Dear Fellow Democrats and other people of goodwill,
It’s December 1. On this day in 1955, Rosa Parks was arrested for refusing to give up her seat and move to the back of the bus. That was 65 years ago and we’re still working for justice and equality. I want to thank you all for all that you do for justice, equality, and helping to elect Democrats. We – and that is a lot of people – worked really hard in the 2020 election cycle. As many know, we held an initial high-level debrief at our Nov. 24 meeting. We opened by celebrating our many hardworking volunteers with a slide-show tribute and showed volunteers working the polls, collecting campaign signs, making buttons, doing literature drops, and so much more.
This Thanksgiving, I was greatly thankful for all the activists – approaching 300 people! – who worked so hard this year. We came up short in Catawba County, but we made incredible progress as State Rep. Chaz Beasley told us in our Nov. 24 discussion. We have copies of Rep. Beasley’s slides and also recorded the discussion. If you’d like a copy, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Rep. Beasley pointed out that our hard work increased the raw turnout of Democratic votes in Catawba County for Biden/Harris by 21 percent (up from the 19 percent figure he cited earlier). That was a big increase, he said, and, yes, Republicans increased their turnout as well, but, as Beasley noted, “Donald Trump had to come to Catawba County” to get those results.
Beasley grew up in Catawba County and knows the challenges we face. On Nov. 24, he said what is key is expanding the electorate and following the model that Stacy Abrams used in Georgia, which starts with registering new and likely Democratic voters. He also noted the specific areas where there are growth opportunities, such as the Catawba County precincts that have more Democrats: College Park, Greenmont, Kenworth, and Ridgeview in Hickory as well as E. Newton. We need to focus on increasing turnout in these precincts. It’s essential, he says, not to just show up at election time but to build connections and relationships in these communities. Yes, it’s important to register voters, but it’s also important to keep track of them and to stay in touch.
Rep. Beasley’s discussion was the first in our election 2020 debriefs. We want to talk with you – our volunteers – about what worked (or didn’t work) for you in volunteering this year, whether it was making phone calls, staffing the polls, helping distribute flyers and other literature, or in the other ways you helped. We’ve developed a brief questionnaire as a starting point for our volunteer debrief.
We’d like to have a Zoom debrief with you – officers, precinct leaders, and volunteers – December 8th from 7 - 8:30pm. It’s always important to look back and do what the military calls an after-action review to see what worked, what didn’t, and what we can do better next time.
This year, we did a lot more in some areas than we’ve done before thanks to the large number of volunteers. We raised more money, which helped fund the mailing we did in mid-September. Yet, there were areas, like face-to-face electioneering (notably knocking on doors), where we did less because we were very conscious of public health concerns in a pandemic.
I am so grateful to all our volunteers who stepped up and put yourself out there. It can be really challenging to work at the polls, especially at, say, Newton Library during early voting or at Springs precinct on Election Day. Yet, we are the party of civility, manners, and still believe, as Michelle Obama says, to go high when they go low.
Obama expanded on this in her speech at the August Democratic National Convention. She said going high still applies, adding that, “when we use those same tactics of degrading and dehumanizing others, we just become part of the ugly noise that’s drowning out everything else. We degrade ourselves. We degrade the very causes for which we fight.”
But that doesn’t mean, she added, “saying nice things when confronted with viciousness and cruelty. Going high means taking the harder path. It means scraping and clawing our way to that mountain top. Going high means standing fierce against hatred while remembering that we are one nation under God, and if we want to survive, we’ve got to find a way to live together and work together across our differences.”
Yes, we must take the harder path and stand fierce and work hard. I look forward to standing fierce and working hard with you for a better future for North Carolina.
Let’s start on December 8th by holding our after-action review on Catawba County Democratic Party’s 2020 election work and results.
If you have any questions, please contact me.
Lynn Dorfman, chair