Democrats have one last chance in this election cycle to limit the damage to the U.S. Senate, which can be kept to a 51-49 margin if Democrat Foster Campbell can win the runoff election in Louisiana. Although this is not a Florida race, Democrats throughout the nation have an opportunity to help by participating in virtual phone banks.
South Florida activist Bret Berlin, in an appearance at the Broward Democrats organizing meeting Saturday, explained that in addition to promoting the phone banking he is raising money to send our volunteers to Louisiana to help with canvassing and other GOTV efforts. If you can donate your time, your travel and lodging will be covered, he said. If you are interested in helping in any way, contact email@example.com.
While there has been plenty of discouraging news this week, the news from Broward Democrats has been very positive. Tuesday’s meeting of the county Democratic Executive Committee could have turned into a “bitch session” on what went wrong in the election, but instead we heard about many things that went right in Broward — and need to be replicated across the state.
Cynthia Bush, a grassroots activists who became de facto head of the local party during the time that Chairman Mitch Caesar was running for Clerk of the Court (and continued to head GOTV operations after he returned to his post), is likely to become chair in the upcoming Dec. 3 party organizational meeting where Caesar will not be seeking reelection. She explained how hard Broward Democrats pushed for an effective GOTV effort, often filling in crucial gaps like chasing down absentee ballots that the Clinton campaign and the state party weren’t focusing on.
As a result, Broward outperformed all expectations, both for Clinton and for Senate candidate Patrick Murphy. “That needs to be replicated if we’re going to win seats, if we’re going to hold seats in 2018,” she said. That means other counties around the state need to adopt the same, activist philosophy. In other words, because Democratic turnout operations were weak in other parts of the state, we were not successful in countering strong turnout for Trump in rural Florida or regions such as Tampa.
Broward needs to have its own organization and structures, informed by local knowledge, she said. “I don’t think we should ever be sitting back and waiting for a campaign to tell us what needs to be done.”
State Committeeman Ken Evans, who is running for reelection and pushing for new leadership at the state party level, gave a similar account at a brainstorming meeting he held on Thursday. The state party has been too narrowly focused on fundraising, and only fundraising to the exclusion of grassroots activism, he said. As chair of a committee dedicated to organizing clubs and caucuses, he found there was way too little focus on giving those organizations productive work to do, he said.
“We need to have operations that never stop,” he said.
With leaders like these, I am more optimistic that will become a reality.
If you’re looking for guidance on how to vote on the general election ballot, the PDF linked to below is an informed list of recommendations particularly on the judicial races and the amendments, courtesy of attorney Jason Blank.
Aside from voting for Hillary, the ones I emphasize when knocking on doors are Patrick Murphy for Senate (over Marco Rubio) and voting NO on Amendment 1, the deceptively worded anti-consumer solar amendment.
I followed most of these recommendations, with the following exceptions:
NO on retention of Supreme Court Judge Charles T. Canady and Ricky L. Polston (people I asked for advice were split on this, with some saying these judges are competent and should be retained, others pointing to bad, ideological decisions)
I also voted no on the two 0.5 cent sales tax increases, based on recommendations from the Sun-Sentinel and some other friends.
“If we win Broward County by as big a margin as we should win it, we win Florida” — Hillary Clinton in Coral Springs. And if Hillary wins Florida, she will almost certainly win the election.
The video embedded below is the full replay, including the introductory speeches. If you prefer to fast forward to where Hillary takes the stage, that is about timestamp 10:30.
A couple of my favorite moments include this, following a riff on Trump’s shortcomings:
“I am fortunate to have known a number of the former presidents. I didn’t always agree with them, either — including my husband … but Republicans and Democrats alike, I never doubted that they were *trying* to put the country’s interests first.” — Hillary Clinton in Coral Springs
Also: “This election is going to be close. They always are. Every call you make, ever door you knock on, every person you register, could make the difference.”
Nelson Dubreus reached out to me in mid-September, responding to this appeal: Share Your Video Testimonial for Hillary Clinton?
Hey. I want to schedule a time to give my testimonial. We used our call center as a phone bank. We used our volunteers for the Hillary campaign. We used or company car to be the “hill mobile”. Our office is called the “Hillary distillery”
We use our funds because our children deserve better. We were taught to be considerate, professional, respectful and honest but Trump teaches our youth “say or do anything, just win”. Its embarrassing for our country and standards.
Here is what he had to say when we got together in a web video meeting.
Want to do your own testimonial? You’re welcome to either do a selfie video and share it with me or a schedule a time when I can interview you and then edit the resulting video. Either way, I’ll let you see a preview of what I plan to publish before I begin to promote it. Write me at firstname.lastname@example.org
The coordinated campaign for Hillary Clinton and the whole Democratic ticket now has offices throughout the county, with one in Hollywood opening Wednesday. Stop by any one of them, and you will find volunteers working long hours — and they could use your help. I will add more specific hours and contact information to this list as I am able to get it.
Fort Lauderdale, 1033 NW 6th Street, Fort Lauderdale, FL
Pompano Beach, 2720 W Atlantic Blvd., Pompano Beach, FL
Sunrise, 3519 N Pine Island Road, Sunrise, FL
Coral Springs, 8035 W Sample Road, Coral Springs, FL (open most days approx. 9 am to 10 pm)
Contact: Chris Hill 305-205-9781
Tamarac, 5467 N State Road 7, Tamarac, FL
Hollywood, 2334 Hollywood Blvd., Hollywood, FL (opening event 9/28)
A few weeks ago, I put out a call for video testimonials on behalf of Hillary Clinton. Walter Hollander was the first person to volunteer. Part of the point of this project was to encourage members of our community to share their sentiments in favor of Hillary (rather than against Trump). Here is what he had to say:
To create this video, I interviewed Walter Hollander using an online meetings tool (RingCentral Meetings) and edited down the recording. If you prefer to record a selfie video on your phone, or make a video in any other way that makes sense to you, share it with me so I can help promote it. If you do not want to be a video star, you are always welcome to post a blog on BlueBroward.
If you value the contribution of BlueBroward.org to sharing opinion and event listings to support the Democratic cause, consider making a donation or placing a sponsor advertisement. Text link ads start at $70 for three months.
BlueBroward.org provides free services to the community, in election years and in off years. Money raised will offset web hosting expenses and labor invested in improving the site.
Through the website, anyone with an interest in Broward Democratic politics can learn about party and campaign events. Naturally, that activity intensifies around election time.
The chart below shows how much traffic has picked up so far with the pace of election activity, to almost 60,000 views in August so far. The email list reaches a more select group of Democratic insiders such as club officers (539 subscribers as of mid-August 2016).