Developing a PC Strategy: Part Three

By Richard Gooding

What is the most important thing I should be doing right now?

Maricopa County has slots for approximately 5,100 Democratic PCs, or one PC slot per 120 registered Democrats. At the time of the 2016 election, there were a paltry 880 Democratic PCs, or one PC per 700 Democrats. It is impossible for each PC to engage that many individuals. Fortunately, things have improved since the election. Maricopa has doubled that number to about 1,800 PCs. Unfortunately, that still means there is only one PC for every 340 registered Democrats. This same pattern holds for most other counties in the state.

Bottom line: if the Democrats are going to win at the ground game, which is the only way we can win, we need to fill every PC slot in the state with trained, engaged and empowered PCs. We need to get to a manageable ratio of one PC per 100-125 registered Democrats.

AZ Blue 2020 has been doing presentations and webinars to recruit PCs. While those have been moderately successful, we need to shift the focus. The clock is ticking.

The quickest way to fill the remaining PC slots throughout the state is for every PC to recruit two additional PCs. If the 1,800 PCs in Maricopa each recruited two PCs, we would have over 5,100 PCs. Therefore, the most important thing a PC should be doing right now is recruiting two additional PCs.

Do the people you recruit have to become PCs? Do they need to canvass? The answer to both is no. Volunteers with a wide range of skills and interests are needed. Some people won’t want to canvass but will write letters, postcards or phone bank. Others might be happy holding house parties, being the “Comfort Captain” on the team, or data person, pulling walk lists. All are welcomed.

Recruiting New PCs and Volunteers

Some recruiting will occur naturally when you are canvassing your neighborhood. You may meet an engaged constituent who wants to do more than vote. Invite that person to become a PC or volunteer.

A bigger challenge is recruiting in precincts with no PCs. How do you plant seeds in those areas? These precincts often have many registered Democrats whom need to be engaged but no one to do the engaging.

The first step is to identify the targeted precinct(s) and cut a list of high-efficacy Democrats in that precinct. These are the leads you need to mine.

You can reach them by canvassing the precinct going door-to-door or by phone banking. The phone banking process has been successfully deployed in LD 9, where close to 100 PCs were recruited over a four-month period.

Our recommended next steps:

  1. Hold a Group Phone Banking Party. Phone banking with others is much more fun than doing it by yourself. Recruit other PCs in your LD. Divide up the call list of high-efficacy Democrats and start dialing.
  2. Try the following script. It works.

“Hi, this is _______, I’m a Democrat in your neighborhood. I am calling other Democrats in the neighborhood to see if they can give us a helping hand over the next 12 months as we prepare for the 2018 election. As you know, the Democratic Party needs a lot of help, especially at the grassroots level.

Observe their reaction to the Party to judge their interest.

“Would you consider helping us out by being a volunteer in our ground game?”

If they are interested, they will ask about the duties and requirements for volunteers. You should describe it broadly and let them know there are a wide range of things volunteers can do to support the Party.

If they indicate they can’t help now, find out if they can help closer to the election. A “no” may actually be a “not now.”

If they are not interested now or in the future,

“Thank for your vote and continued support of the party.”

Go to the next person on the list.

  1. If they are interested, invite them to a small gathering with other potential volunteers. You need to pick a date and time for the meeting, as well as a location in the middle of the targeted precinct. If there were PCs in the precinct, you could hold a house party but there aren’t any PCs yet.

A few of the people who are interested in volunteering are going to meet for coffee next week to learn more about how they can help. We are meeting on (date and location). Would you like to join us?”

If they can’t meet at that time,

“When would you be able to meet?”

At this point, you can use their requested date and time when making your next calls or you can have two separate meetings.

  1. Next, each PC holds their volunteer recruitment meeting. This is the small meeting in a coffee shop (or other central, public location) with two or three potential volunteers. You should share your story, learn about why they want to be involved and identify what skills and resources they are willing to volunteer.

 

At the end of this meeting, you should have a clear idea of who is interested in taking their involvement to the next level. You can share with them what a PC does and provide them a copy of the PC Survival Guide. You can even have them fill out the Appointed PC form on the spot.

Where things go from here may vary depending on your LD and the training they provide to new PCs.

Based on the experience in LD 9, starting with a list of 100 high-efficacy Democrats, you should be able to talk to 25-30 people, which should result in five potential volunteers for you to meet. The best time to call is Saturday morning and Sunday afternoon.

We’d like to hear about your progress, any tips you might have and, most importantly, how many PCs you recruit.

If we all take a little bite of the elephant, we can bring it to its knees.

Developing a PC Strategy: Part One

By Richard Gooding

PC Strategy

There are many ways PCs can help elect Democrats across the state in 2018. Developing a PC strategy is about discerning which activities will best accomplish our desired outcome. The absence of a strategy is trying to do everything. In attempting everything, you spread yourself too thin and the results of your hard work are diminished. Because your time and resources are limited, you need to focus on the activities with the greatest impact.

As a PC how should I allocate my time and energy? Should I focus on voter registration? How much emphasis should I put into voter turnout in my precinct? Should I focus on recruiting other PCs? Should I be talking to Democrats, Independents or both? What should I be doing this week? This month?

Over the next few months we will be publishing a series of BluePrint blogs addressing the above questions so you can develop your PC strategy.

How much should I focus on registering new voters?

The answer to this question depends on the makeup of your LD and precinct.

First, what is the opportunity to register new voters? If most voting age people in your LD or precinct are already registered, opportunity to register new voters may be small. Therefore, you need to compare the number of current registered voters with the number of voting age eligible citizens. In cases where over 50% of the voting age population is unregistered, a voting registration effort makes sense. In other LDs, where only 20% of eligible voters are unregistered, it may make less sense to focus on voter registration.

