and have this district North, South, East and West of you, while not being in this district. Conversely you can say the same about some of the districts that are wrapped around the 3rd. There is no reasonable argument that this district is compact. It at times gets narrow enough to be filled with a moderate sized high school marching band (though some of them would need to be on rafts) and expanding as wide as is needed to pack in large urban/Democratic populations. This is what ‘packing’ is all about. Make adjacent districts better for the opposing Republican Party by packing as many Democrats in to one district as is possible. As it is constructed, 60.5% of registered voters are Democrats, Obama cleared 70% and Sink mustered a healthy 65%. I’m all for honoring the Voting Rights Act (VRA) but we must also preserve compact and contiguous communities – it isn’t either or, we can do both. If this district were redrawn honoring the intent of Amendment 6, it is extremely likely there would more more opportunity for minority representation and CERTAIN that the region would be better represented in Congress.
US House District 6: This is primarily what used to be the 7th Congressional district. The Atlantic coast from just south of Jacksonville, including St. Johns, Flagler, and Volusia counties. Incumbent John Mica is redistricted out, joining his two friends from Winter Park in a game of ‘which seat looks best?’ Mica announced recently he will run in the new 7th District, which lines him up for a primary with Representative Sandy Adams. The open 6th district is pretty tough territory for Democrats, with a 40% to 36.5% Republican registration advantage and decent performance numbers from both McCain (53.4%) and Scott (54.6%). Though to be fair, in neither 2008 nor 2010 was there much effort by challenger campaigns in these counties. This seat is well within range to be picked up with a 2-3 cycle effort and with the right circumstances it could be won by Obama and a strong Democratic challenger candidate in 2012.
The lack of major media markets within the district make it more challenging, like much of Florida this seat will require an expensive and high quality field effort to be flipped.
Craig Miller recently dropped his US Senate bid to run for this open seat, he has been joined in the primary by a Jacksonville area lawyer/Iraq Vet Ron DeSantis and more are expected to join the fray. Several Democrats have expressed interest in running for this seat, only Vipin Verma is currently filed for the old 7th (who?) and will presumably refile for the new 6th where he lives.
State Rep Fred Costello (Ormond Beach) is also running as a Republican. Jacksonville City Councilman Richard Clark joins the Republican Primary, a graduate of Nease High School but currently resides in Jacksonville. He asserted he would only return to St. Johns if elected, maintaining his status on the Jacksonville City Council in the mean time.
If you are a progressive Democratic candidate already filed or considering running for US House, please contact us ASAP.
US House District 7: Comprised of the suburbs north and east of Orlando, including Winter Park (current home to three Members of Congress). Rep. John Mica and Rep. Sandy Adams have both already announced to seek this seat, setting up a establishment powerhouse versus Tea Party darling primary.
The data shows this to be one of the most competitive seats in the state, with McCain having edged Obama 49.9% to 49.1%. Registration is a 39.4% to 35% Republican advantage. A fairly affluent and overwhelmingly (70%) white district, there is also a sizable and growing Hispanic population (17%). Scott bested Sink 50.5% to 45.6%, more a sign of Sink’s abysmal campaign and Scott’s strength than a shift in voter behavior.
This is an incredible opportunity for a challenger candidate to join the fray and take a seat the RPOF is counting on and put it in play. Nick Ruiz III, endorsed by Blue America is seeking the seat as a Democrat. Mr. Ruiz ran for the 24th district as an NPA/3rd Party candidate in 2010. He raised no money in 2010 and is on a track to raise only slightly more despite the Blue America endorsement in 2012. Ruiz is a fountain of great progressive policy, but doesn’t appear to have any understanding of campaigns, elections or politics as a whole – i$ he ever going to get it? As of yet, I am unaware of any serious Democratic candidates for this race, do you have any ideas?
Jason Kendall has also announced to run for District 7 as a self professed Blue Dog Democrat. He has an impressive education in diplomacy and policy but no real indicators about his capacity as a candidate thus far.
US House District 8: This seat greatly resembles the old District 15 along the central Atlantic (Space) coast, and will be fairly friendly to incumbent Republican Rep. Bill Posey. Registration is 44% R, 35% D with both McCain and Scott scoring roughly 55%.
No serious Democratic challengers have emerged as of yet, but 2010 ‘some guy’ candidate Shannon Roberts is running again. She posted $30,000 raised in 2010 and finished the campaign with a small debt.
Democratic Attorney, MIT grad and President of Space Coast Tiger Bay Club David Gunter is also running.
US House District 9: South of Orlando, this seat includes pieces of 8, 15, and 24, is considered one of the two “new seats” Florida gained. Currently no Republicans are seeking this Open seat. Obama’s just over 60% and Sink’s 53% are strong indicators this will be a Democratic seat, the fact that Alan Grayson is seeking it in 2012 pretty much guarantees it.
