Tuesday, June 9, 2020

Beyond the virus: building the blue wave

These are extremely challenging times, but there is a single crucial intervention that will turn our fortunes around.  Whether you're motivated by a progressive cause, whether you value the rule of law and competent government that respects facts, or whether you simply want to survive: the Democrats must take back the White House and Senate this November.  A massive organizing effort is already underway to identify and catalyze Democratic voters.  The more people get involved, the greater the chances of its success.  

Failure is not an option. The Reagan and Bush administrations were bad, but since the Republican Party's takeover by a confederation of criminal enterprises with Trump at the center, the magnitude of its evil has grown to previously unimaginable levels.

Remember, it's not Trump alone.  The entire Republican Party is complicit.  The progression of demographic trends, If there were repression-free elections, and districts not twisted by gerrymandering, would have already shrunk the Republicans into a minority party. But as we've already seen, they will use every illegitimate means at their disposal to stay in power. If Trump is reelected and the Senate remains under Republican control in November, they will complete their quest for right wing, authoritarian tyranny.

However, if Democrats regain control, we can begin repairing the damage of the last few years, and implement progressive plans for a better future.

The strategy is straightforwardly partisan.  Political scientist Rachel Bitecofer, who predicted the 2018 midterm election results almost exactly, says the old focus on pursuing middle of the road swing voters is outdated. The millions of Americans brainwashed by right wing propaganda and cults probably can't be deprogrammed, but they are a
 minority of the electorate and can be outvoted

The parties are coalitions of demographic groups and factions, encompassing hard-core loyalists and those who lean in that direction. What binds them together is negative partisanship: shared hatred of the other point of view.  To win, Democratic campaigns have to identify and target districts with a potential majority of anti-Trump voters, and fire them up to vote, in person or by mail.

In 2016, millions didn't bother to vote, or threw their votes away on third party and write-in candidates.  The pandemic and the economic crisis should awaken many of those non-voters to the need for change. Massive campaigns to contact and organize voters are needed, and are already underway.  They beat Republican voter repression plans in the Wisconsin primary.  They can beat propaganda campaigns that aim to persuade people not to vote, or that there's no point in voting, which are a more likely threat than outright election theft.

Here's what we can do

You might be cooped up at home, and have some extra time on your hands.  You might be angry at what's going on, but don't have an outlet.  Or be afraid to go outside and deliver meals to neighbors.   If you're already doing activist work, consider redirecting it here for the next few months.  Nothing can have a larger impact on your cause than whether there is a national blue wave or not.

Texting or phoning voters in swing states

With in-person campaign methods like knocking on doors no longer an option, campaigns have gone fully digital. Technology allows volunteers to make phone calls or send texts from anywhere.  Both methods require volunteers to sign onto a software platform, follow a script, and record voter data.  Campaigns can identify supporters, send targeted information, and get them to act.  

Texting has some advantages over phoning.  Instead of making one call at a time, volunteers can send large numbers of texts quickly, and respond to those who text back.  Being able to select scripted text replies ensures you're never put on the spot or have to guess at a reply. But give phoning a try if you think you'd like it.  Here are some options.

As of early May, only Open Progress Text Troop has daily texting campaigns.  DNC, People Power and Resistance Labls have them sometimes.  Other groups are likely to start more text campaigns over time.  Most of these groups offer remote phone banking.

- Democratic National Committee
Joe Biden campaign
Swing Left
Open Progress Text Troop
Next Gen America Texting Team
- Resistance Labs Texting Team
- Grassroots Democrats
- ACLU People Power Texting Team
- Together for 2020 Texting
Tip of the hat to Eric Arnum, Climate Solutions Digest, for this list:
1] Swing Left -  host Zoom house parties, letter writing & phonebanking in 12 key states incl PA & FL https://swingleft.org/p/virtual-organizing

2] Turnout2020 - phonebanking to 10 swing states incl PA & FL

3] Payback Project - texting in 11 flippable Senate races

4] Reclaim My Vote - fights minority voter suppression

5] Post Cards to Voters - focused on key FL races

6] Progressive Turnout Project - senate and white house races in 16 key states incl PA & FL https://www.turnoutpac.org/what-we-do/

7] Vote Forward -  GOTV letter writing in 8 states incl FL & MI

8] New York Census - calling or texting NY residents to fill census forms

We can't go back to normal.  We must go forward. 

Public health experts told the NY Times that lockdowns and social distancing can eventually be relaxed - but only after transmission of the virus is brought under control, that we have full testing and contact tracing capacity, and be able to treat and quarantine those who are sick.  That could be awhile  And we're still at the early stages of the economic crisis. Both matters will expose other underlying predicaments that have been steadily growing for years.

Systems analysts look at how political, economic, energy and environmental systems interact, and have a very different perspective than experts in single areas.  They've recognized that infinite financial growth is not possible on a planet with finite resources.  That because of the climate crisis, we have to move beyond our dependence on limited supplies of fossil fuels, and toward renewable energy.  That the world's financial system,
artificially pumped up with massive debt bubbles since the 2008 financial crash, is unsustainable and much more fragile than it appears. As Richard Heinberg, Nate Hagens, and Nafeez Ahmed have written, we must steer toward more resilient and economically just ways of operating.

The plans and the technologies to do this exist

Look at Project Drawdown, a collection of the top 100 scientifically validated initiatives to reverse the climate crisis, create sustainable economic growth, and restore ecosystems.  Look at Elizabeth's Warren's plans to reboot the US government.  Up to now, fundamental change has been blocked by powerful interests that have fought hard for the status quo, and have allied themselves with the Republicans.  

Biden and Obama are coming to agree with Warren and Sanders that fundamental change is needed now. The good news is that we can use this time of crisis to evolve, adapt, and build a better society.

That evolutionary leap is only possible if there is a massive enough organizing effort to produce a blue wave. We need you. Will you help? 

Besides volunteering with these campaigns, you can also help by sharing and re-posting.  Write back with any feedback.  Thanks!

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