|And certainly don’t talk like a member of the Elephant Party.NOTE: This partisan message comes from my personal/political email account, not my official County platform.I borrow my subject box here from the influential George Lakoff book about properly framing issues to control an ongoing public policy debate. Likewise, you want to push the issues you want the electorate to focus on. Having read the book several times, and with the advantage of talking with all sorts of people after the most recent elections, sifting through vote tallies, reading a wide variety of commentators and just indulging in some quiet contemplation, I’d like to push my take on…|
Why Democrats did better than expected in Pennsylvania and worse than expected in New York
NY Dems, running for state and federal office alike, tried to out-macho the Republicans on their tough talk about “bail reform” and their lock-‘em-all-up-and-throw-away-the-key rhetoric. We local Democrats know, or should know, that the very long-term (and locally short-term) trend on crime has been downward and that our suburbs are safe. Westchester County was recently ranked 4th safest county in America — out of over 3000 — and Nassau County on Long Island was #1 in the nation, but fearmongering about crime was apparently highly successful for Republicans in this election. Well-regarded research, however, shows that affluence and a relatively decent social safety net correlate with a low crime rate; more spending on police not so much. It’s a subtly concluded fact about the lack of proven correlation between increased law enforcement spending and crime reduction that seems counter-intuitive and doesn’t make for creating a great as a campaign slogan or mass media sound bite for the mass electorate. So if you try to keep up with the other side’s constant repetition of a brief, seemingly self-evident, “common sense” approach, you’re fighting a steep, uphill battle.
What worked in PA is best described in the email from the national Indivisible movement below. Spoiler alert: It’s about hard work, a bit of humor, and focusing on our message. But read it all the way through and I promise you something free from Ben & Jerry’s!
|From: Indivisible Team <email@example.com>|
Sent: Friday, November 25, 2022 11:43 AM
To: Damon R. Maher <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Subject: How we defeated MAGA Mayhem in Pennsylvania
Damon,This year’s history-defying midterm results would not be possible without the work of Indivisible groups and volunteers. Today, we want to dive into some of the resources and support we were able to provide local groups in Pennsylvania, a MAGA Mayhem pilot state where we saw some of our biggest wins in this election.We knew we could win this year if the election was about the extremism of MAGA Republicans. So, we teamed up with Indivisible groups in Pennsylvania who kept up a steady drumbeat of local actions that focused voters’ attention on the radical, unpopular MAGA agenda. Then, we tapped into our national network of volunteers to power a massive voter contact program across the state.Before we dive into some of the tactics and resources that powered our wins in Pennsylvania, we have to acknowledge that this work would not be possible without the help of grassroots donors. If you’d like to continue supporting our work, click here to pitch in $10. Your small dollar contributions help fund creative, amazing, effective tactics like these:We teamed up with local Indivisible groups to plaster wanted posters and billboards all across PA-10. Indivisibles called out their seditionist Republican MOC and in the process, over a hundred people texted in, expressing interest in joining their local Indivisible group.We helped provide members of Indivisible MayDay with vegetable costumes after Dr. Oz made his viral crudité blunder. This case study in laughtivism was quickly picked up by the Fetterman campaign and shared on his social media. The ad went viral and kept attention focused on how out of touch Dr. Oz was.This same Indivisible group also bird-dogged Republican Rep. Glenn Thompson in PA-15, and caught him on tape saying he is against abortion at any stage and under any circumstances. We helped edit and transcribe that video to get it online. And in PA-01, we worked with groups to put up this ad in a local paper, blasting MAGA Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick. Polling showed that Fitzpatrick’s support dropped by over ten points after voters learned about his radical stance on abortion.This work, alongside the dozens of rallies, letters to the editor, earned media, and other tactics that local groups employed, helped shift the narrative of this election. Together, we determined the ground we would be fighting on. Then, we mobilized Indivisibles across the country to get out the vote, and in Pennsylvania alone, our volunteers put out hundreds of thousands of calls and texts.The results speak for themselves: We helped elect John Fetterman and flipped a GOP Senate seat in the process. We helped defend incumbent Democrat Rep. Matt Cartwright who was running in a district Trump won in 2020. And in a year that was supposed to favor the GOP, the Democratic candidate in PA-01 improved upon the margins from 2020.Pennsylvania is a clear case of what we can achieve when we invest in the grassroots — it’s also a lesson in persistence. Satisfied with the pilot in Pennsylvania, we rolled out this strategy across the country, and in the end we stopped a red wave. That doesn’t mean we won every race, but in districts like PA-01 and PA-10, we set the foundation to continue the fight in 2024. And in deep red districts like PA-15, Indivisibles set an example for how to hold MAGA MOCs to account for their extremist views. It’s going to take more than one election to defeat MAGA for good and build the democracy that we deserve. That means we have to celebrate the incremental progress alongside the outright victories and continue the work of building progressive power in all of our communities. We’re in this fight for the long haul. If you’re able, pitch in $10 to make sure this movement has what it needs to continue the fight against MAGA extremism.From the veggie costumes to billboards, postcards, and more, we are proud of the support we were able to lend local groups and thankful for the donations that made this work possible. Now, the hard work continues, but there’s no one else we’d rather be fighting alongside than you.In solidarity,Indivisible Team
|So here are your FREE post-Thanksgiving morsels from Ben & Jerry’s, an opportunity to dig down deep, savor and ruminate over a big plate of data after finishing off holiday leftovers. Granted, this is not your usual source for your information on policing, prosecuting and punishing, but it is short, readable, and well-reasoned. The article cites legit websites and academic studies showing that the evidence is scant, to say the least, that more or less spending on police personnel and gadgets correlates with more or less safety in the community. And, during this budget review season especially, we should keep in mind the costs of outsize police and prison budgets.|
Let’s not be cowed when political opponents and police unions call us “anti-police” for suggesting any reallocation of the finite tax dollars to long-term investment in our people, our communities and our collective public safety. Remember to respond in the flavor of the Ben & Jerry’s post. And moooove on!