Back in-person business

We haven’t seen each other in a long, long time. We are putting in-person Indivisible Elmwood back on the schedule, with an initial meeting for May 23, 4:00 pm at the usual safe house. Naomi and I are both fully-vaccinated (Pfizer). We expect all of you are, too. Yes, there will be chocolate brownies. And a lot to catch up on. RSVP.

Virginia House of Delegates

“Isn’t this where we came in?”

Four years ago, we were getting the Virginia Democrats into within a coin-flip of state control. Now it is time to defend and extend.

I have volunteered, via Bluebonnet, to do data diving for Ben Moses, the Democratic candidate for the 59th House of Delegates [Assembly] district. He’s an M.D. and served as an Army doctor. Great bio. This district is in green on the map. No cities, and the only town you have heard of is Appomattox, where Robert E. Lee surrendered.

VA HD-59

This is a tough district, the eleventh-most Trumpy out of one hundred. But the Republican incumbent has convictions for DUI, illegal hunting, and minor weapons violations. He is also a pathetic fundraiser who may have to be bailed out by the larger party, taking away contributions that could go elsewhere.

I don’t want to reveal the Moses campaign’s plans and inner workings, but it is a matter of public record that he has already raised more than the Democrat from last cycle, with six months to go. This is the first time the Democrat has serious professional organizing. I am considering hosting a fundraiser for him as an Indivisible Elmwood event. Who would be interested?

Of course, the candidates we have supported before, Alex Askew and Nancy Guy, also need funds for their re-election. However, Joe Biden carried their districts by about 10 points. They need to get identified Democrats who have voted before to go to the polls. Moses needs to turn out infrequent and new voters, which will be more expensive.

SB 271 for better Sheriffs

Senator Scott Wiener (D-San Francisco) has introduced SB 271, the Sheriff Democracy and Diversity Act, to allow all registered voters to run for Sheriff — reverting back to the eligibility requirements in place from 1850 until 1989.

“Liberal” Alameda County has a particularly bad sheriff, a Republican friend of ICE, manager of notoriously abusive Santa Rita Jail, and promoter of militarized policing. A major reason is the 1988 requirement that restricted sheriff candidates to law enforcement officers in reaction to the 1980 election of reformist prison lawyer Michael Hennessy as Sheriff of San Francisco.

Indivisible Elmwood has nominated SB 271 to California State Strong for endorsement by the state Indivisible organization. The coalition supporting this bill now seeks endorsements and support letters from all possible organizations, professional associations, religious congregations, local governing bodies, institutions, etc. Please promote this bill widely. Contact Judith Stacey: judith.stacey@nyu.edu for additional information, to arrange a zoom, and/or to provide a support letter or endorsement. Thank you so much.

Weiner’s full press release.

Fact Sheet.

Sample support letter.

We win Georgia x 2

I doubt any of you are waiting for Indivisible Elmwood to make its declaration, but we have flipped both Senate seats in Georgia. Senator Raphael Warnock. Senator Jon Ossoff. Not entirely how I expected the Democrats to regain control of the Senate! Al Gross didn’t come close and the insipid Cal Cunningham made the always-fatal mistake of cheating on his mistress.

We sent a great deal of money, postcards, letters, texts, and phone calls to help make this happen. The margins are close. Every act helped. Sometimes you get the miracle.

On the fraudulent claims of fraud in Michigan

Far better than the average article in Politico, Tim Alberta gives us the timeline of the ginned-up fraud claims in Michigan, stopped when one small-town conservative lawyer clearly said: No.

Sample

And when [Republican Senate candidate John James] says he’s troubled that half of Michigan’s voters feel they were cheated, he would do well to remember that he was the one telling them they got cheated in the first place.

Tim Alberta, The Inside Story of Michigan’s Fake Voter Fraud Scandal

Some first lessons from the election

About five minutes after I closed our Election Night Zoom fifty years ago (or so it feels), Atlanta reported its first results and the NY Times Georgia needle lurched from +1 Trump to +0.4 Biden. (The final result is +0.2 Biden.) My mood brightened, and by the time I went to sleep, early next morning, Wisconsin and Michigan had counted enough for Biden to have pulled even.

