Post Election Thoughts

Unlike many across the state, our group of Democrats was celebrating Tuesday night. Union County is so red that it is hard to get a Democrat elected even in a local non-partisan race, so when we took the lone county-wide, at-large school board race, a district school board race, and the county-wide soil and water commissioner supervisor race...well...let's just say all hell broke loose at headquarters. Thank goodness we didn't have alcohol available or I might have matched Dallas Woodhouse drunken slur for drunken slur.

While we are still gathering and analyzing data, I do have a few thoughts to share. Maybe we can get a valuable dialogue going from some of these.

  • We have taken a shotgun approach to voter registration that wastes the time and money of local parties and campaigns as we try to get people to the polls who have no interest in or intention of ever voting. I think the Democratic advantage is far narrower in North Carolina than numbers suggest.
  • VoteBuilder has improved dramatically, making it easier to target those who have voted at least once. County party officials need to learn how to fully use VoteBuilder and they should insist that any person in their county party who has access, takes the training.
  • The DNC / NCDP needs to merge VoteBuilder with reliable phone databases. That is one area where VB is really weak - accuracy of phone numbers.
  • There are still too many Jessecrats in my precinct.
  • Republicans are still successful motivating through fear and hate. Democrats suck at fear and hate. Do we even want to be good at it? Can we win without it? I'm not sure.
  • ForwardNC promised they would communicate with our local party and they lived up to that promise. We had problems with OFA in 2012 not treating our volunteers very well and we didn't want a repeat of that. I did not hear one complaint this year. Not one.
  • Lit drops that do not target likely Democratic voters are a waste of time, energy, money, and resources. This is especially true in a red county like Union, where there are very few, if any, "moderate" voters. We are a very polarized county. Republicans are not persuadable voters and ForwardNC was targeting Republicans up until the very end...just like the Hagan campaign did in 2008. It was a flawed strategy from the beginning.
  • Our volunteer base is aging. We have got to find a way to bring younger Dems into more active roles.
  • Kay Hagan got 32k votes in Union County in 2008 with huge Democratic turnout in a presidential election year that held unprecedented excitement. Elaine Marshall got 15k votes in Union County in 2010 in a non-presidential year. Kay Hagan got 19k votes in 2014 in a non-presidential year, which actually is pretty good...and yet, we feel terrible because of...percentages. Think about it. Our resources haven't improved because the party has no money to share with the loss of tax checkoff funds. Our volunteer base hasn't grown much. We lost early voting days. We lost same-day registration. County parties are limited on how much money we can spend in federal election years. ForwardNC was organized and professional, but nothing like the size of OFA's organization, and they were working with far less money. District organizations had no money with loss of tax checkoff and most county parties had less money. Still, our volunteers who worked with ForwardNC and those who worked with the county party GOTV efforts worked our fannies off to get an additional 4k votes for Kay Hagan. The effort didn't work for Kay, but it did help three excellent local candidates in their races. I refuse to feel like we failed.
  • Finally, Democratic candidates have to stand for something. Being moderate isn't going to win crossover Republican votes and it isn't going to excite your base to vote for you. Dear Goddess in heaven above, please stand for something and communicate it clearly and with passion.

That's all for now. Any thoughts?



The electorate has changed in NC

there are very few moderates and those who claim to be so are going to base their decision on what you stand for...not whether you call yourself a moderate. Stand for something and let the chips fall where they may.

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

Here is a winner for anyone in the Triad thinking of running...

put the damn power lines underground. If we have one more ice storm, (we are right on the eastern edge of the snow line and on the western edge of rain) I will run myself and talk about nothing but that issue. Just don't wait for an R to do it! first!

Just because someone is registered "UNA"...

...doesn't make them a moderate. That is a mistake that many consultants make - but it enriches them in the end.

Many of the UNA voters vote one way or the other, but they don't want to be labeled as such. They might be UNA for a job - many Dems who work in state, county or local government re-registered as UNA to prevent them being picked on when the majority shifted over.

But many are just uninspired and just don't give a damn. What can we do to make them give a damn? Get better organized and have candidates running on real pocketbook issues that will improve their lives and the lives of their family and friends if they get elected. In other words, we need candidates who will really work to turn our platform into public policy when they get elected. And we need a party that is organized from the grassroots on up who can communicate that message to voters at the precinct level.

I agree that VB's phone numbers suck. I tried to contact a county Chair and saw that she had three different phone numbers in VB. Each one had the same last 7 digits, but had a different area code. Perhaps we have too many people with VB access that don't care about the accuracy of the data they input? I remember that a friend of mine was listed in VB as being a precinct officer in her mother's precinct (where she didn't live) even though county and state BOE had her registered at residential address.

I organized my precinct and got out the vote, and kept 20 other precincts out of a total of 24 in my House District organized using only BOE data downloaded into an MS Excel spreadsheet well before I had VB access. I can't create the number of turfs I need in VB to give a walk list to my 50 volunteers, but I can do that in Excel. VB seems to be election-centric, and not very useful for partybuilding except as a way to look up phone numbers - and then it's not all that accurate.

