Action this Week – Jan. 31, 2020

How We Will Win in 2020: Podcasts for You

It’s too early to carry nominating petitions for Rep. Brindisi (that starts Feb. 25th), and yet you’re full of nervous energy about the Iowa Caucus on Monday (and need a break from impeachment).  What to do?  We’d like to recommend some of our favorite recent podcasts about the current political landscape and how activists can mobilize, organize, and message to elect Democrats in 2020.

First up is Crooked Media’s The Wilderness, Season 2 .  if you missed the Wilderness Season 1 in 2018, by all means, go back and listen (Chapter 15 is an extended interview with Pres. Obama), but if you’re thinking about 2020, you really want to check out the six chapters in the second season.  For messaging that can elect Democrats in purple communities (NY22!),  Chapter 5 The Midwest  is fascinating.  The podcast makes the case that the best chance to win the Presidential race in Wisconsin is using tested messaging that helped flipped dozens of seats in neighboring Minnesota in 2018.  It could work in the Mohawk Valley as well.

In Minnesota, Trump’s racist, anti-immigrant, anti-Muslim message was gaining ground, and that was a problem, because as a mostly white, Christian, and largely rural-suburban state, Minnesota had seen an influx of immigrants over the past 20 years: specifically, Black, Muslim Somali refugees.  The anti-immigrant backlash was threatening to galvanize even more Republican Trump voters.

Instead, all across the state, people and communities, churches and the Democratic candidates, came together and signed on to a grassroots messaging campaign called Greater Than Fear.  The messaging involves what’s called a “class-race” narrative, and it is far more powerful and effective than either a class based or a racial inclusion message.  It has a three part structure, and each part has been extensively tested.  Here;’s how it works:

Part 1 begins with a shared value that explicitly names race (and doesn’t just avoid it).
“No matter what we look like or where we come from, most of us believe that if you work for a living, you ought to earn a living.”
“Whether we are White, Black, Latinex, or Asian, most of us try to treat each other the  way we would want to be treated.”

Part 2 names the problem as one of deliberate division in order to aid and abet plutocracy. This is really where it differs from a standard progressive or Democratic message. Instead of just talking about the wealthy few controlling everything, and hoarding resources, it explains the dog whistle, it narrates HOW they are doing that.
“But today, a handful of corporations, and the politicians they pay for, divide us from each other based on what we look like or where we come from, so we’ll look the other way while they rig the rules in their favor and hoard the spoils.”
“Yet there are a powerful few who seek to retain and increase their power by turning us against each other, based on what we look like, where we come from, or how we worship.”

Part 3 turns to the theme of unity across race, again, in explicit terms, and as the means by which we overcome this deliberate division and this complete and total concentration of wealth, control, power and the abrogation of freedom that is attendant in all of that.
“By coming together across racial differences, we can make this a place where freedom is for everyone: white, black or brown, no exceptions.”
“We will not fall for their distractions. We are greater than the fear they seek to instill in us.”
” When we stand up for each other, we can create a Minnesota that works for everyone. Will you vote with us?”

In 2018, Democrats in Minnesota won a net five House races, won both senate races (special election), flipped the state house, and won the entire executive suite.  Minnesota had the highest voter turnout rate in the country in 2018.  It turns out that 80% of Minnesotans had heard about Greater than Fear, thanks largely to the fact that so many organizations and candidates agreed to be part of the campaign.  It was a message of unity and love, a message of multiracial economic populism that energized young people of color an drew in faith communities and labor unions and people of goodwill who didn’t like the idea that anyone was dividing neighbors and communities, and wanted to take a stand that their community, city, and state, were greater than fear.

Here’s the question: What would a multiracial economic populism unity message sound like in NY22 in 2020?

Another recommendation: Ezra Klein has been making the rounds talking about his new book about polarization in American politics.  You can check out interviews on the NY Times The Argument podcast (starting about Minute 13) or his conversation on Pod Save America a few days ago.

Finally, as you get ready for the Iowa Caucus, check out Pod Save America’s On the Ground in Iowa series about the Iowa Caucus.  What podcasts do you recommend as insight and inspiration for your political activism?

Climate Crisis Working Group

The Climate Crisis group continues its activism with lobbying in Albany and educational activities. The February meeting is scheduled for Monday, Feb. 24th at 6:30 pm, at the Kirkland Town Library.  In the meantime, please

  • Attend Friday for Future Rallies at 3-4 pm (intersection of Genesee and Memorial Parkway in Utica)
  • Call Governor Cuomo 1-518-474-8390 and ask him to fund the CLCPA with $1B and encourage him to make his appointments to the Council.

IMV February 9th Meeting

Our next IMV monthly meeting is Sunday, Feb. 9th 2-4 pm. at Cherrywood in Clinton (just off Route 5).  We are going to continue to work on organizing and training to make an impact on the 2020 congressional and state elections.  Petitioning is a critical step, and starts February 25th and goes thru March.  We’ll make sure everyone is trained and knows what they are doing (driving, navigating, door knocking).  Let’s keep #NY22 BLUE!

Keep Calling Senators

Thanks to everyone who volunteered time on the Indivisible Hub Dialer to constituents in states where Republican senators might be swayed to support hearing from witnesses in the impeachment trial.  Today will be a big day with the vote. We demanded impeachment, and our representative in the House voted for it.  Our New York Senators have done everything in their power, thanks to all of your calls, to push for information to come out that has raised questions in the minds of a majority Americans about whether Trump should be re-elected.

Now, it’s going to be all about the 2020 election, perhaps the most important election of our lifetimes.  How many doors are you going to knock and how many hours are you going to volunteer to make sure that we win?  Set your intentions now, because…

Democracy is not a spectator sport. 

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