From a Democrat: Organize Early. Organize Often. Organize Now.

Guest Writer: Lynn Dorfman


As I write this, it’s Election Day. In Catawba County, voters – a sadly small number, I expect – will decide who will serve in municipal offices and on the Hickory School Board.


That also means, that, yes, we are ONE YEAR AWAY from an even bigger election. On Nov. 4, 2020, our ballots will include President, Governor, U.S. Senator, U.S. Representative, State Senator, State Representative, County Commissioners, and more.


On that long list, I bet I am not alone among the 22,474 registered Catawba County Democrats to be thrilled about only one of those incumbents – Gov. Roy Cooper. He is working so hard to get the Tar Heel State on a better path to the future. And, please remember, Catawba County Democrats -- we helped elect Gov. Cooper in 2016. Our votes and support are essential to his re-election.


Of course, as happens every four years, much of the attention will be on the top of the ballot – candidates for President. We’ve got to “drain the swamp” of the slimiest creature to ever inhabit The White House in Washington, DC, which, ironically, really is a former swamp.


Are we up to it, North Carolina?


A poll released on Nov. 3 should be a call to action for all North Carolina Democrats. Here’s how The New York Times characterized the poll results: “Despite low national approval ratings and the specter of impeachment, President Trump remains highly competitive in the battleground states likeliest to decide his re-election.”


On that list of battleground states, yes, you got it: North Carolina.


What’s a concerned NC Democrat to do?


Register voters. Organize precincts. Support candidates. Do the smartest things we can do to get out the vote. And, win as many elections as we humanly can.


Here’s how Thomas Mills, founder of Politics NC, put it in a Nov. 4 blog post about the recent poll results: 

“For Democrats to win, they need to put their resources into outreach, not persuasion. They need to increase turnout among African-American voters, women voters and younger voters—the same groups they’ve needed since Obama. Trump will motivate his supporters. Democrats need to motivate theirs.”  


To increase turnout, we need to increase the number of registered voters and with the changes coming in 2020 with NC voter ID requirements (more on that elsewhere), our efforts will also need to focus on voter education.


For Catawba County to help the state’s electoral votes go to the Democratic presidential candidate, for Catawba County to help re-elect Gov. Cooper, for Catawba County to help put thinking people (and not elephantine sheep) into Congress and the NC General Assembly, well, it’s time to roll up our sleeves and get to work.


Here are some things we need.


One, candidates. We have a team working on this and the clock is ticking since the filing period for 2020 elections (except school board) is Dec. 2 through Dec. 20, 2019. That is just weeks away. (If you’re interested in running for State Senate, State House, County Commission, Register of Deeds, or Soil and Water Conservation District Supervisor, or if you have someone to recommend, please contact me.)


Two, we need local activists and strong precincts. President Harry Truman wasn’t exaggerating when he said, “The most important job I ever had was Precinct Captain.” Precincts are the primary interface between the Catawba County Democratic Party and voters and precinct leaders play a crucial role in identifying Democrats, getting them involved, and getting out the vote.


Three, we need to register voters. We have lots of Democrats in this county who are registered as Unaffiliated. We need to bring them back. And, there are too many people who are not registered. Read any article, listen to any podcast, watch any progressive pundit: All are saying registering voters is key to success in 2020.


I’m pleased to announce that Melissa Snyder, who I have seen talk with early voters at Southwest Library (she is amazing!), has stepped up to lead CCDP voter registration efforts. If you’d like to work on that, reach out to her – her phone is 678-591-7555 and her email is ldeorsey@aol.com. She will also be at our next monthly meeting.


And, to paraphrase the old saying, work early and often. Start by reaching out to your precinct captain, or, if your precinct doesn’t have a captain, you can be the captain. Sign up to help Melissa with voter registration, AND, come to the next Catawba County Democratic Party meeting on Nov. 26 at 7 p.m. at our new headquarters on the Square in Hickory (216-C Union Square).


In closing, as the head of the Democratic Party in Wisconsin, another battleground state, said, “The single biggest thing we learned is you have to start early. Democrats have to organize across every community.”


That means us. That means now.


P.S. Aren’t the results from Kentucky and Virginia great. That took candidates, money, and ORGANIZING.


Lynn Dorfman is the founding president of the Democratic Women of Catawba County. She is Secretary of the NC 10th District Democratic Committee, a member of the NCDP State Executive Committee, and coordinator of the CCDP Candidate Recruitment Committee.

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