US House District 10: Primarily composed of Rep. Daniel Webster‘s 8th district with a piece of the 5th, this is Disney and the west Orlando Suburbs. Republicans hold a 40.3% to 36.8% registration advantage, McCain scored a 52% to 47% win here in 2008. 10.5% of the district is Black, 14% Hispanic – both of these numbers should rise over the course of the decade.
Webster is seeking re-election here and he will likely face a stiff challenge. Orlando Police Chief and former Social Worker Val Demings has already posted strong fundraising numbers and collected some valuable endorsements/attention.
US House District 11: North of Tampa, from the Gulf Coast up to the Ocala National Forest this is another fairly large and largely rural district. Incumbent Rich Nugent gets 59% of his old 5th CD as well as about a quarter of the old 6th CD. Republicans lead registration 42% to 37%, both McCain and Scott were in the 55% ballpark. As with the 10th CD, Obama scored about 4% better than Sink.
Nugent will seek re-election and Don Browning, a former Winter Springs City Councilor has filed to challenge him in the Republican Primary. This is territory Democrats haven’t put up a serious fight for in a long time, like the new 6th and 3rd CD’s. Given a long term commitment and quality campaigns, these numbers could be brought back in to competition.
US House District 12: Tampa’s northern suburbs, composed of the old 9th (57%) and 5th (39%). Incumbent Republican Rep. Gus Bilirakis is seeking re-election in this right leaning seat. Registration is 40.1% to 34.7% in favor of the Republicans, both McCain and Scott were at 52% and again Obama outperformed Sink by 3%.
‘Some guy’ Jonathan Michael Snow has filed intent to challenge Bilirakis. Certain to be a fund raising powerhouse, Snow is a certified photo specialist at Walgreens and former substitute teacher with a BA in History.
US House District 13: This coastal district sits west of Tampa Bay and includes more than 80% of Rep. Bill Young’s old 10th district. Every cycle rumors swirl the Rep. Young will retire – eventually they will be right unless he is defeated first. First elected in 1970, Young is now 81 and the longest serving Republican in the House. This is a district that Obama won in 2008 with better than 51% of the vote and Sink edged Scott 48.5% to 46.6% in 2010.
Young turned back a challenge from Democratic State Senator Charlie Justice in 2010.
Former Congressional staffer Jessica Ehrlich and former School Board Member Nina Hayden have announced for the Democratic Nomination. Hayden was out raised $800,000 to $20,000 in her bid against State Senator Jack Latava in 2010, putting the pressure on her to demonstrate she isn’t just a ‘some guy‘ candidate. Ehrlich, a lawyer has worked for both Republican (Clay Shaw) and Democratic (Stephen Lynch) members of the House.
Vultures are circling for this seat, with several filings and a bunch of rumors. Check back for more information as this one evolves. This seat should be a top target for Democrats with the new lines and Obama on the ballot again.
US House District 14: Democratic Rep. Kathy Castor’s Tampa Bay seat, with better than 50% Democratic registration, 65% Obama performance and 61% Sink performance – this is a solid D hold barring a major catastrophe/scandal shifting the landscape.
A few ‘some guys’ have filed for the Republican race to get slaughtered.
US House District 15: This district is a block of land surrounding I-4 between the populations of Tampa and Orlando, about half of the district was Republican Rep. Dennis Ross’s 12th district, with ~30% coming from the 9th district. Democrats hold a slight registration advantage, very slight at 39% to 38.6%. McCain and Scott both won the seat with 53% and 52.5% respectively.
This district includes Alex Sink’s hometown of Thonotasassa, it would be interesting to see if she could compete for this seat with a significantly better campaign than she ran for Governor. No doubt she could raise the money, but finding a message that resonates and demonstrating the capacity to connect with the voters remains to be seen. It would also require her to listen to people who actually understand elections, so they can explain to her that running away from the President will not help her (he outperformed her in this seat as well).
I don’t expect Sink to give serious consideration to running and her recent statements committing to building a non-partisan think tank to find policy solutions for Florida indicate she wishes to stay relevant while not actually understanding what the problems are.
If you are a progressive Democratic candidate already filed or considering running for US House, please contact us ASAP.
US House District 16: This Sarasota based district is 96% of Republican Representative Vern Buchanan‘s old 13th CD. The balance comes from the old District 11 (Castor). There are a number of affluent coastal communities in this 83.5% white district. Obama fared fairly well with 48% of the vote, Sink less so with 44%. McCain took 50.8% while Rick Scott took 51.7%. Moderates have struggled challenging Buchanan in the past, with Christine Jennings coming very close in 2006, less so in 2008 despite very strong fund raising. Registration tilts to the Republicans 43.6% to 32.8%.
