5 is the magic number: Precinct meetings today in NC



It's not so bad. I was a county chair from 2003-2009

I worked my tail off and had plenty of help, but it did pay off. It's amazing what a few dedicated people can do. Try to attend your county convention if not district and state. There always seems to be a few juicy resolutions that spark some fun debate. Anyways, congratulations.

I actively oppose gerrymandering. Do you?

Congrats and thank you for posting this.

I have organized my precinct for several years and it is always better to have a little help. I think you will find that any tool you can find for getting out a message to your group is precious. I joined a neighborhood chat to post our meeting notice and that may prove useful. Also if people will give their cell #, texting would be great.

Our meeting is next Sunday. It's always exciting to meet some new Democrats who live close by.

We had 7 or 8 local precincts

involved at Saturday's meeting, and only one didn't have enough people to organize. But those three people kicked in $140 to the sustaining fund, so I guarantee they're going to get two more folks to help them qualify.

It was a good day, and I'm looking forward to the County Convention April 8th. Not one step back.

Vice Chair

I was vice chair of my precinct for a few years. Mostly we did voter registration drives/door knocking in our neighborhood, passed out literature, a few GOTV phone banking efforts, made some calls to get people out to meetings, took voter reg forms to all the apartment offices in our precinct encouraging them to include them in their welcoming packets for any new residents, and tried to send people to county meetings.

We passed a few resolutions on up too. We did some voter reg at a high school in our district. And once we held a meet and greet for a county commissioner who was running for a seat in the General Assembly who ended up winning that race. We didn't as a group go to as many rallies, protests, or other causes/meetings as we might have though, I think that would have been an area for growth and cross-issue work.

That's not actually a lot of work when you spread it out across a couple of years, with maybe one meeting or action per month with the occasional month off. But when you imagine that small groups of people are doing the same across the state, you can see how it could really add up.

Since moving to Winston-Salem, I'll be going to my first precinct meeting here next week. It'll be interesting to see how they do it here as compared to Orange, Durham, and Wake where I've lived in the past. Best wishes to you Mr. 1st Vice Chair!

Thank you, Jake

I'm glad I (finally) decided to get involved in the Party structure itself. I mean, I've been involved on the communication side, and trying to define/refine the character of the Party, for several years. There's something to be said for being able to step back and look at the bigger picture, especially if that picture is starting to get blurry. But it's hard to take the pulse of rank-and-file Democrats from only that perspective.

One thing I have noticed (today, too): There's a whole lot of energy and angst focused around Trump, and very little focused on our General Assembly. That needs to change.

Speaking of new leadership - DNC Chair

I wrote this up in response to a friend posting about the DNC chair race on facebook. And then I thought, hey I spent a fair amount of time writing this up, why not cross-post it on Blue NC. Because surely more people are dying to hear my perspective, right? ;)

I was definitely pulling for Ellison, but I also feel we need a big enough tent as a party to have a civil rights, LGBT rights, and immigration rights advocate in it too. Having Latino chair at a time of all the "build that wall" and "deportation force" and ice raid hatred that's going around is important too.

The GOP has gerrymandered and voter suppressioned their way into needing less votes across the state to get more seats. Democrats can't take things back with narrow majorities, and even with overwhelming majorities it would be a challenge. So we have to grow the party a lot. I'm glad Perez pushed for Ellison as Vice Chair.

I've never viewed this race as a rehash of the Bernie wing and Hillary wing of the party. If anything it struck me as closer to a Bernie wing and Obama wing kind of thing with it being Obama's Secretary of Labor who ended up getting the most votes. But even that I don't think really captures it.

There are other reasons around the edges that are worth exploring, but I think the single largest factor that explains what has been happening in national politics this decade is the 2010 racist backlash to Obama combined with the Koch brother money fueling heavy GOP wins in a low turnout midterm redistricting election year. And that in turn lead to gerrymandering and voter suppression efforts that have been taking a drastic toll on the party, with no easy way to get around. That has wiped out some of the most moderate and conservative Democrats all across the country.

