Naomi, Bruce, Babette, and Jane went out to College & Ashby in protest of the reversal of Roe. (Other truly awful decisions surrounded it, and more are yet to come.) We have a picture. Our son Gideon made a guest protest appearance from Brooklyn, but isn’t in the shot because he took it.
We are meeting July 3, back in the usual location. Those of you who took Vote Forward letters, we would like to get them back to start preparing for mailing.
As I promised, I faxed Senator Feinstein’s staff demanding she retire. All she could manage on Roe was a short written statement. The thought that California’s senior senator, a lifelong feminist and advocate of choice, can’t go to a microphone any more is both tragic and exasperating.
For those of you who do not want to join the other protests (Oakland protest is 5:00 at Frank Ogawa Plaza), some of us are gathering at College and Ashby at 5:00 to distribute info about getting involved in elections. Join us if you are free and in the neighborhood.
Many thanks to our short-notice replacement hosts.
I started with a discussion of current prospects for Senate (pretty good) and House (major improvement needed nationwide). My remarks on California are further down the post.
Sister District has an analysis of the value of postcards and letters based on their own experiments plus others’. Let‘s say the results are scattered. The best result was a postcard campaign to sporadic Democratic voters. One campaign showed equally poor results for letters and postcards: neither improved turnout. Tony the Democrat is more upbeat and less scientific, seeing postcarding as an intermediate step between mass emails (useless) and targeted social media networks (effective). He cites this paper from Yale. And Vote Forward has surveys showing significant turnout improvement from their “hybrid” (part pre-printed, part handwritten) campaign, better than any postcard campaign. I guess you pays your money and you takes your choice.
As requested, Obama’s interview in The Atlantic. It may be paywalled.
We are resetting our Act Blue thermometer. New recipients are Carolina Federation, which is working hard for progressives across the board in North Carolina, and the campaign funds of the Michigan and Arizona State House Democrats. In a good year, we can flip those.
Some of our incumbents looks good. Katie Porter (CA-47) got over 50% by herself. Mike Levin (CA-49) had 49% and a random Democrat had another 2%. Similarly, in CA-09, Josh Harder had only 39%, but the Dems together had 52%. In CA-27, Christy Smith’s third run against Mike Garcia starts with only 37% (Garcia had 47%), but the Dems combined had 50%.
There are other districts where we came close, but we need to run 5 points better in November. Kermit Jones (CA-03) was first with 40, but Dem total was only 46. Activate America is pumping Will Rollins (CA-41); he got 46 against MAGA incumbent Ken Calvert, but he was the only Democrat on the ballot. Rudy Salas’ run against David Valadao (CA-22) netted 45 in the primary, but he was the only Democrat. Valadao does have the weakness that he voted for impeachment and some constituents will rather leave the race blank. Conservadem Adam Gray cashed in on endorsements and placed second in CA-13 with 31. Add in Phil Arballo’s 17, makes 48. Less promising: Jay Chen (CA-45) is a great candidate by both résumé and on the issues, but he had only 43 to incumbent Michelle Steele’s 48, and the third candidate was a Republican. And expect to see fundraising by Asif Mahmood who finished first with 41 against Young Kim (CA-40), but he was the only Democrat. Kim had MAGAs running to her right.
In Los Angeles, once (almost) all the votes were in, Karen Bass was 7 ahead of Rick Caruso for Mayor of Los Angeles. This is one of several races where the Election Night punditry was confused by the continuing annoying habit of liberals to vote late—Caruso was almost even then. The recall of Chesa Boudin led to a lot of stories about crime backlash, but then all the other progressive DA candidates did really well, including Pamela Price here in Alameda County. I’m putting in a map of the Boudin recall vote. If someone can explain it to me, I would appreciate the help.
We are reaching the point where the Democrats have to start some sort of campaign to turn the House midterms around. Depending on Liz Cheney doesn’t seem like the best plan.
So I was pleased, in a certain way, to see my friend the economist Brad DeLong recommend this piece by Micah Sifry, about whom I know little. (His bio mentions being on the board of Consumer Reports, for whatever that is worth.) The point is that the Dems have to make politics back into a social experience, not try to flood the zone with more and more expensive TV ads.
The national Democratic party is like the Titanic with the iceberg in sight but no ability to steer, struggling to govern with a very narrow majority in Congress and failing to connect much with voters.… This rings true to me. Politics as it is practiced today, in the form of messaging wars on television and online, is just too far from most people’s lives. A well-made ad may “go viral” on social media and generate campaign cash, but there’s not much evidence voters pay much attention or get persuaded by paid media.…[A progressive consultant] goes on to describe what that needs to look like: “Candidates and party committees should be spending time doing things like sponsoring community events like [Ohio Senator] Sherrod Brown’s ‘movie nights,’ which he does in the old movie theaters of Ohio’s mid-sized towns, where the theme is to build community spirit and togetherness…
Micah Sifry: Messaging Won’t Save Democrats; Community Might
Lots of juicy stuff to discuss, the CA primary, the fall of Sheriff Ahern, the hearings, and more! Andy will analyze the primary results (from several other states as well) then short presentations on readings will begin with Naomi on important book Politics is for Power by Eitan Hersh — everyone is invited to talk about something they have read recently on politics.
Then we will discuss our action agenda, including canvassing plans. Hopefully the primary and the hearings will have motivated everyone to roll up their sleeves and get moving. Everyone welcome.