Buchanan is seeking re-election here with his incredibly deep pockets. In addition to breaking campaign finance laws, Buchanan is an actual used car salesman (he owns a string of dealerships and had a variety of law suits filed against him on related issues). Democratic State Representative Keith Fitzgerald has announced he will challenge Buchanan. Fitzgerald is a well liked by progressive activists around the state and should make this a race to watch.
US House District 17: This massive chunk of land in the center of south Florida is mostly inland but with a touch of exposure on the Gulf coast. It is a melding of pieces of the old 16th (Rooney-R), 12th (Ross-R) and 14th (Mack-R). Registration is much closer than one might expect, Republicans holding 40.7% and Democrats a healthy 37.7%. Obama performed better than Sink with 43% while both McCain and Scott were just over 55%.
As part of a multi-candidate shuffle, Republican Incumbent Tom Rooney agreed to move in to this district (he lives in the 18th) opening the door for Allen West to take the 18th and Adam Hasner to seek West’s 22nd. At this point opposition appears to be limited to a variety of ‘some guys’.
US House District 18: This south Atlantic coast district is a pretty decent sized chunk of land that is slightly more friendly for Tea Bagger Incumbent Allen West, but not exactly friendly confines. The composition is 65% of Rooney’s old 16th (including his current home), 23% of West’s old 22nd, and a 9% slice of Democratic Rep. Alcee Hastings’ 23rd. Republicans lead registration 38.0% to 37.3%. Obama won the district 51%-48% and Rick Scott took it 49%-47%. How this seat plays out in 2012 could have a big impact on Florida’s Electoral Votes and the Presidential Race as a whole.
Incendiary incumbent Rep. Allen West (lives in Democratic Rep. Debbie Wasserman Shultz 20th district) worked out the three player trade that sent a case of Bud Light Premium and an intern to be named later to Rooney in exchange for Rooney moving to the new 17th, West snagging the new 18th and giving Adam Hasner a place to land in the 22nd District in the aftermath of his stillborn US Senate campaign. West was dogged by two aggressive Democratic challengers in the 22nd, one of whom followed him to the 18th, upstart young Democrat Patrick Murphy. Murphy went from ‘some guy’ to serious player in a very short time, with aggressive progressive messaging and nose to the grindstone fund raising. He boasted $1.3 Million raised at years end.
2006 Candidate (against Mark Foley) David Lutrin had already been running for this race prior to the musical chairs, framing himself as a progressive. Lutrin has done nothing thus far to rate consideration beyond ‘some guy’ status with a year end filing of $185 raised. There is no K there. No comma. $185. Lutrin has withdrawn and endorsed Murphy.
Given Allen West’s volatility, a strong and (major) error free campaign by a progressive Democrat could certainly pick this seat up in 2012.
Martin County Sheriff Robert Crowder ended the speculation and announced he will challenge West in the Republican Primary.
Tea Party Chairman and Independent Everett Wilkinson has also announced he is considering running against West on the basis that the district should be represented by a local. The intriguing element is that Wilkinson is an Independent which could have significant ramifications in the general election.
US House District 19: Southern Gulf coast including Fort Myers and Naples, composed almost entirely (98%) from Republican Representative Connie Mack IV’s old 14th District. This is among the most Republican districts in the state, with a 47% to 28% in registration and with Rick Scott posting a healthy 61%. Obama fared a bit better than Sink, losing 56.8% to 42.3% to McCain while Sink was ~35% against Scott’s 61%. Racially the seat is nearly 15% Hispanic and 6% Black, it is possible that over the decade those numbers will both grow, putting this seat closer to competition.
Incumbent Republican Connie Mack IV is seeking the Republican nomination to face Bill Nelson for US Senate leaving this seat open and somewhat of a free for all…as long as you are a Republican. Thus far none of the ‘some guys’ have really distinguished themselves, though at least three are in the ballpark of $100,000 raised.
US House District 20: This inland West Palm Beach/Fort Lauderdale seat is serious nothing to see here territory. Democrats lead registration 65% to 14% in this 48.9% Black, 18.5% Hispanic seat. Obama won by a paltry 61% margin – 80% to 19%, Alex Sink only won 78%-20%. This is a majority minority seat, which is how the Republicans justify drawing a district with more nooks and crannies than anything Thomas’s makes. It isn’t as bad as the 5th CD, but it is pretty awful.
Democratic incumbent Representative Alcee Hastings will seek re-election, he will win. At least that is what my magic 8-ball says.
