In a conversation with a gentleman over breakfast who will announce his candidacy in the future, I garnered some remarkably pragmatic points that should be included in any plan for the parties in our two counties.
— The impact of the city/county work is more important than the national focus on Presidential or Texas governmental elections. We must start at the bottom (at the grassroots) to build a base who firmly believes in the Democratic Party objectives. To do this, we first need good candidates. Then we need a structure of precinct chairs who are willing to organize block captains in their neighborhoods. The block captains can help register, educate, and motivate the voters that live close to them.
— Everyone who wishes to promote the grass roots endeavors (County Chairs, Precinct Chairs, or TDP members, or just a voter) needs to set goals for their organizing. The goals need to be attainable and yet inspiring. They can be as simple as “knocking on all the doors on my block and one block surrounding it”, or they can be of the sort that will be precinct wide as in “raising the voter turnout in my precinct by 3%”. There are many ways to set goals and each person must make his/her own version.
— We need to get started early. When we start early, we can identify the voters that will be receptive to what we as a political party want to do. When we make lists during the canvassing stage, those lists can be used in the future for follow up visits and for GOTV (Get Out The Vote) contact.
— The primary objective for the organizing is to register voters, educate, and motivate. With a structure in place this is an easy task. The lists created in canvassing are the tool to use. When canvassing in the Barrio, I encountered at least one house on every block that had an unregistered voter. When you register those voters, they will likely lean toward becoming Democratic Party voters.
— Organizing at the college age level is of paramount importance. “Millenium” age voters have different issues in their lives than baby boomers, of course. Young people need to have a reason to go to the polls so they can affect the future of education of their own and for their children. They face an economy that has a disappearing middle class. The environment is not nearly as protected as it should be for future generations. These are just a small part of what the younger voter can influence. We, as grass roots workers, should try to motivate and leave the persuasion to the candidate.
Si, se puede…