Nothing, however, saved our down ballot results. We lost all the toss-ups, and some we were expected to win. I can’t pretend to have definitive answers, but partial results follow, of which the most important, for Indivisible purposes, is the first.

We thought that more voter engagement and higher turnout were unequivocally positive signs.

And this is false. Turnout was the best in a century—but! We discovered there was still a huge reservoir of pro-Trump voters who had not voted in 2016. Biden lost Texas (not close) with more votes than Trump got there in 2016 (not close either). Trump got more votes than Obama ever did, and I believe in every state we flipped, Trump ran better in defeat than he had winning in 2016.

Democrats seem split about whether to get even more infrequent but pro-D voters to the polls (youth turnout was still only ~55%), trying to win over rural white Trump voters, or (my preference) discouraging rural white voters enough they revert to non-voting.

As someone who formerly believed this postulate, I don’t know what to say: I think it is important we try to increase political participation and have a better-informed citizenry, but about half of the increase is from citizens who are “informed” by Newsmax, Facebook, and other disinformation sewers.

To keep things in perspective, the reversal of the 2018 Wave leaves the situation we expected after the 2016 election.

That is, a moderate-sized Presidential Victory, a narrow House majority, and a very close Senate. Unfortunately, we have to hope this is enough to start undoing the damage of the Trump Regime.

We were partially a victim of our own polling leads

Late-in-cycle polls showed R down ballot candidates improving, apparently as Republicans against Trump decided Biden was going to win and they could cast their usual ballot, except for President.

Democratic messaging still needs work

Bruce is, of course, correct that Defund the Police is an idiotic slogan and a gift to the Republicans. Biden repudiated it, but it was still out there enough to be used in anti-D ads. What makes this doubly annoying is that a majority of the country thinks we have serious problems with policing as currently constituted. Better slogans on the same issue could have been used as positives.

The Cunningham and Gideon campaigns are coming in for special messaging criticism, too much of the old “Watch me work across the aisle” nonsense that hasn’t worked for Democrats since the dawn of time: see Donnelly (IN), MacGrady (NC-09 twice), etc. Of course, Cunningham made the same terrible error as Gary Hart: he cheated on his regular mistress, who then blabbed to the press.

Outreach to Spanish-speaking voters failed in Florida and especially Texas

Before jumping to the wrong conclusion, note that there was no similar failure in Arizona and Nevada. Beto O’Rourke has written on what he thinks went wrong. (Note that when AOC, Beto, and sacrificial lamb Doug Jones all make similar comments about party errors, they are probably on to something.) I’ve heard that our Spanish-language ads were late and few, which can not be blamed on lack of money: Democrats everywhere had plenty of money. Some of the problem was R willingness to ignore the coronavirus and do canvassing as usual in areas that need it. This may help us down the road by killing off more of their volunteers and supporters. In Florida, I’ve heard that the D are too associated with “socialism”, while on the other hand Bernie Sanders did better-than-average there, so, hmmm. Historians of race relations point out that one way groups like Cuban and Venezuelan immigrants might assimilate into the dominate, white American society is by joining in oppression of African Americans, following a path trod by German, Irish, and Italian immigrants generations back. Let’s see what we can learn looking at the results more closely. And, let’s clone Stacey Abrams and send her to Miami-Dade, the Rio Grande Valley, and North Carolina, because she will find any voters we can get but haven’t.

Let’s Go Georgia

Grab some caffeine –time to get back to work!

Bill has 2000 postcard addresses. Email. Georgia address are as popular as Beanie Babies back in the day; ask soon or they will be sold out. We still have postcards on our porch if you need a refill. Let us know so we can replenish if needed.

Vote Forward opened a letter-writing campaign. Please note, if you go to that page, they have revised instructions for content.

There are a great many excellent organizations working in Georgia. Ossoff campaign. Warnock campaign. Stacey Abrams’ Fair Fight. Abrams also has a 501(c)3 organization, Fair Count, for tax-deductible donations. Black Voters Matter is also, apparently, a 501(c)3.