US House District 21: This seat snugs inside the embrace of District 20, another safe Democratic seat with a 48%-26% registration advantage. Both Obama and Sink cleared 60%. This district includes 76% of Democratic Representative Ted Deutch old 19th district and 15% of what was West’s 22nd district.
Deutch is seeking re-election and should coast, regardless of how many ‘some guys’ jump in.
US House District 22: Completing the ménage à trois with the 20th and 21st, this district hugs the Atlantic coastline of Palm Beach. Democrats hold a 41.5% to 32.6% registration advantage and the Obama 56.7% to 42.5% victory were too tough for Incumbent Republican Allen West, who yet again ran like a coward to more friendly confines. If he keeps this up, he will still be living in the 23rd District represented by Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Shultz and running in southern Georgia.
For roughly the past year, former Palm Beach Mayor Lois Frankel and Patrick Murphy (see District 18) have been working hard, raising money and poking West with sharp sticks, scooping roughly $1.3 Million each in 2011. Murphy has now moved on to the 18th, and Frankel has been joined by Broward Commissioner Kristin Jacobs with rumors of other potential candidates enticed by the open seat. Jacobs’ announcement derided Frankel as divisive.
Republican Adam Hasner, former State House Majority Leader, abandoned his going-nowhere US Senate campaign to announced for this seat immediately after West announced intent to seek the 18th. He may face a primary challenge from Broward County Commissioner Chip LaMarca who has launched an exploratory committee.
The numbers here are extremely favorable, barring a major catastrophe, whichever Democrat wins the primary should coast to a win in November despite Hasner’s formidable stature.
US House District 23: Miami Beach up through Hollywood with a tail inland at the northern end of the district. Registration is 48.5% for Democrats, 25% Republicans, so this is another ‘nothing to see here’ seat. Obama and Sink again both broke 60%.
US House District 24: Miami’s majority-minority seat, this seat includes Miami Gardens, North Miami and Opa-Locka. 51.7% Black and 33% Hispanic, this seat holds the distinction of the smallest White population in the state at 12.6%. Obama and Sink both scored in the neighborhood of 85%, incumbent Democratic Representative Frederica Wilson is likely to coast to re-election until she decides to move on, just as Kendrick Meek and Carrie Meek before her.
Rudy Moise, one of the many Democratic candidates that sought this seek in the open race to replace Kendrick Meek that was won by Rep. Wilson, has announced he seek the seat again challenging Wilson in the primary.
US House District 25: A large geographic footprint, this district includes a bit of the Everglades, Big Cypress National Preserve and a huge Hispanic population at 71%. Republicans hold the registration lead 40% to 32% and a moderate performance lead with McCain beating Obama 54%-46% and Scott over Sink by a slightly wider 57%-41%.
Incumbent Republican Representative Mario Diaz-Balart abandoned his old 25th CD seat in 2010 to seek the more friendly seat of his retiring brother Lincoln Diaz-Balart. In a strange twist, he gets the old number back along with 34% of his old seat and 51% of his current district. ’Some guy’ Democrat Shannon Richard Harvilla of Pompano Beach is challenging Diaz-Balart.
US House District 26: The tip of the state and the Keys, this is one of the most competitive districts in the state. Voter registration runs tight, Republicans at 36.8%, Democrats at 35.7%. McCain edged Obama 49.9% to 49.5%. Scott and Sink was even closer at 49.0% to 48.76%. This seat is majority Hispanic at 69%.
First term incumbent Republican David Rivera wasted no time getting caught up in a variety of scandals. Which isn’t news considering his use of a vehicle to crash his way to victory in the State Legislature years ago…
Democratic State Representative Luis Garcia announced last summer he would challenge Rivera. The combination of Rivera’s anemic fund raising as an incumbent and Garcia’s decent fund raising has eliminate the money gap, but that is certainly subject to change given how low the numbers currently are on both sides.
A variety of ‘some guys’ are either in or rumored to be considering a run.
US House District 27: Miami, South Miami and Coral Gables, this is another very competitive seat. Registration tilts 38.2% to 35.8% in favor of the Republicans and this is also a majority Hispanic seat at 75%. McCain edged Obama 50.9% to 48.5% and Scott beat Sink 50.6% to 47.5%.
Incumbent Republican Ileana Ros-Lehtinen has proven to be a formidable opponent, over performing statewide Republican candidates by 10%.
Possibly the best hope for a progressive victory here is a rematch with 2008 nominee Annette Taddeo. Taddeo’s 2008 campaign under performed significantly, weighed down early by State/National Party rejection, Taddeo didn’t really find her feet until the final weeks of the campaign. She quickly became a favorite of progressive activists around the state. Taddeo could also be a viable candidate in the adjacent 26th District.
