Tuesday, July 1, 2008

An Urgent Opportunity for All Utah Democrats

What are we waiting for?

[...] for those who wondered why you go out on a limb every once in a while to support a long-shot candidacy, one that the race-handicappers (including some of us in the Netroots) may pooh-pooh at, Charles Pierce tells a story of one such race that could have made a huge difference had a few more folks been paying attention a couple decades ago (h/t Eschaton):
In 1990, while I was in the employ of a now-defunct all-sports daily newspaper, I went to Atlanta to work on a piece about Evander Holyfield, who was preparing to fight James (Buster) Douglas for the heavyweight champeenship of the woild (!). Anyway, one night, my hotel was hosting a fundraiser for a guy named David Worley, a lawyer who was running against Newt Gingrich. What the hell, I thought, maybe the hors d'oeuvres are good. I went down to the ballroom and, in the course of extensive freeloading, I talked to a number of people from the Worley campaign who were absolutely convinced that their guy could take Gingrich down. They were extremely frosted at the Democratic National Committee, which barely bothered to return their phone calls. By the end of the evening, they even had me convinced. Turns out they were right. I made a little coin taking Worley and five points against some of the hepcat political pros of my casual acquaintance.

In case you didn't click the second link in that quoted section, as it so happened David Worley, a then 32 year-old candidate who was overlooked by the pundits and who received only a $5,000 check late in the race from the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, lost to New Gingrich in during the 1990 midterms by only about 980 of the roughly 156,000 votes cast in the Georgia district. What's more, he apparently did this not only without much of any national attention or help, he did it without having the money to advertise on television.

One need not think back even that far for examples of races coming out of nowhere to shock the race-watchers. In 2006, Carol Shea-Porter and Nancy Boyda ran decidedly outsider campaigns on track to win competitive or even reddish congressional districts in New Hampshire and Kansas, respectively. Even more recently, Democrats swept a trio of special elections during the spring in districts that tended to lean 6 to 10 points more Republican than the nation as a whole in presidential elections.

The excuse of being underfunded no longer holds water. Being in the minority, we've also seen, is no longer a viable crutch for failure. Democrats nationwide are winning where they are not expected to even poll decently. This is a real opportunity that will not sustain itself through November without grassroots support from voters.

Democratic candidates in Utah have a real opportunity this year, with dissatisfaction over Republican leadership even creeping through the walls of loyalty the GOP in this state demands. Not to mention, we have a crop of candidates engaging voters in ways wholly unique to campaigning in this state.

Consider funding the revolution, eh? Morgan Bowen, Bennion Spencer, Bob Springmeyer (who has raised over 7 grand on ActBlue alone!) and Jean Welch Hill (over $6,000 on ActBlue) have ActBlue pages just begging for a little blogger promotion and small contributor love. (Out of fairness, Jim has one too... if you feel like funding a little support for Retro-Active Immunity and Blue Dog Capitulation to Bush).

Even $10 to one of our Democrats could buy the printer cartridge that prints the flier that touches that handful of voters that tip the election blue. We read about it over and over in our RSS feeds. A recurring campaign contribution of $20 could buy the gas that gets the candidate to the speech that rallies a volunteer to register voters who tip the election. See where this is going? It's a symbiotic process of engagement, in which bloggers play an ever important roll. There is no reason we don't step up and go out on the same limb here. A single blogpost can do amazing things for a candidate's name recognition. Urging your readers into a single $25 contribution can literally get a candidate through a week of grueling campaign demands. We have an opportunity to influence the future, and quite arguably, a responsibility to take advantage of it. And if you don't have money to give, perhaps you have time to offer? Two hours, one day a week from every Democrat on the bloghive for any these candidates would make a huge difference. Possibly even the difference between putting another Democrat in office, or sending up another batch of the same old Republicans (think Rob Bishop's Voucher TeeVee Ad, and tell me that doesn't make you want to volunteer?!).

None of this is going to happen without a little help from bloggers and activists. Trust me. No rapid response apparatus exists, unless we step in and help to make it. No grassroots fundraising efforts will succeed unless all of us help with the promotion. We have some great candidates, but each and every one is fighting an uphill battle that they can win, but only with our help.

So unless you relish the thought of another 2, 4, or even 8 years of doing little more than complaining about the Republican super-majority leading our state steadily down the shoot, get involved!

1 comment:

  1. I could not help commenting on Blue Dogs in general. I am surprised that they have almost to the last man voted for a Housing Bailout Bill that will increase the deficit by $22 Billion. This is madness, and they are no fiscally responsible if they do that. This site seems to be the only one really concerned, so check it out and place some calls as I have: