by Arlington County Democratic Committee Chair Kip Malinosky, cross-posted from The Voice
Democrats must treat this election for governor, lieutenant governor, attorney general
and the entire House of Delegates as if it were a presidential election. The next governor
will have great influence over whether we expand opportunity or increase inequality,
welcome everyone or scapegoat immigrants, whether we do more to protect the environment or further extract fossil fuels, and whether redistricting is non-partisan or gerrymandered by Republicans.
A kinder, gentler Donald Trump, i.e., Ed Gillespie, is the last thing we need. We have
a chance to show the world that Trump’s politics of tax cuts for the rich and racial resentment has no future in America. If we elect Ralph Northam, Justin Fairfax and Mark Herring and a much more Democratic House of Delegates, a more fair, just and inclusive
America will be on the rise again.
We don’t know who is going to win this election. At this point, few people put much
faith in polls and, indeed, in Virginia they range from having Northam down by 8 points
to up by 14. What we do know is that a handful of votes in a handful of precincts can make all the difference—for example, for Mark Herring four years ago when he won by 907 votes out of 2.2 million, or one vote in every third precinct. While there is fierce debate about how effective campaigning is overall, there’s no question that it swings close elections. So what to do?
You can knock on doors. This is a time-honored campaign technique for a reason: it
works. Knocking on 40 doors, an average number, and having 11 conversations will get
the candidates you knock for one more vote than they otherwise would receive. Ensuring
that citizens are supporters and have a plan to vote is crucial to winning elections. By late
October, almost all the doors knocked on should be Democratic supporters. The key is
getting them to commit to vote. It’s good exercise, you get to know a neighborhood, and
you double the power of your vote. The full list of activities is here.
Making phone calls. Usually not as effective as door knocking, but making calls is
critical to getting out the vote. Every 30 conversations on the phone will get your candidate one more vote than otherwise. Of course, with caller ID being nearly ubiquitous, getting people on the phone is harder than ever before, but campaigns have adapted with dialer tools that allow you to have 70 conversations or more in an hour. Furthermore, there are also volunteer recruitment calls that are necessary to ensuring we get the people necessary to turn out the vote.
Helping Metro flyering, farmers markets, and greeting voters at the polls. This
activity is much more effective in gubernatorial elections than presidential elections,since
such a larger share of Metro riders this year are unaware of this election. Helping raise the visibility of the election, letting citizens know who the Democratic candidates are and where they should vote is critical. Where knocking and calling allows us to narrow-cast our GetOut-The-Vote (GOTV) efforts, being at the Metro stations and farmers markets allows us to broadly reach out to everyone walking by. Furthermore, it just so happens that the precincts with the greatest turnout dropoff from a presidential to a nonpresidential election almost all include a Metro stop or are adjacent to one.
Finally, there are social media. Obviously this medium played a critical role in the
2016 election and we cannot cede this field to trolls and Republican-funded operatives.
While there is much that paid social media advertising can do (and the campaigns are
doing it), there are also concrete actions any supporter can take. First, follow
@RalphNortham, @FairfaxJustin, @MarkHerringVA and @arlingtondems on
Twitter. Then “like” on Facebook @ralph.northam, @JustinEFairfax,
@markherrinva, @erik4arlington, @Monique4APS and @arlingtondems. Share
posts, “like” them and retweet them. And on Election Day, or before, let everyone know
that you voted forthe entire Democratic ticket.
I am not making any predictions, but if every Arlington Democrat takes some direct
action (knocks on doors, makes calls, greets voters, orshares posts on social media) to help elect our Democrats, I am confident we will win.