It’s spring. Flowers are blooming, trees are leafing out, and the sound of mowers reverberates as I walk my neighborhood. I still wear t-shirts with Democratic messages, but I’m not going up to anyone’s door and keep my distance from others.
Ordinarily, at this time in an even-numbered year – especially 2020 – I, along with so many other dedicated Democrats, would be knocking on doors and talking with strangers.
“Hello, my name is Lynn Dorfman; do you have a minute?”
Shoe-leather face-to-face campaigning … this is how elections have been waged and won for as long as I can remember. And, in recent years, won dramatically, like Danica Roem in Northern Virginia – the relentless 2017 campaigner for the Virginia General Assembly whose campaign knocked on doors more than 75,000 times in a district with 52,471 registered voters.
Roem won. And sent the Old Dominion’s self-proclaimed “chief homophobe” home from Richmond. In 2019, she won again.
That was then.
Yes, in an ordinary spring, we’d have volunteers setting up tables at area schools to register voters. We’d have volunteers with clipboards at large gatherings – parades and fairs and farmers markets. We’d register voters and canvass and then canvass some more.
This is no ordinary time. Which means it is going to take extraordinary measures and efforts to get the vote out.
I’m proud Catawba County delivered 1 percent of the 2.3 million votes that put Gov. Cooper in office. Yet, we must do better this year to help turn our battleground state blue and send President Tweet away. Far away. We have fine candidates – up and down the slate. Be sure and check out the candidates on our website at catawbacountydemocrats.com/candidates. (Great work by Deborah Hollingworth.)
How are we going to elect more Democrats? First, we must organize, organize, organize – and then work hard. Really hard. Using time-honored techniques – talking with friends and neighbors, making phone calls, and writing cards and letters – and being smart and creative about using new methods and new media.
Organize. The first page in my brand-new copy of the NCDP County Chair Guide is about precinct organization. Organizing precincts is the smartest and most effective thing we can do to help elect Democrats. We have 41 precincts in our county; we have 22 more to organize. We need precinct captains and four others identified as leaders in every precinct.
Then, the precinct leaders need to do what precinct leaders do – be active and visible. Identify and reach out to Democrats, identify unaffiliated voters who are persuadable, and come election time GET OUT THE VOTE.
First Vice Chair Shamoyi McIver is leading a “SWAT team” to organize precincts. While it would be great to get all 41 precincts organized, we’ll be tactical and start with the ones with the most Democrats. Please let Shamoyi know if you’d like to be involved. The initial effort will likely involve making telephone calls. I know Democrats in this county who are mighty fine on the phone. To volunteer, call the CCDP phone number -- 828-322-5100 – and leave a message for Shamoyi or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Education and training. We need to be smart about precinct operations and smarter still about using traditional techniques as well as new tools. Jeff Taylor (pictured at left) , second vice chair, is putting together training and other materials to help us work smarter. I’m excited Jeff has hit the ground running, so appropriate for a successful track coach!
May 26 Meeting. We’ll be meeting on May 26 at 7:00 p.m. We’ll have a lot to discuss, including voting on a new delegate to the 10th District to replace Richard Wagner, who is resigning. Our meeting will be virtual; we’ve obtained our own Zoom license – thank you, Nancy Miller and Sarah Sakatos. We’ll get you information about participating in the meeting closer to May 26.
Virtual County Convention. Many thanks to all who attended last week’s County Convention. We had 70 participants. It was an impressive effort for the state Democratic Party to hold 90 county conventions with some 9,600 participants in one day. Thanks to all for pitching in – it truly was a team effort.
5th and 10th District Conventions. As for May 16 District Conventions, NCDP will email delegates with information about participating, which will also be via Zoom / telephone. The June 6 State Convention will likely be virtual; those delegates will be notified closer to June 6.
Thank you -- all -- for everything you do to elect sensible, smart, and open-minded people who respect the role of government and make the world a better and safer place.
We’ve got work to do!
P.S. Check out this recent article on campaigning in a pandemic. It opens with Cal Cunningham, the Democrat who is going to send Thom Tillis packing.