Summary for North Florida Districts 1-6: There are currently five Republicans and 1 Democrat representing this territory. With no major changes to the map as passed by the legislature, it is highly likely we will regain District 2 in 2012, and there is an outside chance at picking up Districts 3 and 6 over the next three cycles. To swing these six seats from 5R/1D to 2R/4D would be a huge coup, particularly when you consider the lengths to which Republicans went to protect themselves with gerrymandering. If the DOJ/Courts find fault with the maps as drawn, particularly with regard to the abomination that is District 5, the chances of Democratic gains in north Florida grow significantly.
Summary of the I-4 Corridor Districts 7-15: Looking at this package of seats, 7 through 15, Democrats currently hold 1 (14) and 1 seat is ‘new’ (9), but likely to be picked up by the Democrats. Over the next 2-3 cycles, we could see gains in 7, 10, and 13. I’m also intrigued by 15, where the numbers look appealing and the right candidate could knock out a weak incumbent.
Summary of Districts 16-27: In the territory south of the I-4 Corridor, there are a great deal of opportunities for Democratic (Progressive) pick ups in 2012 and/or over the next few cycles. Obama’s South Florida GOTV operation was incredible in 2008, but in far too many cases they were 1-shot voters, ignoring the under card – leaving challengers like Taddeo, Joe Garcia and Raul Martinez well short of Obama’s vote totals in their districts. If OFA 2.0 can work out those kinks, the new map could yield some significant gains in 2012 starting with 18 and 22. 16, 26 and 27 are the next best targets here, with the new maps making all of these seats virtual toss ups IF quality candidates/campaigns emerge.
Currently this block is 7R-4D-1New, with an aggressive effort it is reasonable to see 4 gains for progressive Democrats, moving the block to 4R-8D over the next 2-3 cycles. Long term, as with the I-4 Corridor, minority population growth should diminish the slim Republican margins gerrymandered in to the map.
Statewide Outlook: Statewide we could see as many as 10 more Democratic Members of Congress over the next 2-3 cycles. From 19R-6D to 11R-16D, quite a swing. Will the Florida Democratic Party do the necessary infrastructure building, recruitment and training to get this done? Will they commit to a 67-County strategy putting statewide candidates in a better chance to win? Or will they stick to the 2010 (and previous cycles) strategy of putting all of their eggs in a single statewide candidate’s basket and hope they don’t get smashed?
Since I started publishing my analysis of Florida’s new US House districts, a number of candidates and/or supporters have challenged the label of ‘some guy’. One supporter sent a nice email, asserting her candidate was the real deal (the facts disagree thus far). Another sent an email with what might classify is disgust. And one ‘some guy’ sent an email to his campaign list using the label as a slur for motivation. Not a terrible tactic.
Candidates can cross from ‘some guy’ to real contender, it has happened before, but not very often and not typically in the span of a single election cycle.
Here are a few notes about what separates the real contenders from the ‘some guys’. Not all conditions need to be true to make you a ‘some guy’ and not all conditions are false in a ‘contender’.
Money: The most obvious indicator and the most unfortunate. Our system shouldn’t be predicated on wealth or access to wealth dictating who can and cannot represent us in Congress. But it does. I only work with candidate who will commit to changing that by supporting public financing as part of campaign finance reform.
If you are running for US Congress, to compete you need to be able to raise six figures your first quarter out, ideally $100,000 in the first 30 days. You should be able to write a list down before you do a day of campaigning, of people you already know, in the hundreds or thousands that you can reasonably expect to give you money. You can learn more about campaign finance/fund raising here.
Regardless of when you start this campaign, by 3-4 months prior to your Primary election (with or without a serious opponent) you should have already raised better than $500,000. In Florida, given the higher costs of doing so many things in most of our districts, you should be aiming for the $500,000 mark by mid-March or sooner. Once you start, you need to pull in six figures every quarter, upwards of $3000/day or $4000/weekday. Note that is a trajectory of roughly $250,000 a quarter, your race may dictate much more per quarter, particularly as you get closer to election day. The quarterly number should get larger as the campaign goes on, significant drops will be perceived as a drop in support or ‘hitting a ceiling’.
In the end, to be a contender as a challenger for a regular (not Special Election) Congressional seat, you need to raise upwards of $1,000,000. That puts you ‘in the game’, possibly as close as within the margin of error. To actually be in a position to win, you likely need somewhere between $2 Million and $6 Million. And in the end, if you spend it poorly, it doesn’t matter how much you raise.
Experience/Network/Credibility/Reach: The next major separator between ‘some guys’ and contenders we will look at is the equivalent of Twitter’s Klout score. This is how many people you know, how many people know you, how likely they are to listen to you, and how likely they are to repeat/share what you say. It is also important what the people know you for, do they see you as an expert/fount of wisdom on political things? Or are you just a person that they find funny from time to time.