Transition Time

Indivisible Elmwood was founded to get rid of Trump, and that mission has been accomplished. The national Indivisible organization was a great help posting their guide, not so much to work out a set of policies, but helping Democrats gather and fight. Indivisible Berkeley is disbanding, while Indivisible East Bay plans to continue organizing.

We will gather for a discussion about our future Sunday, November 22, 4:30–5:45. Zoom link.

Georgia runoff donation & volunteer opportunities

I received this link-rich email. Anything that starts with Stacey Abrams has to be on the right track.


This is a fairly comprehensive list if you’re interested in getting involved in the Georgia senate races beyond donating directly to the candidates Jon Ossoff and Raphael Warnock.

  1. Support Anchor Georgia Organizations. Stacey Abrams and allies have been building the infrastructure to turn Georgia blue for over a decade. It’s finally happening and we need to keep investing. Some key groups recommended by our advisors:
    • The New Georgia Project: (501c3, 501c4) We have a short window to maximize voter registration before  the December 7th Voter Registration deadline. The New Georgia Project is the lead partner on Georgia Voter Registration. Since Stacey Abrams founded the organization in 2013, they have already registered 400,000 Georgians. NGP is an ambitious effort working to transform GA’s political landscape. 
    • Fair Fight (501c4, PAC) / Fair Count (501c3): Fair Fight was founded by Stacey Abrams in the wake of her 2018 Governors race to fight for voting rights in Georgia and around the country. They have launched an emergency fund to ensure Georgians have the resources they need in the January 5, Senate Runoff Elections. The fund will invest in critical voter protection and GOTV efforts.
    • Black Voters Matter Fund (501c3, 501c4): Black Voters Matter Fund is dedicated to expanding Black voter engagement and increasing progressive power. Increasing voter registration and turnout is an important aspect of building power, but this is just the beginning of their work.
  2. Support Georgia’s Grassroots Organizations. BIPOC organizers working in the key swing states delivered democrats the presidential election — we need to double down on our support to dozens of grassroots BIPOC-led orgs now to make sure they have the support needed to help us win the senate, including:
    • Song Power (501c3, 501c4): SONG Power equips justice-loving Southerners to bring about liberation in our lifetime. SONG Power pushes policy demands; organizes thousands of LGBTQ Southerners to support progressive policies and candidates; and builds Southern movement infrastructure.
    • Asian American Advocacy Fund Atlanta (501c3, 501c4): AAAF is the nation’s largest legal and civil rights organization dedicated to building a politically-conscious, engaged, and progressive Asian American base in Georgia.
    • Georgia Shift (501c3, 501c4): Georgia Shift gives marginalized young people a seat at the table of democracy through civic media, hands-on education, and action. They envision a Georgia where marginalized young people are a fundamental driver of political impact and policy at every level of government.
  3. Support Key National Organizations. Below are four national organizations that run highly effective programs in the Georgia general mobilizing key constituencies for the senate race. 
    • Alliance for Youth Action (501c4)- It is critical that we engage young people of color in Georgia whose votes were critical to the narrow margins of victory last week. AYA is building an expanded text, mail, and phone program for GOTV and ballot chase to ensure young Georgians can vote in the runoffs. The program will target nearly 800,000 non-white Gen Z and Millennial voters. 
    • Care in Action (501c4)- Care in Action works on behalf of women of color – especially domestic workers – to build the civic power of this critical segment of our electorate. They have been engaged in deep organizing in Georgia since the 2018 midterms and will scale their program for the senate race.
    • Black Male Voter Project (501c4)-  BMVP engages Black men in the political process, focusing on shifting the voting habits of Black men and increasing the number of super voters through intentional and authentic one-on-one conversations and relational organizing.
    • Mijente (501c4)- A vibrant hub for Latinx and Chicanx organizing, Mijente combines cultural, electoral, and issue organizing to advance a broad agenda of social justice in solidarity with other oppressed communities.

How to Volunteer:

We know many people want to contribute time as well as funds to win in GA. More volunteer options are being organized now and will be available in the coming weeks. Right now, Fair Fight is planning a virtual Runoff GOTV Weekend of Action Phone and Text Bank for 11/14-15 for volunteers across the country.