JULY 2018: News from the Elections/GOTV Task Force

JULY 2018: News from the Elections/GOTV Task Force

News from the Elections/GOTV Task Force

by Melinda Burrell, Task Force Chair

#MeToo for the Midterms: “I win, too!”

The last few months have been heady ones for considering massive change on our national political scene. Women have been running – and winning – in breathtaking numbers in the wave of recent primaries. Joyfully, we’ll have an unprecedented quantity of women candidates to choose from in 2018.

Who are these women? The vast majority are Democrats. More than half have not run for office before. Most are public servants – teachers, doctors and nurses, military personnel, and others. One such nurse, Lauren Underwood, is the first African-American to win her party’s nomination in her IL-14 district, after beating six white men. Many others are also historical “firsts.” They include the first female gubernatorial candidates in several states, the first Native American woman to serve in the House (Deb Haaland, D-NM-1), and the first woman potentially to represent Iowa in the US House of Representatives (Abby Finkenauer IA-1 and/or Cindy Axne IA-3).

Some say this is how we rebuild our ethical norms – by voting in those we most trust, the women who are at the centers of our communities. Just think what this can mean! We’ve already seen that women from both sides of the aisle are more likely to put the nation in front of party to solve our problems. It was a bipartisan group of women senators who averted the 2013 government shutdown. It’s up to all of us.


Be part of the Blue Wave!

The GOP is on the ground in every state now, with field offices and paid organizers in every state. This is months ahead of their schedule in previous years. While progressive activism is at record heights now, we can’t take the Blue Wave for granted. How can you join it?

Here are some easy (and fun!) things that new activists can do:

  • Commit to identifying 10 friends or family members who might not get to the polls. Ensure they do by talking up their Democratic candidate, explaining why you find voting important, and helping them check their registration status… and get to the polls on November 6.
  • Choose some candidates to support financially. Most of these women are the underdogs as they’ve not run before. Name recognition is key, and yard signs and videos are crucial to boosting these women’s profiles. Even small contributions of $10 or $20 can help.
  • Register voters. GOP-driven legal changes around voter registration are a huge threat to our democracy. Fight this by joining a voter registration drive in your area. These usually are weekend activities that take only 3-4 hours and are extremely rewarding.
  • Post or tweet about issues you care about and link to groups or people who are making a difference on those issues. We are enormously influenced by our peers. Take on that role of influencer for your community.
  • Convene a postcard writing party to encourage voters to get to the polls: www.postcardstovoters.org.
  • Think long-term. This year is crucial, which is why WNDC is focusing on defending incumbent Dems and supporting challengers who truly have a chance. But we need to have a long game as well. We need to be grooming many new candidates, showing them we have their backs if they dare to run, and showing local activists that we support their organizing as well. Consider helping out the occasional inspiring long-shot. She just might win next time!


Candidates to Watch

Fighting the odds, and beating them with our support?

Jessica Morse will be battling for California’s 4th district against incumbent Tom McClintock, a 61-year-old man in power off and on since 1982. He starts the fall campaign with a 60-40 lead but Morse already is proving formidable.
Jessica grew up in Tahoe as a fifth generation Californian from the 4th District, unlike her competitor. The environment is her signature issue, and her professional experience working in the foreign service gives her deep insight into national security.
She was backed by the Democratic establishment who like her approach to finding solutions to problems of food insecurity and poverty in her district, which is land rich but cash poor. Although some perceive a November win for Morse to be a long shot, particularly in a Republican-leaning district that Trump won by 54 percent in 2016, she has the will and personality to win. Learn more about her and consider supporting her for this run or in the future: www.morse4congress.com.

— Gretchen Bloom


An Historic First

Deb Haaland is running in New Mexico’s 1st Congressional District. If she wins, she will be the first female Native American elected to a Congressional seat. While the 1st is currently considered safely Democratic, we can’t be complacent: the Republicans targeted the district earlier this year, and the NRCC has nearly $60M in its war chest. As a result, we should be vigilant and prepared to jump in to help defend this seat if needed.
It’s easy to be enthusiastic about Haaland. A member of the Pueblo of Laguna, she is a community activist with 20 years of campaign experience and a stint as chair of the New Mexico Democratic Party under her belt. Her top priority is climate change and renewable energy, both for environmental reasons and because she believes renewables will create thousands of well-paying jobs. Her other issues include stopping deportations and protecting DREAMERS; Medicare for All; expanding Social Security; $15 national minimum wage; debt-free college; national paid family leave; and universal childcare and pre-K education. She’s endorsed by Emily’s List, Congressional Black Caucus, NOW, Planned Parenthood Action Fund, and many other groups, former and current office holders and tribal leaders, and many unions.
Her Republican opponent, Janice Arnold-Jones, is a former state legislator. Her web page and record is nearly a blank slate. Regardless, given her support by the NRCC, we expect her to fall in line with all of the Republican Party’s hard-right agenda, including its anti-immigrant, anti-woman, and anti-environment policies and legislation.