When we (MPA Political, LLC) teach public speaking for candidates/campaigns, we talk about the credibility disconnect that occurs when you become a candidate. In normal public speaking, when you are introduced as a rocket scientist, you are automatically given some credibility on the subject by the audience. As a candidate, the opposite happens, everyone becomes skeptical about your qualifications and credibility. The best way to combat that is to have long standing personal connections (and surrogates with credibility) to help carry that credibility beyond the ‘candidate’ threshold.
If you don’t have a network of people accessible to the district that can project credibility upon you, and you have not been a well-known member of the community for a significant period of time, it will be very hard to break through the ‘some guy’ shell without an absolute monster haul of fund raising. The odds of you having that fund raising capacity without the network/credibility are obviously pretty slim.
Campaign Understanding/Experience: Far too many candidates think running for office is some mixture of the various campaign/political tv shows and movies they have seen. Some spice in what they’ve gleaned from CNN, MSNBC, PoliticalWire.com, DailyKos.com, etc etc. What ever picture those put in your head, it’s likely wrong. It isn’t all fairs and speeches. The biggest component of campaigning is phone to mouth. Before you can do that, you need to have a coherent message and you need to know how to stay on message all the time.
A good start is attending a Democracy for America Campaign Academy. The next step is hiring a professional who knows what they are doing. Conveniently for those of you in Florida, there are two DFA Training Academies coming up in March: Miami and Gainesville.
This is a tricky hurdle for candidates, as the majority who have little experience with campaigns on this level won’t even know where to start the hiring process. It isn’t unusual to see candidates with high potential fail from this step, blowing money on bad/opportunistic consultants/staff that provide them with little to show for the money spent. Mistakes often include a perverse desire to ‘hire local’ in districts that haven’t been competitive in recent history. If there was someone local who could make it competitive, they would have already. You can learn more about hiring here.
Common Pushback on ‘Some guy’ status: ‘Some guy’ candidates and their supporters often push back on the label with arguments about the campaign finance system being broken and they are going to prove it is wrong by a) forgoing contributions over XYZ dollars, b) only taking donations from within the district, c) refusing PAC money, d) raising no more than X total dollars or (new this year) e) promising not to seek re-election because re-elections means spending the people’s time raising money rather than serving. Many of these have good intent behind them, there is some honor in there. But you can’t pay for direct mail, radio or TV with honor. You can’t pay staff or consultants with honor. Good intentions only matter if the roughly 200,000 voters you need are aware of them. The system is this way, it is designed to protect incumbents, get over it, raise the money and change it.
Probably my least favorite ‘some guy’ money argument is candidates pointing at other challengers that raised tons of money and lost as indicators that the money doesn’t matter. First of all, just because you raise the money doesn’t mean you spend it well. Second, only one candidate gets to win, did the candidates opponent also raise serious money? Is this particular losing candidate running for the seat of an entrenched and well liked incumbent? Did they have a good message that resonated with their district?
Yes, you need the money to compete. No, it isn’t going to show up because you have the right issue positions or because your opponent sucks that much. Quit praying for a ‘Mark Foley’ and do the work.
Summary: It is very rare for challengers to win Congressional seats, period. It is even more rare for first time candidates (for any office) to win Congressional seats. The most common trait of winning Congressional challengers is having lost a campaign for Congress previously.
If you aren’t sure if you are a some guy or a contender, you are probably a ‘some guy’. The most common path to changing that is through successful fund raising. Put your comfy pants on, sit down (every day for 6-8 hours), and make a ton of phone calls. Call Time is the most important task for candidates to master.
‘Some guy’ candidates are frequently brilliant on policy and push it out by the truck load. None of the voters in their district read it or care, but they do it. And these candidates believe this makes them ‘serious’. It doesn’t. Please stop.
Whining about the system, whining about the media, whining in general…is not going to win you significant support or generate your miracle fund raising. Whining doesn’t reflect the strong leadership voters/donors want. But it does occasionally generate something funny for the rest of us to giggle at.
As the American media focuses on the circus that is the Republican Presidential Primary, people all over the spectrum are commenting. Near all of the people commenting from the center to the left want the primary to go all the way to the end, bloodying the eventual nominee as much as possible. Many on the right are calling for an end to the process for the same reason. Some on the right can remember way back in history, in a galaxy far far away, way back in the late…4 years ago. They remember that Obama v Clinton all the way to the end of the primary calendar generated additional data, money, excitement, volunteers, a huge chunk of energy. They remember that the Republican primary contest in 2008 had the same potential, but was resolved quickly producing a flat general election campaign. In the end, Obama had nearly 270 electoral votes locked up by the time he addressed the crowd at the DNC. The contest was all but over, and he was just moments out of one of the most brutally contested primaries in history. The “3AM” Clinton ad that was supposed to be a devastating attack on Obama? Well, he didn’t win West Virginia, but he was never going to win West Virginia. He cleared 270 by a huge margin. Republican strategists remember this, and I suspect some are wondering if President Obama can repeat the feat without the intra-party foreplay and associated energy for change. They remember and hope that an extended primary will do the same for them it did for Democrats in 2008.
