Kicking A** In CA-11
kid oakland has written another magnificent essay, this one about the need for Democrats to simultaneously take the short view and the long view in the 2006 elections. I urge you to read it in its entirety:
We Democrats want both legislative majorities AND the infrastructure to maintain them. That project will not be realized in one year. Even if we did succeed in winning back Congress, we all know, and have learned once again today [upon passage of the McCain Torture bill], that our netroots reform agenda would be far from finished.Now, when I read this essay, the first thing that popped into my mind was this: Manteca Democrats.
What I'd like to point out is this: our job is to fight our long term battle for our reform agenda while we fight the short term battle of the mid-term elections of 2006. The two projects, for the next six [now five] weeks, are rolled into one.
Long term we are building a movement dedicated to reforming the Democratic Party and winning back Congress. To do that we have to persuade our fellow citizens to vote for our agenda and our candidates. We need to elect candidates who "get" what it means to be a Democrat so that when they get to Congress they do us proud. In sum, these two projects are linked. We know they won't happen overnight or out of thin air.
Now, getting real, we activists also know that the shape of the 2006 mid-term elections is already largely in place. What electoral infrastructure was going to be built...has been laid out. What's left now is the execution...the debates, the ads, the battle in the press and on the blogs...and, most critically for us grassroots activists, the getting out of the vote.
My message to netroots and grassroots Democrats is this: we need to remember that we are building something long term here. We need to let that insight inform what we do this election season. Let's not let the GOP distract us from the hard work of laying out local infrastructure and building the connections that result in long term success.
Democracy is NOT about instant results and easy success: it is about process and results that are sustainable in the long term. It's about building infrastructure and community and maintaining BOTH from election-to-election and year-to-year. We need to be real. We progressive netroots Democrats have a VERY TOUGH dual job. We are trying to reform our party from within AND we are working in coalition with every Democrat and sympathetic citizen nation-wide to kick the GOP out of their legislative majorities. The next six [five] weeks are where those two jobs coincide.
One of the Central Valley towns that make up CA-11 is Manteca. With a population of 62,000, it is one of a half dozen towns in San Joaquin County where Jerry McNerney’s campaign desperately needs to make inroads. Like many places throughout America, no doubt, Manteca’s politics are a little murky.
The local newspaper pushes a deeply conservative Republican point of view. The Manteca Bulletin regularly writes love sonnets to Richard Pombo that would make Shakespeare seem bashful, as SNTP’s Matt O. just recently found out. On the other hand, though I know this isn’t the freshest data, here is a useful starting point to discuss Manteca politics. As of 2002, Manteca voter registration broke down as follows:
Total registered voters — 21,181I think that Manteca, in many ways, represents a microcosm of communities throughout California, indeed, throughout America. Vis-a-vis just the simple numbers, Democrats may actually outnumber Republicans; yet the Republican sound machine has been so amped up over the last several decades that Democrats perceive themselves as being increasingly isolated from the American mainstream.
Total Registered Democrats — 9,204 (43.5%)
Total Registered Republicans — 9,103 (43.0%)
But, as in many other communities, Democrats in Manteca have recently ventured out of hiding, discovering real strength in their numbers. The members of the newly formed Manteca Democratic Club have been feeling their way along, increasingly participating in progressive Democratic activist circles. Overall, though, they are a neophyte club and most of their members are relative rookies to political activism.
That’s why, when I read k/o’s essay, I immediately thought of the Manteca Dems. They will be organizing canvasses for Jerry McNerney, I believe, every weekend until the election. In addition, they will be manning a booth at the Manteca Pumpkin Festival this Saturday and Sunday, October 7th and 8th. There they will be registering voters, promoting Democratic candidates, and, most importantly, they will be letting members of their community know that the Democratic Party is alive and kicking in Manteca.
If you want to join them, supporting Jerry McNerney and building a strong Democratic Party for the future, you can email Raphael at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.