That's not going to be easy to overcome no matter who is chair. I recall Democracy NC's analysis was that voter suppression affected up to 50k votes in a race that Tillis won for Senate by about 30k votes if I remember correctly. The Democratic Party in NC passed much more progressive policies including a pro-LGBT bill in 2009 when it had plenty more moderate Dems in it, because that meant a Chapel Hill liberal like Joe Hackney got to be in charge rather than Tillis/Berger/Moore. We need a tent big enough for Perez to be in it to have a chance who I think falls more on the liberal end of the scale. We have to be in the majority to put our most progressive people in charge and to pass policy. I want the party to believe in more progressive policy solutions, and to be able to implement that policy rather than it just being in a document somewhere.

The most important steps I see moving forward are:

1) Build the bench at the local and state level

2) Try our hardest to win statewide elections like Governorships and Secretaries of State across the country since those races can't be gerrymandered as easily, and since those races often have effects on the makeup of Boards of Elections and election policies more generally.

3) Keep challenging gerrymandering legislatively & in the courts to try to crack that impossible barrier somewhere

4) Try to learn what we can and grow the party even bigger with an even bigger tent. We're playing in a stacked game, and we need overwhelming victories to end up with narrow majorities. Whereas the GOP only needs a small portion of the vote to win overwhelming majorities. We have to grow the party with a big tent attitude.

I really wanted Ellison to win, but I believe we can work with a Perez/Ellison team too. That's my view anyways. I think there a lot of different and important analyses of what's going on with the party out there right now, and we need to do our best to learn from all of them if we’re ever going to get the overwhelming wins we need to win slim majorities and advance policy.

Agree with a lot of that

As to the Governorships though, the red-state/blue-state divide is an issue that may be insurmountable. That shift has been in the making for decades, and a big driver is the fact the Democratic Party has evolved faster than the general population. Or regional populations. Whatever the case, one of the only ways to reverse that trend is to reverse much of what the Democratic Party stands for.

All that said, time does cure most social ills. I can envision a future 20-30 years from now, where Dem Governors outnumber the R's by 2-1 or even 3-1, even if we hold to Liberal, equality-based principles. But if we don't hold to them? Scattered short-term victories, but long-term dissolution of the Party.

In other words, we need to be very damn careful in how we expand that big tent. There's no room for bigotry, cruel and inhumane austerity measures, or anything else that pits one group against another for dubious partisan gain. We need to reach out to rural voters, who have genuine economic challenges. But they have been conditioned by the Republican Party to view their troubles as caused by immigration, Liberalism, big-government, and last but not least, biblical "evil" in the form of sexual freedom.

We can't embrace that "otherism," no matter how badly we need their votes. But we can give them something else to think about, backed up with solid ideas on how to alleviate their situation. And frankly, we can no longer afford to not do that.

An interesting new tool

Five Thirty Eight has an interesting new tool to show how legislators are voting for or against legislation Trump supports or opposes relative to how strongly that district went for or against Trump.


It can be used as a tool to see which Democrats it makes sense to try to shift to the left by advocacy or even with strong primary challenges, and which Democrats are kind of the best we can do for now. It will become a more useful tool once more legislation has been voted on. Right now support or opposition to cabinet appointees is making up an out-sized portion of the data.

But you can see Feinstein is voting with Trump 18.3% points more than she should according to the will of her district. Hirono & Schatza are doing the same by 13.2%. Cardin is doing so by 9.6%. Those are Democrats giving Trump more support than they should according to their district. For the House Cuellar, Costa, Correa, Sinema, Sires, Linpinski, and Green are going for Trump well more than they should.

On the other hand you have people like Manchin, Heitkamp, Donnelly, McCaskill, Brown, and Tester who are voting against Trump at really high rates compared to their districts that went hard for Trump. Those Democrats are opposing Trump way more than their district calls for. For the House Nolan, Walz, Cartwright, Kind, and Loebsack are in red districts voting blue way more than you'd expect.

Once this has more data and the numbers are settled in, it could be used as a rough guide for where to move the party left without sacrificing any seats. But I definitely agree that we can't use bigotry as the method for expanding the tent, and I don't think Perez comes anywhere close to that.