Time to huddle

Good Morning, BlueNC. It's been ages since I voyaged onto this front page, and I want you to know I've missed you! The following was posted at Scrutiny Hooligans earlier today, and I'm posting it here as well because I would like to broaden this conversation to include everyone who cares about progressive politics in North Carolina.

Buncombe County was almost perfect last night in its election of candidates who care about progressive values like the environment, labor, and education. Heath Shuler, Martin Nesbitt, Patsy Keever, Susan Fisher, Marvin Pope, Patricia Young, Van Duncan, and the others won through cooperation and the help of a mighty county Democratic Party GOTV effort. Elaine Marshall even won in Buncombe County!

However, with the ascendancy of the GOP in the House and Senate in Raleigh and in the House of Representatives in Washington, it’s time to reflect on our progressive goals and strategies for the near term and long term. Where Republican leaders want to work together and come to common solutions, we ought to greet them with open arms while stifling our surprise. Where they want to steamroll, we ought to provide a spirited opposition.

It was going to be a tough budget year no matter who was in charge. Now it’s going to be a tough budget year led by folks who’ve promised to reduce revenue and cut services from our state government. It’s also time to redraw the lines of our electoral districts, and a monopoly on power during this process does not bode well.

I will huddle with folks at the municipal level to determine our legislative agenda going forward and to figure out what to do if legislators restrict Asheville’s revenue choices even further. I’ll huddle with social justice leaders to determine what to do if anti-marriage forces determine that bigotry ought to be enshrined in a constitutional amendment. I’ll huddle with Democratic Party leaders to plan a strengthening of our organization in the 11th Congressional District. I’ll huddle with political leaders to determine how to cope with the possibility of a decimation of our public education system, mental health services, and homelessness services.

Republican leaders in North Carolina may choose to govern by recognizing the needs of the most vulnerable among us. They may recognize the need to loosen the legislative shackles placed on Asheville. They may decide not to openly discriminate against LGBT North Carolinians. Here’s hoping. And while we wait and hope, it’s vital that we also get to work. This election is not a call for progressives to fall back, it is a call to redouble our efforts and refocus our politics.

I’ll be interested to hear your thoughts. It’s time to put ideas on the table. Criticism and gloating are acceptable, though I’ll urge you to be as constructive as you can.


I'm just curious ...

In Wake, the Dems also had very strong ground canvasing. As a non-Dem I was called for several days prior to the election by various candidates and volunteers. On election day we had a door to door canvasser and two calls where they were trying to GOTV with just hours before polls closed. I've never been canvassed so hard. So, really, I have to give that part an A for effort. As a registered Unaffiliated I'm not even a reliable vote for Dems.

Here is the other thing I noticed in Wake. Every popular radio station except NPR had ads at least 1-2 per hour for Republicans. This went on for at least two months every day, weekends and weekdays, before the election. None of these ads were paid for by the candidates. It was unavoidable when you were at work, at school, or driving. By the time the volunteer showed up at my door on Nov. 2nd everything was totally framed.

There is no way a crew of dedicated weekend warrior to election Tuesday volunteers can counter the kind of relentless framing that happened over months. And I haven't even touched the strong conservative mailing lists, where no one listens to any media other than FOX. Those voters may be unreachable for Dems anyway.

The voters that were reachable in Wake were inundated with non-candidate paid Conservative ads with heavy framing spelling doom, gloom and sometimes outright falsehoods. I wonder, how much does both houses of a mid-sized southern state's legislature cost? It was bought. I suspect it might be cheap too.

My back of the envelop calculations

suggest that Pope bought the General Assembly with about $400,000 in direct costs, backed up of course by $15 million in long-term opinion manufacturing.