Primaries aren’t bad. Challenger campaigns can and should benefit from competitive primaries.
The un-wisdom is that primaries burn resources (money) needed for the general election, that it is a zero-sum situation and only xyz dollars can possibly be raised by pdq candidate. The un-wisdom asserts that the competition of a primary will expose the flaws/weaknesses of the eventual nominee diminishing their chance to win the general significantly.
All of this is of course stupid. I’d be more delicate, but that wouldn’t penetrate the level of stubbornness within which this particular un-wisdom is sealed. Bad primaries are bad, of course they are. When two (or more) candidates forget what their message is, lose all sense of discipline, and generally demonstrate how much they suck as candidate and campaigns, it certainly does make it likely they will lose the general election. But not MORE likely, they were already likely to get waxed, they just got exposed themselves a few months earlier than they would have otherwise. Even in this scenario, the primary is positive, because it provides the nominee the chance to evaluate where things got so off track and implement corrections before the general election campaign is at full throttle.
In a good primary, two (or more) competing candidates get to articulate their values, present their vision of how the district/state/nation would be better if they were to be elected, they get to promote the party’s values for however long the primary lasts. The process of the primary campaign will generate energy, enthusiasm and DATA. Data about donors, volunteers, the concerns of the district, all sorts of information that can help win the general election.
The money? It isn’t Zero Sum. Howard Dean proved that with his 50-state strategy and the overwhelming success it provided. Success that laid the groundwork for Obama’s 2008 victory. Done well, the primary will dramatically increase the fundraising capacity of both candidates during the primary period, and in the aftermath they will have broader reach to bring in as much or more for the general election than they would have without a primary. More good candidates and good campaigns means more money, not less.
Candidates that benefited from competitive primaries in the process of ascending to high offices? We already discussed Barack Obama, who had a competitive primary for President, most don’t know that he broke in to the Federal Campaign scene with a failed primary challenge in 2000 of US House Member Bobby Rush, and then faced a multi-candidate primary for US Senate in 2004. Today he is the 44th President of the United States, those primaries really hindered his success. Other candidates to have benefited from primaries include Florida US Senator Bill Nelson and Governor Lawton Chiles (against each other for Governor), California Governor Jerry Brown, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, Senator John McCain, Senator John Tester, Senator Mark Warner (won primary, lost general for US Senate in 96, won Governor of VA in 2001)…and Governor Rick Scott who stole a billion dollars from medicare and was trashed by his eventual running mate during the primary. This is just a small sample.
I would encourage the Democratic Party to embrace primaries, not play favorites in the process and instead do everything they can to make sure ALL candidates running under the Democratic banner and supporting the (bulk of the) Democratic Platform run the highest quality campaign possible. Doing so would improve the strength of the Democratic brand, grow fund raising, improve candidate recruitment and of course, elect more and better Democrats. Personally, I only help the liberal/progressive candidates. If you aren’t for equality, election reform and women’s rights, call someone else.
As for that Republican Presidential Primary? Let’s end it right now, let’s give Mitt Romney the nomination and start the general election festivities right now. Since we can’t do that, how about the Democrats stay out of it and focus our attention and energy on recruiting more and better Democrats to run sea to shining sea and then do everything we can to provide them with the resources and training they need to succeed. I’m looking at you DNC, AFSCME, etc, spend that money recruiting, promoting and supporting candidates that support your values instead of trashing a potential Republican nominee 8 months before persuadable general election voters are paying attention.
Play this video and listen as you read this post. You’re welcome.
Jill Sobule @ Netroots Nation 2011
I sent the following to a request for comment/advice regarding a bright young man’s effort to make a difference through a “bi-partisan organization”:
I don’t do anything (political) non-partisan or bi-partisan. Partisanship isnt the problem, blind extremist ignorance is. Good ideas are good ideas regardless of party and corruption is corruption regardless of party, party is a key feature of our current electoral system and it is the party with the strongest brand that holds the advantages (and wins more often, enacting their ideas in to law). Until we stop tripping over ourselves to disguise the problem to make it more palatable, we wont start making real progress. Stand up, speak out and have no shame for your chosen party id.
