Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Community Organizing 101

We've been pretty much inundated with "Why Hillary Lost" posts from all over the internet. So just to be different I'd like to point you to a "How Obama Won" post instead over at Jack and Jill Politics, and to use that example to reiterate why the current 50 state strategy being carried out by the Obama campaign is the right thing to do.

As a reader at JJP stated:

Barack Obama did what the 'Vast Right-Wing Conspiracy' couldn't do: He beat the Clintons.

And, he learned the foundation of how to do it in the Projects on the South Side of Chicago. Obama learned, through that job, the skill of community organizing. How, when faced with an entity more powerful, that one small voice maybe can't make a difference, but joining together hundreds , then thousands of small voices brings a loud chorus that can't be ignored.

Having done a little community organizing myself in a previous life, I know how frustrating, but ultimately effective it can be. I agree with Jack and Jill's conclusion, that

...Barack Obama benefited in one way from a long primary season: he was able to build an organization, from the ground up, in all 50 states. He can attempt to compete in places where Democrats used to just give up to the Republicans without a second thought. I believe this is a headstart of huge proportions for him over John McCain.

How about competing in Texas for example?

I keep saying that if the national Democrats put any kind of money and resources into this state, they may be pleasantly surprised by the results. Even if Obama doesn't carry the state, the effect of his candidacy and active campaigning on behalf of down ticket races has the potential to be huge. Remember what happened in Dallas in 2006? Not to mention the election of a new D.A. who has made it his mission to make sure everyone is treated equally in the eyes of the law, and to clear the jails of the wrongfully convicted.

And that's just the beginning. With a disgraced D.A. having been forced from office and what I hope will be a better alternative running for the position; multiple judgeships on the line, and a vulnerable U.S. Senator in John Cornyn who is facing a formidable challenger in Rick Noriega, Houston and Harris County are primed for the same sort of thing this year, and the Republicans know it. Democrats also have real opportunities to make gains in the Texas State Legislature, and to retain the seat in Congressional District 22 (my home district, Tom Delay's old stomping grounds), currently held by Nick Lampson.

So yeah, I'm all for a 50 state strategy, especially as long as the Lone Star State is one of those we're competitive in. Because ultimately, as the old saying goes, all politics are local.


Big Tex said...

I think Obama's going to have a strong presence here in Texas, and I'm hopeful that he will also lend a helping hand to Noriega's campaign. It may be too much to hope for to get both Cornyn's Senate seat and Texas's electoral votes, but damn it, I'm still going to hope for it! With Bob Barr on the ballot and Ron Paul stirring up trouble, we could at least make it really close here for the presidential vote.

DP said...

Big Tex - sorry for the delay in getting back to you on this. I'm with you though, why not go for it all? There's no sense in running candidates and not even trying to win.

And it should be close, closer than past elections anyway. And we might not get the electoral votes this cycle, but we have to keep working towards that goal.