Dean, Meek and the 50(100) State(County) Strategy

Dana Blankenhorn (of voic.us) muses about the leftward shift in the Democratic party ("We're All Dean-ites Now") and, along the way, gives some love to lefty community sites, including this one:

Just as important to the success of the party has been the rise of state-based sites inspired by Kos and Jerome, such as Bluegrassreport in Kentucky and BlueNC in North Carolina. It is no coincidence that these are now the two bluest states in the South -- North Carolina went from being among the reddest in 2004 to among the bluest in 2006 as Jerry Meek employed a Dean-like program. (Meek even has a "100 county" strategy to match the DNC's "50 state" effort.)

Dana gives Dean a lot of credit, though. I tend to think that America's move to the left owes as much to George as it does to Howard, but I'll take it however I can get it. I'd be interested to hear other thoughts about Dana's take on the roles played by Dean on the one hand and the netroots on the other in shaping the Democratic victories of 2006 (and 2008 :) ).

Also from Dana's blog archipelago: "North Carolina: A Model For Southern Democrats".

Comments

Naw....Meek did have a 100 County strategy

It had been mentioned in news articles before. I do think Robert had something going and I still wish there was a site that would help local candidates who don't raise a lot of money get a decent site on the web quickly. I think that was the best part of the plan - that and maybe reaching out to all the different county parties so they could discuss with each other the things that had worked for them in building their organization.

Robin Hayes lied. Nobody died, but thousands of folks lost their jobs.



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Vote Democratic! The ass you save may be your own.

SD is right.

Meek made mention of the 100 Counties strategy and I believe he has something going under the surface - which seems to be where these things have to percolate before exploding onto the surface. I will be meeting with some Orange County activists today at noon to discuss just what you suggest SD.

Where are the candidates?

Jesus Swept ticked me off. Too short. I loved the characters and then POOF it was over.
-me

Yay!

That is all I can say....Yay! I developed some very high hopes for that part of your plan after it worked its way through my brain. It will take a lot of pushing since so many candidates are not web savvy, but I think it will catch on and could be a huge help to many low budget candidacies.

Edit: Obviously, Yay wasn't all I could say. :)

Robin Hayes lied. Nobody died, but thousands of folks lost their jobs.



***************************
Vote Democratic! The ass you save may be your own.

Blogspot?

...a site that would help local candidates who don't raise a lot of money get a decent site on the web quickly.

Speaking as a guy who runs a website, you can have the kind of website you get through blogger or WordPress fairly easily, and you can do it on a free hosted service. But when you start doing anything more, the recurring costs (mostly in terms of time) skyrocket. With admonitions about wheel-reinvention in mind, what would you want a candidate site to do that you couldn't accomplish with blogger or blogsome (or similar)?

I've always been a much bigger fan of the activist network portion of Robert's scheme. I think that there's a real void there, and this is something that could happen without putting requiring several people's full-time efforts on the tech side.

I think it's more the network part of it...

putting the candidates in touch with the activists, etc. There needs to be a central location where these folks can meet virtually and it needs to be bigger tent than BlueNC. It may very well be that candidate sites are set up on blogger, but many campaigns are run by one or two people and they don't necessarily have the computer skills to handle even blogger. Remember, we were the folks who were taking notice that so few candidates had web sites. We want them to have web sites, we may be required to lead the horse and force the water down its throat....at least at first. A central area where web sites are organized/located/linked would be wonderful for the activists who are looking for someone to be active for. A web site where candidates can come and say, "I want a web site. What's the best way to go about this?" would be wonderful, especially if there was an activist handy who could walk the candidate through blogger or???

Robin Hayes lied. Nobody died, but thousands of folks lost their jobs.



***************************
Vote Democratic! The ass you save may be your own.

I agree

I think that it would be best for candidates to have a central place to go to and ask not for a website, but instead for someone who can help them with blogger (or blogsome or whatever), as you say. Given the likely variety of needs and expectations, offering hosted websites for NC candidates would require full-time staff.

And I'll say again that this job could be handled by Drupal

that is, a website like BlueNC. Require a login to do anything -- even view content. Have a static front page that explains what the site is and how it works, and then just offer a forum and contact management software full of names of people willing to be contacted by candidates (both pretty easy on Drupal). "Organizers" would have the ability to add new users to the site and to the contact database and participate in the forums. "Activists" would have the ability to update their own information in the database and participate in the forums. Candidates would have read-only access to the activist database and the ability to participate in the forums.

Sounds great!

Obviously it still takes some work. It would only take a few successes (helping launch a web site, connecting volunteers, etc) and word would spread.



***************************
Vote Democratic! The ass you save may be your own.

Remember, we were the folks

Remember, we were the folks who were taking notice that so few candidates had web sites. We want them to have web sites, we may be required to lead the horse and force the water down its throat....at least at first.

I fully agree with this, and SD, I think you hit the nail on the head here. I've done a quick review of the NC House's Membership pages and only 6 of the members include links to their personal websites. While that number may not be entirely accurate, I'm willing to bet that it is indicative; most of the members don't have personal/campaign websites. I have to believe that most of them would be interested in the websites (even if only for broadcast communications instead of conversations), but they don't know where to start.

Our best bet would be to just do it.

  • Complete the list at the Legislature's site
  • Agree on a "standard issue" website or template for the officials
  • Recruit volunteers to make variations on the themes
  • Create 100+ cookie-cutter websites on a shared host using a shared platform
  • Present a proof of concept to the officials and/or the parties with a request for funding

I agree that the best way is for people like us to just do it,

but all of these steps sound like a lot of work. If you want to volunteer to help a legislator or candidate with a website, there's nothing stopping you from picking up the phone right now and offering to set up a blogger (or similar) site. If you have the time and inclination, you might offer to set up a more complicated dynamic site on some hosted space, using something like Movable Type. But either way, you don't need an army of volunteers or 100+ cookie cutter sites or shared hosting. Or funding!

