MN7 Outreach Officers Report,11/18

CD7 DFL Outreach Officers report for November 2018:

It’s almost over… For a few months at least!

The election is less than a week away and the pollsters and prognosticators predict likely wins for our U.S. Senate and guvernoratorial candidates. Thanks to Collin’s unique appeal to both democrats and independents the republicans have all but given him a bye. That leaves us to concentrate on electing our down ballot state house candidates that the state DFL has darn near forgotten, despite needing to win at least a few rural seats to take back the house majority. So let’s make these state house candidates and our other DFLers running for county, local, and school board seats our top campaigning priority these last few days.

Weather (yup, a concern out here- In 2000 David Minge may have lost that close race due to snow pushing turnout down): Snow and morning temps below freezing are possible in the northern parts of our district satuday, sunday, and election day, adapt your campaigning accordingly.

Election day- This is Minnesota and we’re nice, but no doubt some Trump inspired idiots will be harassing voters. More dangerous is the odd republican election official that will block election day registrations, misdirect voters, etc…. Keep vigilant and report any problems!

Then celebrate election night, because on Wednesday the recount season begins… With so many tight elections the soon to be out of power GOP will be demanding and buying multiple recounts.

And after the holidays, the 2020 campaigns begin, and we have much work to do. For example, we need improved analytics- Checking out social media complaints of disenfranchisement on the White Earth Tribal Nation, I compared census counts of the adult population with voter registration counts in several townships and election turnout and found two townships where less that half the adults are even registered to vote! In this one tribal nation alone it appears that over 1000 adults aren’t even registered to vote, never mind voting. We need better analytics to find these voters and get them registered and voting in native and immigrant communities, especially as these are the communities whose populations are growing in rural america. We also need to spread our message and fundraise online- In just the last few weeks has raised a half million dollars online to stop the disenfranchisement of North Dakota native citizens. We need to nationalize our races, tell our story to the world, and fundraise everywhere… The state DFL ain’t gonna do it for us, so we gotta do it ourselves!

respectfully submitted, Dyna Sluyter


One Week Left: Let’s Campaign Smart!

It’s the last weekend before the election and your e-mail and feeds are filling with requests for you to campaign for too many candidates in too many places. Problem is there’s only one of you and you gotta sleep and maybe look after family and work too. So many great democratic candidates, so little time… So ya gotta prioritize!

We’ve got literally millions of doors to knock and voters to phone, so we need to campaign for all of our candidates in the district at once, ‘cause we ain’t got time to walk our routes for each candidate. So if a candidate wants you to campaign just for them, remind them we’re a team and campaign for our whole democratic slate… If they refuse to campaign as a team, find another group to campaign with, we ain’t got time for prima donna candidates. Here in Minnesota we call this a “coordinated campaign” with every democratic candidate and campaign helping the others. At least that’s the plan, I’ve already had words with a congressional campaign that couldn’t be bothered to work with our local legislative candidates, so far they seem to have gotten the message.

You probably still got a bunch of choices left, so where do you want to campaign? Some of us live in districts where our democratic candidates will win easily or have little chance, so it’ll be a better use of your time to campaign in a more competitive district. For example, I live in southwest Minnesota in the 7th congressional district, where democrat Collin Peterson will coast to a win. Our two U.S. Senate candidates and all our other statewide candidates look headed for victory, with the exception of Keith Ellison and I don’t think we can help him much in this rural area. I’m in an R+12 state house district so even though we’ve got a great candidate this race is a long shot for us, so I’m in a pretty uncompetitive district. But next district on either side is purple and democrats won some races here as recently as 2012, we got great candidates in each, so I’ll probably be campaigning there. If we didn’t have competitive races there, 20 miles to my west is South Dakota where I’d love to campaign for Billy Sutton who has a chance to be SD’s first democratic governor in decades, and 60 miles south is Iowa where Steve King has worn out his welcome.

And if you can’t walk, every campaign will be phone banking too. If neither suits your talents, no campaign can run long without cooks, techs to fix the technology, gofers, and folks to haul out the garbage. Time wise, the greatest need for volunteers is on the weekdays, so if your available please volunteer then, especially on election day.