Note that this doesn’t mean you shouldn’t ever criticize or question your party of choice. Quality control is needed. Badly.
Change the electoral system and then we might have a different discussion.
While the Republicans pursue a hyper partisan agenda, with remarkable success, Democrats – under the leadership of our President and Senate Majority Leader are striving for “bi-partisan compromises,” seen by many of us as solving little while giving away tax payer money to the wealthy, gutting regulations and axing social programs crucial to the survival and recovery of so many Americans. No where in the Republican sales pitch do they disguise their allegiance to “conservative ideals”, no where do they beg for approval from Democrats. They make declarative statements about what (they believe) America needs and package their pitch in an emotional, passionate narrative. They embrace the Tea Party, ignoring or approving of the xenophobic racism and bigotry. They use fiery rhetoric and aggressive campaigning coast to coast to raise money and shift the debate radically rightward . That’s important. What they are doing IS radical. The proposals and ideas of progressives today are not at all radical. They are rooted in the preservation of the New Deal, the regulations and social mechanisms put in place to end the Great Depression and prevent a future economic disaster of similar magnitude. Republican’s, joined by a relative handful of corporate crony Democrats committed terrorism and/or treason in decimating the regulations and systems keeping corporate greed and the financial sector in check and stable. We need to remember that. It was radical action by “conservative leaders” in the 1990′s through 2006 that turned our economy in to a mob run casino and mired our nation in wars on multiple fronts without clear objectives or adherence to the Powell Doctrine. Actual wars, with huge costs, human and financial. Accompanied by none of the planning and consideration needed for such endeavors. They didn’t pay for the wars, they slid them off the books and made major tax cuts for corporations and the wealthiest 2% simultaneously. Now they object to raising the debt ceiling, something they did repeatedly without reservation while George W. Bush was working with them to rapidly inflate the debt.
What’s my point? We don’t need less partisanship. WE NEED MORE. We need progressives to stand up and speak out about the atrocities foisted on the Nation and 98% of the population. We need to speak about the young men and women serving their country returning broken or worse – while Republicans work to diminish the services available to those soldiers and their families. We need to stand up for educators and the institution of public education, it is the future of this nation that is being destroyed with every cut and every profit based decision. Decisions in education must be based on one thing and one thing only, the highest possible quality education provided to every child everywhere in this great nation. They aren’t less partisan with their attacks on these vital components of America. Why are we (Democrats) acting under the premise that reducing our level of partisanship will be beneficial?
We have some great speakers unafraid of the partisan labels and attacks from the right, but we need more of them. If I could clone Van Jones and run him for Senate in every state, I would, but reality requires we all stand taller and speak louder, that we join great voices like Van Jones and take on the Republican Greed & Hate Machine.
We must have one hundred bold progressives come forward between now and the end of 2011 to run for Congress and Senate. They must be willing to do the hard work and under the sheer brutality of a Congressional Campaign. As it reaches the peak of stress, frustration and exhaustion, they need to remember why they are fighting and say, “I Fight for We the People! I Fight for America!”
We need bold progressives to run for State House and State Senate across the country. To step forward to lead their community back to a path that gets them an opportunity at the American Dream. We need men and women to stand up and declare that equality is a right of all Americans. That greed is not a right and should be put in check. That corporations are not people and are not entitled to act with impunity, manipulating elections and destroying America’s people, land and resources with little to no concern. This is the time to act. We have to be the ones we were waiting for, there may not be future generations if we don’t stand up to the GOP now.
Are you ready to join the fight as a candidate? A volunteer? A donor? Contact us today, we need your Talent, Time and/or Treasure ASAP to win this war, what investment can you make in America?
Over the next few weeks I’ll be on the road, attending the Florida Young Democrats 2011 Convention which will be occurring in conjunction with the Florida Democratic Party’s Jefferson Jackson Weekend at the Westin-Diplomat in Hollywood, Florida and Netroots Nation 2011 in Minneapolis, Minnesota.
At the FYD Convention, I’ll be conducting a training session on planning and executing events, joined by FYD Convention Chair Shannon Love. Here’s the blurb from the FYD Website:
Meetings and Events
If you and your chapter are interested in hosting events that kick ass and raise money, please join Democracy for America Trainer Mario Piscatella and Pinellas Young Democrats President Shannon Love as they explain great ways to plan, organize and execute successful events large and small. From building spreadsheets that track progress to finding different ways to bring in money, this session will provide you the tools you need to host everything from a regular meeting to a dinner, convention or other exciting event.
In Minneapolis, I’ll be conducting free consulting sessions with candidates of today, tomorrow and someday, as I posted about already.
Later in the summer, I expect to be at the Young Democrats of America National Convention in Louisville, Kentucky, and who knows where else I may end up.