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?