As in any other pursuit, victory in elections usually goes to the team that most efficiently uses their limited resources. So campaign smart, and win!

Election De-Stress: This is a Marathon, Not a Sprint…

Been seeing signs of stress in my fellow democrats lately, and with us barely a frenzied week away from election day, it’s time to put this election in perspective. Our goal is to turn america into a 21st century progressive democracy with a strong middle class, education and health care for all, equality of opportunity, etc.. Unfortunately we’re not going to be able to accomplish that all this election cycle, and probably not the next either.

So Trump gets a bye, the Senate is constitutionally gerrymandered against us, and the House is just plain gerrymandered to the point we need a 6% majority just to maybe control half the seats in congress. According to prognosticators par excellence 538 we have a 17% chance of winning back the Senate and a much better 85% chance of taking back the House. That means we’re probably stuck with Trump and his GOP sycophants in the Senate for another two years. But winning the House gives us bargaining power, though it will probably take well into next year to seat enough democratic reps to become the majority thanks to prolonged GOP recounting and litigation of numerous close elections. Down ballot it get even better, as we’re favored to pick up several governorships and state houses that will assure us fair redistricting after the 2020 census.

So as we run or wheel down this marathon course we face daily uphills and downhills. Coast on the downhills, conquer the uphills, and no matter the outcome of this election we’ll be gaining and further towards our marathon victory!




“It’s the economy, stupid!” (Again)

Last weeks of the campaign, 2008… Obama long ago won over the progressive vote, the Hillary dems are aboard, but it’s tough to win over the vast suburban middle class when you’re running against a genuine war hero. Then Brat Bush’s ballooned financial markets blew out and the middle class redirected their votes to the party they trust when the economy tanks, the democrats… Obama won easily with massive majorities in congress and on downballot.

We are in similar times, Trump and his republicons having inflated the economy with corporate tax cuts that juiced bottom lines for a few quarters, and like a smart drug dealer Trump is calling for another round of corporate tax cuts to stave of the economy’s eventual ODing. As a stats geek I prefer to follow the S&P 500 and Russell 2000 indexes, as the Dow is too small a sample of big companies and the NASDAQ is too dominated by AAPL. The S&P 500 lost over 2% of it’s value overnight and was down about 8% from it’s peak this morning, which is scary enough. But the Russell 2000 which gives us a bigger sample of the more vulnerable to downturns mid size companies was down over 2% overnight too, and had lost around 13% of it’s value this morning since it’s peak less than two months ago.

The Russell 2000 companies tend to be the suppliers and subcontractors of the bigger S&P 500 companies, which means the millions of us that work for them are seeing overtime cancelled and hearing rumors of layoffs. Over half of us depend on pension funds, IRAs, and 401Ks that rise and fall with the stock market.

Along with health care affordability, this is becoming the major issue of this campaign cycle. If you’re a North Dakota swing voter that farms corn and beans, Trump and his complicit republicons have already destroyed 10% of the value of the crop you’re harvesting. And your “town job” with the Russell 2000 company? Trump and his republicons may soon force you into early retirement. Your 401K and IRA retirement savings? Trump and the GOP just took 10% outa that too, with more to come… It’s enough to make even a republican vote for democrat Heidi Heitkamp!

This is the campaign issue we need to secure the house, take the senate, and win even more downballot… Let’s run with it!

ActBlue raises more $$$ for dem candidates than the Democratic Party!

These Open Secrets stats show that the Democratic Party, DNC, D-Trip, and DSCC have raised an impressive billion+ dollars this cycle. Now take a look at these stats from ActBlue:

Cycle-to-Cycle Comparison

2014 Cycle through Q3 2014 2016 Cycle through Q3 2016 2018 Cycle through Q3 2018
Contributions 6,795,206 19,206,237 33,665,261
Total Amount $258,734,705 $634,133,519 $1,297,262,888
Average Contribution Size $38.07 $33.01 $38.53
Unique Campaigns, Committees, and Organizations 4,828 6,196 14,039

Yup, ActBlue just outraised the “Big D” Democratic Party!

