Like many of you, I spent Tuesday morning waiting for the Prop 8 decision to come down. The result was a disappointment, but it got me thinking about where we go from here. I think that the biggest lesson I’ve taken away from this struggle is that organizing is crucial to success. You’ve got to get the money, then the people, and then the result. And you’ve got to start early.
With that in mind, I wanted to talk a little bit about what we’re interested in doing in ’09 and ’10, and the role that all of you can play in that process.
For starters, we’re very interested in ballot initiatives. While every cycle a few of these enter the national media consciousness, far too many slip through the cracks, their likely effects on the community obscured by confusing language. We’d like to become a place where Democrats can raise the money they need to support or oppose these often esoteric measures.
So what can you do as just one person?
It’s pretty simple: when you discover a ballot initiative that affects your community, shoot us an email about it. Let us know who's supporting/opposing it and suggest that they get set up on ActBlue.
In the same vein, we've also started up a pilot program for local races in Boston, San Francisco, Houston, Cleveland, Charlotte and Cook County (IL). We've gotten an enthusiastic response, but we'd like to reach every Democratic candidate we can. So if you know of someone running for office in those cities, please urge them to get listed with ActBlue. We're all familiar with the old saw that all politics is local, and we figured it's time someone started taking it seriously.
The next big issue we’re interested in is the coming round of redistricting. To make a long story short, in 2010 we’re going to take a census. In 2011, the states will begin the process of redrawing federal congressional districts based on the results of that census. As we all remember from the Tom DeLay shenanigans circa 2003, the GOP isn’t inclined to play fair on this issue. Democratic leaders in Washington are preparing for another round of protracted legal wrangling after the fact. We have a slightly different prescription:
Redistricting is the next major strategic battlefield in Democratic politics, and your help is essential. In 36 states, redistricting plans are voted on by the state legislature. So figure out who your state representative is, and give them a call. Encourage them to get set up on ActBlue. Do the same for your state senator. If either of those people happen to be Republicans, find out who their Democratic challenger is and point them our way. Ditto for the gubernatorial race in your state.
This is a battle we’ll help you fight in all 50 states,* and we’re the only ones out there who can.
P.S. Among the many reasons I work at ActBlue is that I think what we do here is pretty cool. We’re expanding the pool of people engage in political activity, breaking down barriers to entry in Democratic politics, and helping Democrats organize support for the causes that matter most to them. We do what we do in all 50 states, and I like to think we do it well. Apparently, so does James-freakin’-Bond. It’s nice to know he feels the same way as I do.
*Okay, okay, it's only 43 if you want to get all technical. Seven states have only a single congressional representative, and therefore no need to redistrict.