Second, you need to consider the distribution of registered voters in each political party. Voter registration is a non-partisan activity. You can’t be selective in who you register to vote. You are expected to register Republicans as well as Democrats. Consequently, you need to look at the relative number of Democrats and Republicans in the LD. If the number of registered Republicans is significantly greater than the number of registered Democrats, a voter registration effort may result in registering more Republicans than Democrats.

The best scenario for a voter registration effort aimed at getting Democrats elected would be at LDs or precincts that have (1) a large percentage of the voting age population that is not registered and (2) significantly more registered Democrats than Republicans. In other words, blue LDs with a low percentage of registered voters. If you are in a red LD where most everyone is registered to vote, your time may be better spent working on activities designed to increase Democratic voter turnout.

Finally, while registering a new voter as a Democrat is a necessary first step, it is not sufficient for winning. The newly registered voter must vote. Each newly registered Democrat does not equal an additional new vote for the Democratic candidate. You will still need to focus on turnout with these new voters or your voter registration efforts will remain fruitless.

If you need information on voter registrations in your LD and precinct, email us with your LD and precinct name at info@AZBlue2020.org  We will send you your LD Snapshot, created by Arizona Democratic Legislative Campaign Committee (ADLCC) and a Precinct Snapshot for your precinct, created by AZ Blue 2020. Snapshots exist for every precinct in the state and they are free to all PCs.

 

One Year…285 Days to Go…

By Richard Gooding

One year ago, I participated in the Phoenix Women’s March expecting 4,000-5,000 people at the State Capital. 20,000 people including my daughter and grandchildren marched with their handcrafted signs. 40,000 people marched across the state in 2017. It brought tears to my eyes and a lump in my throat to see so many diverse people coming together, passionate about changing the politics of this country. They were not going to sit back and accept what had happened. They were going to resist, to stand up for what makes this country great! It reminded me of the 1969 march in Washington protesting the Vietnam War. I personally had to do something. But what?

I’d read the Individual Guide, but Indivisible’s primary goal at the time was to resist the Trump agenda. While an important cause in itself, I wanted to do something more proactive to change the political environment in Arizona. I wanted to play offense rather than defense.

At 5:00 am, January 26, 2017, I sat down at my computer and registered AZ Blue 2020 as an Indivisible group. From the start it was a family and friends endeavor. We created a Facebook group and our daughters invited all their friends to join. Over 100 members joined in just two days. We reserved the AZblue2020.org and created a website. We held our first AZ Blue 2020 organizing meeting on April 9th where we shared the AZ Blue 2020 vision with over 60 attendees and many signed up to be part of our team.

Along the way we have met many wonderful people whom I cannot personally thank enough for contributing to the AZ Blue 2020 mission of empowering the citizens of Arizona to turn the state blue. They will be friends for life. They have created inspiring videos that tell the AZ Blue 2020 story; published training materials to recruit and train Precinct Committeepeople (PCs); produced informative marketing materials to communicate our cause and coordinated outreach events to spread our message state wide, from Tucson to Pinetop. These are the people that made AZ Blue 2020 what it is today. Thank you for all you have done.

This year 25,000 people celebrated at the Women’s March to the Polls. My daughter and grandkids were there again. But the attitude had changed as reflected in the evolved name “March to the Polls”. People want to do more than resist Trump’s agenda. We are tired of Trump chaos, tired of playing defense. We want change. We want to get progressives elected. We see with delight what happened in Virginia and in special elections across the US where red seats were flipped to blue. If they can do it in red Alabama, we can do it in Arizona!

There are 285 days until the 2018 election. Time to get busy. If you want to do more than just vote, become a Precinct Committeeperson and make sure all your Democratic neighbors vote. Working together we can turn Arizona blue.

Looking Back, Moving Forward

Reflection and revisiting are common practices this time of year. Looking back on 2017 from a personal perspective, I can think of an abundance of moments for which to be grateful and to celebrate. When looking back at 2017 from a wider lens however, it can be difficult to see much worth smiling about.

Under the current political climate, people of color, immigrants, women, people in poverty and LGBTQ communities have all taken some serious blows. These steps backwards, combined with an ever more volatile international landscape, can leave us all feeling pretty overwhelmed and hopeless about where things are headed. But let’s be honest; we are progressives. We perpetually look for the good, the light at the end of the tunnel, the silver lining in every atrocity. It is our “bleeding hearts” and our commitment to fight for the voiceless that will always move us forward. In the hopes of kindling a smidge of positivity, here are some wins scored for the Patron Saints of Democracy:

Alabama Senate seat

Numerous wins in Virginia, including state legislature and Governor

New Jersey Governor

Seats in Florida and New Hampshire

Record number of everyday Americans running for office on a progressive platform

Record number of political engagement and grassroots efforts

Remarkable members of the judicial system standing up against violations of human rights

The special elections we have seen over the past few months show what can be done. They illustrate the capacity of what We The People are able to accomplish when we come together. It is not only exciting but a driving force.

So after reflection comes resolution. What will I do? What can I do? For everyone this will be different. For some it will be a fulltime commitment to the cause, a decision to run for local office. For others, an obligation to canvas or phone bank, to become a PC, to registering voters, help at the polls or Get Out the Vote. The list of ways to do your part is abundant and each is important.

As 2018 begins we must remember the blows will, unfortunately, keep coming. The bad guys will continue their agenda against those we have vowed to protect. The anger, frustration and sadness will likely grow as we continue to watch progress be undone. But we must turn those feelings into action and energy. We must focus on the end game, that light at the end of the tunnel we know exists. We have to push through the shit storm and do the work. It can be done. And I look forward to writing a very different story this time next year.