In the bad old days you made a donation to the “Big D” Democratic Party and then they allocated it to their favored candidates, party units, whatever…. It was a system made for abuse, and top down control of the $$$ could force loyalty to party leaders and squelch progressive dissidents. At worst it enabled classical “machine” politics.

With ActBlue you, not the party bosses, pick the candidates and party units you want to support. Thanks to ActBlue’s low overhead your donation has maximum effectiveness. Just as Craig’s List obsoleted classified ads and Google revolutionized research, ActBlue has revolutionized campaign fundraising.

“Big D” Dinosaur Democratic Party, adapt or go extinct…

GOP Strategy: Move the Polls…

The republican have a problem: They’re really a minority party, and if every eligible voter gets to vote and their votes get counted, they lose. That’s why they lost the popular vote in 6 of the last 7 presidential elections. But they’ve managed to gerrymander congress and take advantage of the senates disproportional representation to control both houses despite getting less votes than the democrats.

Case in point: College campuses, especially in rural areas. Here in western Minnesota’s 7th Congressional District we’ve got a bunch of them, and they’re often islands of democratic voters in a sea of red. Let’s focus in on Morris, where a University of Minnesota campus is pretty much half the town. Long ago the city wisely set up one of their polling places on campus, and turnout was great.

Again, democrats voting is a problem for republicans, so the chief election official of this red county told the city of Morris that they had too many polling places and should close some. Said election official even said that less people would be voting in the future… Not sure if she was proposing to speed the depopulation of this rural county or disenfranchise more voters. The city went along with the plan and cancelled the campus polling place.

While we old timers show up at the polls when they open, young college students aren’t usually so dedicated. Put the polling place where they’ll have to walk by it anyway and they’ll probably find time by poll closing to vote. But they moved the polling place to a National Guard Armory on the northern outskirts of town, up to a mile away from campus. This being the flat prairies with bare fields after the corn has been picked, there ain’t much to block November’s arctic blasts on that mile walk to the polls. And walking will be most students only option, given that the many students don’t have cars and the tiny transit system’s scheduled service doesn’t go to the new polling place and keeps banker’s hours.

And did I mention that 20% of the students are Native Americans…

Token rural campaigning won’t build a democratic majority!

We democrats brought ourselves to the brink of permanent minority party status by competing in politics without first reading the rulebook. In politics the rulebook is the constitution, which grants inordinate power to sparsely populated rural states. The republicans read the rulebook and built a rural powerbase, buying up “obsolete” AM stations on the cheap and linking them by newly cheap satellite time. They built a whole culture of resentment out of rural america’s losses. And in a manner reminiscent of the Nazis and the worlds other totalitarians they built and weaponized intolerance. We even helped the republicans by labeling center left democrats that could win in rural areas as “Democrats In Name Only (DINOs)” and abandoned them to defeat.

Thus we now find ourselves with a pretender president who lost the popular vote and not by a little, a house so gerrymandered that we need at least a 6% lead in the generic ballot to win a majority, and less than 10,000 North Dakotans will probably decide control of the senate in a nation of over 300 million. Clearly our democratic party needs to reinvent itself before we can become a majority party. That means welcoming and supporting moderate rural democrats and investing the same efforts and $$$ in rural areas as we do in the big cities.

Some of the big D democratic institutions are with us- The DNC is funding organizers in Indian Country in South Dakota and D-Trip is strongly supporting our candidates in even “lean republican” districts like Kansas 2. But some of the Democratic Party establishment still hasn’t gotten the message… Here in Minnesota our Democratic Farmer Labor (DFL) party leadership seems to be perfectly happy to lose the rural democrat held 1st and 8th congressional districts while celebrating flipping the suburban 2nd and 3rd districts. Same with the state house races, where the DFL needs to flip a dozen or so republican held districts to win back the majority… They’re seriously targeting only 16 or so while the republicans are targeting the few surviving rural democratic representatives.

We complain, and rightfully so. The party leadership responds by paying part of the rent of a cheap campaign office and maybe a grant or three in the thousand dollar range. The party officials from the cities pay us a few more visits. But it takes six figure campaign spending and paid staffers to flip a state house district, and any thing less is tokenism.