Just you, a forward-thinking legislator, and some time. It could be up and running tonight.

Maybe not tonight... I still

Maybe not tonight... I still need to watch last night's episode of Heroes.

Your point is fair and quite valid. It only takes a person, a forward-thinking legislator, and some time. But, if we had two weekends and some volunteers (5-10) to do help with the content gathering, we could set up the entire legislature.

I just think our efforts will be more successful if we make it easy for an official to get on board. It's the difference between sending an eager volunteer and sending an eager volunteer with a working website.

Maybe we could simply work

within blogger or another host and figure out some templates that are quick and easy. Like you said....basically, cookie-cutter stuff that make it easier for the candidate to add a picture and a few links and have the site up with little time and no money involved.

Robin Hayes lied. Nobody died, but thousands of folks lost their jobs.



***************************
Vote Democratic! The ass you save may be your own.

Maybe we could simply work

within blogger or another host and figure out some templates that are quick and easy. Like you said....basically, cookie-cutter stuff that make it easier for the candidate to add a picture and a few links and have the site up with little time and no money involved.

Robin Hayes lied. Nobody died, but thousands of folks lost their jobs.



***************************
Vote Democratic! The ass you save may be your own.

God!

We heard you the first time, SD!

That would be

Goddess to you, Lance.

Robin Hayes lied. Nobody died, but thousands of folks lost their jobs.



***************************
Vote Democratic! The ass you save may be your own.

Oh....followed your links

Nice. I might just have to make him one of my typepad people....and I don't have any typepad people.

Robin Hayes lied. Nobody died, but thousands of folks lost their jobs.



***************************
Vote Democratic! The ass you save may be your own.

I too thought Robert was the one that came up with

the 100 county strategy. Saw it here first before ever saw Meeks mention it. Although w pushed a lot of people to the left, Dean gave us a place to voice our concerns. Being able to find other people as concerned about the State of the Union gave me hope. Finding BlueNC, gave me direction!

No matter that patriotism is too often the refuge of scoundrels. Dissent, rebellion, and all-around hell-raising remain the true duty of patriots.

From Reddest to Bluest?

I find problems with Blankenhorn's unsupported 'reddest to bluest' claim. North Carolina Democrats have, through biased redistricting, a pro-business stance, and good governance, maintained control of the Legislature and Governor's Mansion for some time now. Of course we picked seats in the NC House and Senate, not to mention took out Taylor, but this only paints us as growing bluer, not shifting from worst to first.

I think the majority of leftward movement seen in 2006 truly was Iraq and corruption (they call it political science for a reason); Americans were tired of the lies, violence, and scandals that plagued the country on a daily basis. Dean's 50 State Strategy, and subsequently Meek/Robert's 100 County Strategy did have some affect. Democrats picked House seats in some of the truly reddest areas of the nation, and Meek's (that Meek with no 's' everyone) support of the Burma Shave campaign helped Watauga County replace some despicable members of their local government.

These strategies, coupled with a growing local presence of political information and discourse, will (hopefully) take more shape the longer they are in practice. Party infrastructure has traditionally seen its role of electing Democrats placed into Get Out the Vote efforts and other election year activity. The shift we've seen take place in the leadership of these organizations also indicates a shift in mentality to placing more emphasis on non-election year activity: base-building, voter registration (or so I hope), and other must-do strategies that will increase the abilities of the party's GOTV programs.

2006 was the perfect storm and the country, as well as myself as a Democrat, gained from it. From bottom to top, all the forces worked to our advantage (except for $90,000 in a freezer). I just hope that these far-reaching strategies, netroots involvement, etc. continue to bring new faces into the fold. I believe 2008 is going to be a tough year in that we are going to have to work harder than ever to hold our advantages in the NC General Assembly and the US Capitol, not to mention pick up the White House.

Excellent

I tend to agree . . . and am already very nervous about 2008. In my view, the top of the ticket will tell all, for better or for worse.

Blogger and candidate web sites.

I agree that it would be cheaper to use Blogger, however, there might be other options. If y'all can just hold your horses for 24 hours...can't you take a hint???

I will be meeting with some Orange County activists today at noon to discuss just what you suggest SD.

Blogger allows you to access their code, which WordPress does not, so it is a better choice for that reason. You can pick any website name you want and forward it. So, for instance...
http://www.wherearethecandidates.blogspot.com
and
http://wherearethecandidates.com
are the same site.

You also can use widgets to add just about anything you want, like an ActBlue box, feeds, blogrolls, contact sheets, html code, just about anything.

Then, you can go into the html and make it look like whatever you want. I'm still trying to figure out the three-column thing, but there are pre-designed 3-column sites available for $15!!!

On the other hand, Blogger has no databasing associated with it. So, perhaps something like Drupal really is better, or some other program. Between talking with some activists this week and Jerry Meek this weekend, hopefully we can have some ideas.

I also agree with Dan B. AND Lance, it would be better to have oen person working with one campaign to set up a website - go volunteer!!! - AND it would be better to have a group of volunteers sit down and spend a weekend creating a template site.
Where are the candidates?

Jesus Swept ticked me off. Too short. I loved the characters and then POOF it was over.
-me

Hey man...I can take a hint

dropping this subject like a hot potato

Especially since I can't even figure out blogger. I'm still using the old templates. blogger is the only one I know which is why I keep mentioning it.

Robin Hayes lied. Nobody died, but thousands of folks lost their jobs.



***************************
Vote Democratic! The ass you save may be your own.