Well, it was back to the good old days of a Zoom meeting…
I started with a discussion of redistricting. The national picture is not as dire as we feared. Yes, from gerrymandering we are losing some seats in AZ, GA, TN—but it could have been worse. And we have pickup opportunities in NY, IL, WA, and very much so in CA. Our districts are not gerrymandered, but several of the Republicans who won seats in 2020 that we had taken only in 2018 face more difficult races. They are David Valadao (CA-22 in the new numbering, formerly 21), Mike García (CA-27, ex 25), and Michelle Steele (45, ex 48). These are now all 2020–Biden districts. We might be able to swing 40 and 41 (Young Kim and Ken Calvert), except so far we don’t have serious opponents to them. Bruce Jackson said that the Wednesday state Indivisible call included discussion of finding some serious candidates to run here. We also have Dr. Kermit Jones in CA-03 (mostly the old 04), who will not be facing an incumbent although the district is difficult.
A full spreadsheet is here. (Our WordPress is too cheap to embed PDF, you will have to download.)
Naomi discussed how to start donating. The thermometer is now up for Airlift, volunteers from Marin who will split the money to about a dozen state voter registration groups. We don’t need to give to candidates yet. We need to drive voter engagement. Another, similar group, as Bruce reminded us, is the Movement Voter Project, which is similar but has an even longer menu of groups to choose from. I would be remiss not to mention the Wisconsin Democrats, who, under Ben Wikler, appear to be one of the few state parties to understand a last-minute ad blitz doesn’t cut it any more.
We are starting with action items. You can always check Activate America (née Flip the West) for postcarding or text/phone campaign. We will bring postcards back to our porch. Any ideas for a good half-card design with this slogan?
Your Vote is Your Voice
Welcome to new member Karen Cross!
Naomi recommended online resources on racism. Trevor Noah. White Fragility. 75 things White people can do for racial justice. Judy supports the Ella Baker Center.
I reviewed the polling situation for Senate races in AZ (very good), CO (very good), NC (close), and both races in GA (better than expected). The Georgia Democratic primary is tomorrow. Whichever candidates win, they are all underfunded for the General Election. Judy and I discussed how insipid Cal Cunningham’s campaign in NC is so far. The NC Senate race will be the most expensive in history. Right now, Cunningham is well behind in fundraising.
Bruce reported on Indivisible calls. We are surprised how much opposition is developing against police brutality. Indivisible recommends we pay attention to what local officials are doing, and Judy then added an announcement about an Oakland Police Commission Town Hall today. She will also be on the next Kamala Harris phone call to see what her staff is up to.
Bill gave an extensive presentation on EBAA’s candidates in Michigan, complete with maps (can you post the slides, Bill?). MI is another state (like NC, AZ) where it is both important and realistic to aim for Blue votes up and down the ballot.
I have been remiss in keeping the ActBlue page moving. I will switch it to the EBAA Michigan candidates. I will also put up a link for the Movement Voter Project. Their ActBlue page is under another name, which fooled me.
As for our own outreach work, remember—
Postcards are the Gateway Drug
Main topic of discussion was the mass media, bothsidesism, and credulity. As an example I mentioned, as great content in The New York Times, the column by Jamelle Bouie on the GOP war on voting and the treasure trove of documents showing government scientists and other officials trying to get Trump to care about the coronavirus. But there has also been some terrible content that doesn’t seem to understand the Zeitgeist: for example, one that couldn’t differentiate between the Republicans and Democrats for the polarized, angry politics of Wisconsin.
Bruce is signing us up with national Indivisible for their campaign for safe elections in the COVID–19 era.
The only current post carding campaign is for Christy Smith in the Special Election Runoff for the seat Katie Hill resigned from.
Judy Stacey’s report on conditions in the Santa Rita jail are posts of their own.
At Ann Brick’s suggestion, this month our site’s Donate page features the Voter Participation Center.
By now, you probably now, our postcards put Jill Karofsky over the top. She is winning by a shocking margin, over six points ahead as I write; likely to be eight after Madison finishes reporting. I am guessing that besides the Indivisible Elmwood crew, credit goes to Ben Wikler, new chair of the Democratic Party of Wisconsin who has been working full-time on repairing their grassroots voter turnout project.
Speaking of grassroots, Lanny pointed out that with door-to-door canvassing likely to be problematic, even those of us who prefer walking to texting and calling will have to make an adjustment.
Book club meeting: At the meeting in two weeks, I will be discussing Sarah Kendzior’s new book, Hiding in Plain Sight. Kendzior, an expert on authoritarianism, is one of those like Tim Snyder and Masha Gessen who warned us what to expect from the Trump Crime Mob. Links to get the book will be posted later.
And, also, post #1 on our new site.
Notes from our meeting on Sunday (everyone we know who does not watch the Superbowl).
- We (ok, really Andy) launched our new communications system to move us away from Facebook. If you are reading this, you have an account and logged on. It is still a work in progress but will soon have email, a blog anyone can post on (that’s this blog, you can probably edit it now) and other bells and whistles so we can all communicate about what is happening and lots will be happening.
- Bill’s message from Sister District: Do not have a nervous breakdown about Virginia. We will shortly be getting to work on our campaigns there and it is crucial that the Dems take over the state house and senate. Bill and others will be posting about these action items on our new website.
- Bruce talked about Indivisible and their work to support H.R. 1 in the House. He will have some specific action times to post for us, including letters to the editor and a meeting with Lee’s staff.
- Michael gave us a summary of the book Ratf*cked. Great to have a bit of education at every meeting and a good goad to get to work after he reported on how successful the Republican efforts to flip state houses was. It is our turn now.
- We wrote postcards to Florida (trying to get people to sign up for absentee ballots) and to Tennessee for a special election March 12th. I need someone to help me with requests from our group members for addresses and instructions since I can’t keep up with them. Anyone want to volunteer?
Next meeting: Feb 17th at our house 4:30–5:45.
Please let Andy know if you have any questions about the new website. We hope many of you will make posts as we get used to the system. As we gear up for more action, this will be very helpful.