By Alan Hirsch
The Blue Wave made its first public appearance in Davis last Saturday. “I’ve never seen this many Democrats in a room…even for an election victory party” said Bob Schelen, Chair of the Yolo County Democratic Party.
A crowd of 200 largely new faces to party politics came together last Saturday August 25th for grassroots campaign training at the Davis Senior Center. This training was organized by eight local progressive and regular Democratic Party groups that have formed the Yolo Blue Wave Coalition.
This unexpectedly high turnout is a sign that the 88.5% of Davis residents, who voted against Trump and the GOP, in the last 18 months have seen the results…and not only aren’t they accepting, they are even more concerned.
The meeting’s purpose was to help local residents be effective participants in campaigns; in particular, taking back Congress from the Republicans who hold seats in 14 California Congressional districts outside of Yolo County.
Participants spoke not just about Trump, but about a need to return accountability to Washington where corruption, scandal and divisiveness now seem the norm. A survey of the attendees pre-event also turned up a high level of “fear,” “anger” and “frustration” with the political process in Washington.
The gathering got a briefing from Andrew Truman Kim of the statewide organization “Flip the 14” on how Democrats can re-take the house of representative. Kim described how there are 600,000 registered Democrats in these currently GOP held districts that typically do not vote in midterm congressional elections. Studies show that by making a personal contact, for example by simply sending a post card, volunteers can cut through the social media clutter and dramatically increase turnout on Election Day.
Kelly Wilkerson, of the Davis Sister District group, gave the example of how Davisites have already proven this works: They sent 5000 post cards and texts to voters in a Legislative race in Virginia for Democratic candidate Cheryl Turpin last year. This upped voter turnout, and flipped this district from Republican to Democrat.
The group also heard from Shabbir Safdar of the Bay Area group CalAway Team on how to be effective doing door to door canvassing of registered Democrats. He described how face to face contact with voters at the front door creates memorable events, and increases voter turnout.
The 70% of the attendees at this training were made up of middle aged or older woman. Three-fourths were not involved currently in any campaign, and half have not been involved in any political action before, even the 2016 Hillary campaign. The female-skewed demographic of this public event reflects a July 2018 Washington Post poll that indicates that by an unprecedented 3:1 margin college educated women reject Trump.
Also unusual was the attendees came not to be informed of policy issues, but to get involved in nuts and bolts of campaigns for Democrats. Each attendee sat through 90 minutes of training on such activities as post carding, canvassing, phone banking, texting, and even how to hold small dollar fund raising coffee for a candidate in your own home with your friends.
Putting the training into action, attendees were given an extensive list of local opportunities planned over the ten weeks remaining until the Election. These four events below are open to anyone who wants to get involved but missed the training:
- Write Post Cards to voters at two parties, Saturday and Sunday of the Labor Day weekend at 2pm. Attendees will be writing to Democratic voters in San Diego where the Republican Congressman was just indicted for stealing campaign funds. Meet at Davis Democratic HQ. 911 3rd Street (near the car wash). Questions: ResistDavisCA <AT> Gmail.com
- Join neighbors who will be carpooling & canvassing registered Democrats in Congressman McClinton’s district in El Dorado Hills. One of our messages is McClintock voted against funding enhanced fire protection service with the US Forest Service. Organized by Davis’s SisterDistrictCA3 people will meet at 9am sharp at “Mace Park & Ride” (behind Ikedas). They will return to Davis by mid to late afternoon. You can sign up for other canvasing at CalAwayTeam.com.
- Big Day Outreach Party – Bring a friend! Saturday 9/8 12:30 – 5 at 911 3rd Calling to replace McClintock in congress with Democrat Jessica Morse. (IndivisibleYolo)
- Overview Meeting. Learn about almost daily post card parties and other Davis activities at Sister District CA3 monthly meeting Wed Sept 5th 7 pm 2222 Muir Woods (common room).
Other interested volunteer and concerned citizens can find opportunities by checking out Facebook pages of members of the YoloBlueWave Coalition, including IndivisibleYolo, SisterDistrictCA3, Davis College Democrats, Berniecrat-Labor-Alliance, Yolo Progressives, Davis Democratic Club and Yolo County Democratic Party.
In addition, a weekly list of local volunteer campaign activities is also available at the Davis Farmers Market Resistance ‘Lawn Sign Table’ or send an email to ResistDavisCA<at>GMail.com.