Chris Telesca
Wake County Verified Voting

Democrats don't need to

Democrats don't need to duplicate GOP efforts to drive voters through fear and hate, but we do need to improve our messaging. So much of our choice of words seems to be driven by a need to impress a dissertation advisor rather than to reach people. And we need to learn that it is okay to use emotion in our messaging. We can do better.

I have to add

we only had three local Dems running. All three won. Now, the two school board candidates ran excellent campaigns and had very strong campaign organization. It isn't like we carried them. They really did just about everything right. The At-Large School Board race was tight and probably having her on the Dem slate card helped her win, but other than that tiny bit of help she really didn't need us. (I don't mean that in a negative way. I'm extremely impressed with these two first-timers' campaigns.)

We also had a state house candidate - very strong - but she did not embrace the Democratic Party. She did very well with crossover votes, but really didn't excite the base. You just can't pull that off in a first campaign with low name recognition. I hope she will run again because she really would be an excellent representative for the area.

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

Person county went back to the stone age or ...

... at least the 19th century. 2 R's defeated 2 D's for county commissioner seats and we lost our state house seat to a knee jerk, former R county commissioner. First time that has happened in decades. I am glad I moved to Chapel Hill. I am still having trouble with Burr and Tillis as our senators. Burr at least is worthless in that he doesn't do anything except vote for whatever McConnell wants him to vote for. Tillis just might try to be an active sort of senator and bring his NC agenda to the national stage.

Dems should realize that midterms are not our thing. I think I heard that a majority of the electorate last week was over 60 and white. On the plus side, I read one article that said the real winner of the 2014 midterms was Hillary Clinton. I really will not mind taking this beating this year if we can keep the White House in 2016. It is likely that the next president will get to appoint 2 SCOTUS seats, conservative seats. With the senate back in the D column we she could swing the court to the left for a decade plus then Citizens United could go bye bye and gerrymandering just might take a hit or two.

Locally and statewide, young people are the answer ... gotta get, and keep, them involved. That and refining GOTV using Votebuilder.

I actively oppose gerrymandering. Do you?

Give them a reason to vote.

Democrats lost because the party/politicians did not give voters a reason to support them. The Democratic base is not enough. The working class stayed home, I do not blame them. Why take the time and effort to vote if it will not make any real difference. The fact is the U.S. economy has been run by conservatives/neoliberals the last 30 years. We are living under the results of their policies and they will eventually hurt enough of us. That has not happened yet, it will. The Democratic Party has moved to the Right as the Republican Party has moved to the Far Right.. Like a dog chasing it's tail it can never go far enough, it may be fun to watch but the dog will eventually bite itself. The Democrats are licking their wounds today. I want a Democratic Party that fully supports traditional Democratic values - Not run from them.--- I wrote this soon after the election and first posted it to a friends Facebook post. RH

Well said

Thank you for posting it here.

It used to be possible for a Dem to win in a conservative area by running slightly to the right of the party. The party has moved so far right that candidates have nowhere to run unless they want to run as a Republican.

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

The centrist inclination - Blue Dog redux

I cannot imagine when we have taken beating after beating, why anyone wants to vector the Democratic Party to the right, to the big money. Yes, I know, this is where the money is, they say, and they want, need, crave, etc. the money, until it is to hell with everything. I gave Hagan money but I promised her more if she would resign from the Third Way, another brain fart by Al From, the founder of DLC and PPI.

I think the Democratic Party would do well to adopt, yet again, the Four Freedoms from Roosevelt:
Freedom of speech
Freedom of worship
Freedom from want
Freedom from fear

Fully carried out, it addresses the issues of today, white supremacy, inequality, the terrors of the GOP, and most else. It is simple, direct and one can easily extrapolate from it, the types of equality and care for others that I thought Democrats stood for. But, we have among us those with a lust for money and power.

THE SECOND COMING, W. B. Yeats: (first stanza)

Turning and turning in the widening gyre
The falcon cannot hear the falconer;
Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
The best lack all conviction, while the worst
Are full of passionate intensity.

Somehow, we need to reverse this and have the best full of passionate intensity and the worst driven off. Money will not solve the problem for Democrats, only the proper use of people, of which it has plenty will, if led wisely by people not consumed by a drive for power and wealth. If that is progressiveness, so be it, but progressive is not a dirty word, save among the ignorant.

The prospect of Clinton, with the Democratic Billionaire Brigade really bothers me, because in the end, we cannot outspend the Republicans at present, and should not. But her advocates, who feel cheated with Obama, will be even more frenzied and rabid, welcoming money from people who want to buy the Democratic Party. So, caution. Which means we have to work hard and smart building a durable party, one which does not crumble easily and can withstand not only assaults from without, but from within as has happened recently.

Only we can do this, as a community, including everyone and attracting the independents. But not because of money.