August 9, 2005
-- by Dave Johnson
Bob Brigham, at Swing State Project: Charlie Cook Waits by his TV for The Revolution,
Democrats need to stop judging success on Election Day. We need to start judging success each and every day. This simple mindset change is critical in a post-broadcast environment. Out west, one question you hear in HQ is, "We winning?" Democrats need some West Coast Offense because the right investments now can catapult a tidal cycle. We need to stop The Fear from influencing decision making and start focusing on winning every single day in every district in every state. If we can make this simple mindset change before it is forced upon us, then we will win more elections. Stop compromising, play hard and start winning.
[. . .] When the DCCC tells new candidates to go raise $100K if they want to talk, they are breeding fundraisers, not political leaders.
[. . .] If you are the Democratic nominee for the United States Congress, you deserve to have a campaign. It isn't about buying TV in every race, it is about leaving no district behind.
[. . .] If we focus on winning every day, then we will never have to worry about coming in late. If we stop worrying about the 30 second ad, we can build scalable models that will result in more ads. If we build a nationwide, post-broadcast congressional communications network, then we can do more than talk at people on TV, we could connect.
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Excellent post. What wins elections is leg work, not TV ads. It's hard work, not something just for individual campaigns, a matter of slogging through your district getting people registered who don't normally vote, many of them because they're used to losing and have given up. This means going door to door and talking to people. That doesn't cost much, and you can't win without it!
One argument I used was that I didn't care what party people voted for, just so they voted. That one's hard to resist. Another argument I used was that people who didn't vote didn't have much right to complain about the results. Including results like limited public services (police protection, garbage pickup, snow removal, for example) in districts that didn't vote "right." (That's a pun, folks, and it's happening again.)
It's amazing what even one or two determined people can accomplish, even without party support, money, or TV ads. I know because I've done it. In Ann Arbor, MI, no democrat had been elected to public office since the city was founded. The party had written it off; a few token intellectuals ran for things like city council now and then because it looked good on their resumes and were in shock and were in shock when they actually won and had to do the job after a gritty registration push. It wasn't even hard. A few elections later and the city council was dominated by democrats, and the mayor was a democrat.
There's no excuse for writing any district off.
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