OP-ED: We Can No Longer Rely on Trump-Hatred
By Stefan Jones, Washington County Democrats Communications Team Volunteer
In the months before the election, I noticed an interesting phenomenon on Twitter. Someone would report encouraging poll results — Biden up 15 points! Democrats projected to pick up 5 seats in the Senate — and then the post would get retweeted with the message “Don’t believe the polls! Pretend we are 20 points behind! Encourage people to register to vote!”
Well, they were right.
We weren’t behind 20 points, but we weren’t ahead by more than a couple of points.
If it hadn’t been for people flocking to the polls out of a sense of utter panic about Trump staying in office, Democrats would be in terrible, terrible shape right now. We had a Blue Tsunami, but it was countered by an almost-as-large Red Wave.
How did this happen?
Part of the picture is the failure of polling.
Donald Trump had far higher support than expected.
Another is that Republicans had a really good long-term in-person voter engagement and Get Out The Vote effort. They bragged about this, actually. At the time, I thought “how irresponsible, sending out door-knockers during a pandemic!” But it probably saved the day for the GOP, allowing them to keep the Senate and make gains in the House.
Democrats — specifically, local Democratic parties like the Washington County Democrats — are going to need to up their P2P engagement and canvassing game. They no longer have a personified existential threat to democracy like Donald Trump hatred to motivate people. That “gift” is gone.
They need to get people motivated about issues.
And they’re going to need to listen and find out what issues people are concerned about!
These outreach teams — we call them Neighborhood Leaders — need to establish relationships with local Democrats starting as soon as possible. A simple introduction and literature drop at first. They need to recruit volunteers to help with the 2021 off-year elections, and again in 2022. Because local and state offices are incredibly important, and in the long term nothing is going to get better in this country until progressives start building local power bases.
[Ed- You can learn how to remind your Democratic neighbors about elections and voting here. No more paper and clipboards, just an app on your phone to smoothly check everyone off your list. Because of Covid, you don’t need to talk face to face, just drop a provided flier, or text or call them during election season. Compete against your fellow NLP’s to see who can get more “stars” for your successful reminders. Before you know it, everyone in your neighborhood will be voting as a habit, even when they move away. Take pride in making your little corner of the world a steady asset for progressive causes.]
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