Campaign donations for local candidates in deep "Red Districts" is not a waste of resources.
AFTERSHOCK: FEAR AND ISOLATION
After the election of Trump, I, like many of us, felt a sense of shock, even a feeling of isolation. Once that sensation wore off anger welled up. I was angry at my friends who I know voted for Trump, family members as well. How could they not see what Trump was? I spent time here on Kos sharing my anger, even engaging in the Bernie v Hillary wars that are still raging on this site today.
That all ended in late January. I was working out some anger, arguing about the need for us to at least listen to “Red America” in order to move forward electorally. The thread I was on pretty much took the attitude, to hell with them if they could not be bothered to stop Trump. Look, I am and remain sympathetic to that anger, I truly am, but even then I argued against abandoning them. I shot back with what I thought was hyperbole with something about, “well if we keep that mindset up Republicans will just be able to amend the Constitution. No more reproductive rights, no more marriage equality, no more voting rights, no more social security, you name it, GONE.”
Like I said, I was making a hyperbolic argument. I mean sure, Republicans control a lot of state legislatures but the blue states are safe. Aren’t they? Yeah, no worries there, the blue states are safe. But are they? Yes, they are. Are you sure? This back and forth rattled around my brain that night to the point I got up the next morning and dug into the numbers. That proved to be a revelatory, life-changing moment for me. Republicans are only 24 state legislative seats away from being able to change the Constitution any way they like. I was not making a hyperbolic argument, I was ringing an alarm bell and did not even know it at the time.
A LIFE CHANGING REVELATORY EXPERIENCE
I will not bore you with the details on how it all works and how it can happen. I have already done that on numerous occasions, but if you do not believe me check out this post I did on it a while back. Once I had this epiphany I asked myself what I could do to change this, how could I work to stop it from happening? With encouragement with folks from Virginia (more on them later) I launched The Full Slate Project to encourage Democrats to run in every state legislative race in every blue or red district, even the deep red ones.
It has been an interesting journey. I have been surprised by a great many things along the way. There are a certain number of people who think the idea of running even in the deep red districts is just plain a bad idea for a multitude of reasons. Then I hear from people that feel abandoned in their “Red State District” who the only Democrats to appear on their ballots at all were Hillary Clinton and Tim Kaine. They are drawn to my message because they feel left behind, they feel alone and isolated. As I mentioned, I felt a sense of isolation after Trump’s victory and I live in deep blue Portland Oregon. Imagine how someone in central Nebraska must feel when no Democrat runs for a local race. That must be a terribly isolating feeling.
THERE IS A LOT OF INSPIRING WORK BEING DONE ACROSS AMERICA
What I have learned however is that there are great leaders now stepping up everywhere. And what I have observed in Virginia has been truly inspiring. One of the many leaders I have had the pleasure of speaking with on my journey so far is Kim Drew Wright.
She was one of those people living in a “red district” who felt alone after the election of Trump. After a day or two, she decided to launch a Facebook group in hopes of finding a few local like-minded people in the area to get to know, maybe have coffee with from time to time. Just an effort to not feel so isolated. Today she leads an organization called Liberal Women for Chesterfield County. An organization of locals 2,300 strong. Just this morning she announced an initiative to “money bomb” the house of delegates candidates in Chesterfield County. That post is worth the read. It prompted me to write this post in fact.
In fact, many of the House district seats have been held Red for decades and regularly run uncontested by Democrats. Not this year. This year all 8 House District seats that come into Chesterfield County have a Democratic candidate. That has never happened since the current districts in the county have been in place. The numbered districts geographic lines have changed drastically through the decades, but the last time all 8 of those numbered districts ran a Democratic candidate was 1963.
You read that right. It has been 54 years since Democrats have challenged every seat in Chesterfield County. It is amazing to see so many great people step up to contest these races. People like Kim Drew Wright and all of these candidates give me hope that we can turn this thing around. That it is not too late.
NOT ONLY IS IT INSPIRING, IT REPRESENTS AN ALMOST UNIQUE OPPORTUNITY TO MULTIPLY IMPACT
The great thing about these races is they come a year ahead of the Congressional Campaign. Why is that important? Because, if we rally around these House of Delegates campaigns with our financial support the impact of our donations will be multiplied.
If you contribute $5 to each of the 8 campaigns in that district I would argue you turn that $40 into far more than that over the election this fall and next year. Your $40 donation would have the impact of $80 at least, I would argue even more. Here is why:
- These house of Delegates candidates will be able to put that $5 to work right away. Right there, the use they can make of that $5 makes it worth it.
- That said, the relationships they build in many of these red areas will help out the Congressional campaign next year. It will give the party a much-needed head start into running more effective congressional campaigns in the county. That groundwork alone at a minimum doubles the value of your $40 contribution to the impact of $80.
Honestly, some of these races will be difficult to win. No doubt there. But investment in these candidates is still important. If we support these candidates so they can run effective campaigns we support the creation of a nearly invaluable resource for our Congressional candidates. 8 battle tested, well-trained surrogates WITH genuine local relationships to leverage into support and votes for our congressional candidates. The value of having a team of experienced candidates supporting our Congressional nominees will be an incredible advantage to us moving forward. The value of that is nearly immeasurable.
SUPPORT THESE CANDIDATES AND THEIR INSPIRING CAMPAIGNS AND READ KIMS POST
So put your money to great use, support Kim Drew Wright’s call for dropping a “money bomb” for the House of Delegates Candidates in Chesterfield County. Even a small contribution in the most difficult of districts will yield positive results for our cause. Let’s rally behind this effort today! Let’s take the fight to “Red America.” Let’s throw a lifeline to those like-minded folks in these areas.
I keep hearing stories from candidates and organizers in these red areas of Virginia about neighbors coming together and realizing they are not alone for the first time in years. Help these candidates build upon that momentum this year, it will pay huge dividends come next year for sure.