Action this Week – Nov. 8, 2019

We’re Playing a Long Game, Don’t Give Up!

Our progressive candidates for Oneida county legislature, town councils, and city councils were top-notch, organized, and hard-working, and yet many of them, most of them lost. For the most part the successes in Virginia and Kentucky did not play out in many of our local races at all. What happened and what can we do moving forward?

Put in the Time
First, we are in a challenging environment in the Mohawk Valley.  It’s often one step forward, one step back, in gaining seats, when the history and environment (with the exception of the city of Utica) is so heavily Republican.  NY22 went for Trump by 15 points, and the Oneida and Herkimer County Legislatures have been majority Republican since the dawn of time.  We aren’t going to turn these counties or towns blue in a couple years or even more. We’re talking about many, many years or building, organizing, and running candidates, not a single election cycle.  If you haven’t seen it, please read this excellent piece about how what happened in Virginia took time, a long time. 

The Kirkland Town Democratic Committee is an excellent case in point.  In the face of Republican control of offices and electoral wins, they relaunched the committee and began organizing–about 15 years ago (!), and year after year increased engagement, honed their strategy and tactics with events, GOTV postcards, calls and other efforts, and then on Tuesday, retained their district’s Democratic county legislator, plus two Democrats beat a Republican on the Town Board, which will now be all Democrat except for one seat.

As the author of the article above says, “Democrats and national progressive organizations have the resources to take their case to the people and win, but they have to start early and organize relentlessly. When they lose, they have to stay in place and keep fighting for every political inch they can get. No place is unwinnable forever.”

Put in the Work
Second, we must do the work of local elections and local organizing.  It’s exciting to win congressional districts or help some other state flip their Senate seat.  However, people’s lives are generally more impacted by local elections than anything else, and the way that right wing Republicans took control of the US Congress was by gaining control of state legislatures and governor’s mansions the previous 15 years.  And the way that they did that was by building their bench at the county, city, and town level in the ten to fifteen years before that.  We need to do the same by organizing, organizing, and organizing, locally.

That means that no one gets a pass from knocking doors and phone banking on “off years” like 2017, 2019 and 2021.  We need more hands on deck to get our excellent local candidates elected.  The work works.  

Focus on the Bright Spots and Grow Them
There were some bright spots this week.  Celeste Friend’s campaign for Utica Common Council Third Ward, and her victory on Tuesday was one of them.  She recruited and nurtured a huge network of volunteers who worked tirelessly for months knocking doors for her, and generally ran a campaign that left no stone unturned–from videos and social media advertising to partnerships, websites, and meal sharing community building. She’ll be offering training in early 2020 to future local candidates who want to run campaigns that lead to wins as well.

Democrats did well in Little Falls, just as in Kirkland  And also, we put up a fight and even came close in a few places where our opponents were not used to being challenged, and that, in and of itself, is a huge step forward.  They had to use up valuable time and money to hold their seats.  Plus, the Democratic candidates who lost in those places have vowed to continue to show up at meetings and hold their representatives accountable on issues like transparency, ethics, and responsiveness to residents. If you live in those wards and districts, do the same. 

Even in Rome, where so many hard-working candidates lost, even excellent first term Democratic incumbents, there is good news.  There were serious, truly progressive candidates running for more seats than ever before.  That’s the right way to start building and start organizing.  Many of our candidates who lost should run again. They met people door to door and so did their volunteers. Those relationships can be maintained, and a second or third time running can do the trick in terms of name recognition, or just getting Democratic voters more in the habit of voting in local elections.  (Thank you, candidates and all the volunteers who worked for them!)

Redouble our efforts for 2020…and 2021
Let’s be inspired by what happened in Virginia and Kentucky, but cautioned and re-focused by what happened locally.  If we thought flipping NY22 in 2018 meant we could rest on our laurels, that illusion is gone.  We must keep fighting harder and working harder if we want to sustain and grow our electoral success in our purple and red communities.  Let’s hit the ground running in early 2020, and build the blue wave we want to see. And let’s not quit in 2021,  because our awesome local candidates would do a far better job serving their communities than the status quo Republicans who are sitting in those seats, not communicating with constituents and not looking out for their best interests.

What are you willing to do in 2020 and 2021 to build power on our city, town, and country government?  Everything we want to accomplish based on our values depends on winning elections.  Are you willing to phone bank? Are you willing to knock doors, not just once, but over and over again?  Are you wiling to run? 

Sen. Rachel May in Clinton: Everyone Attend!

Senator Rachel May represents the 53rd Senate District which includes the Oneida County towns of Kirkland and Augusta, a portion of Onondaga County around Syracuse, and all of Madison County. She will speak at the Kirkland Arts Center in Clinton(9 1/2 East Park Row on Wednesday, Nov. 13th at 7:00 pm. about her first year representing us in Albany and will answer questions from the audience. The Kirkland Democrats cordially invite Senator May’s constituents and other area residents to attend this informative evening.

Rachel is thoughtful and progressive, and has been a powerful voice for upstate in the new Democratic Senate majority.  Bring your questions about water-land use and flooding mitigation, health care and education, democracy reforms and more.  The event is free and open to the public.

Indivisible National Updates

1) First, hopefully you already purchased the new Indivisible book by Ezra and Leah which came out this past Tuesday, but if not, here’s how. There have been conversations about how to make sure that the book is placed in all of our local libraries. It tells a powerful story of American democracy and political activism.

If you missed hearing Ezra while he was here in October, this is his conversation on WRVO’s Campbell Conversations.  Here’s a video of his extended talk at the Maxwell School at Syracuse University during the same visit.

2) Indivisible’s Member listening survey is LIVE through Nov. 24th. Every person reading this email is encouraged to take the survey, and let your thoughts be known. https://indivisible.org/indivisible-member-survey

3) It’s time for the Defund Hate Coalition’s National Call in Day on Nov. 13th.  Call, Call, Call Rep. Brindisi TODAY!  After September’s Defund Hate week of action, a temporary funding bill was passed funding the government through mid-November. Our efforts in September played a big role in preventing ICE and CBP from getting any of the special funding increases that Trump and Republicans were pushing for in that bill. But now, with the first temporary funding bill set to expire very soon, it’s time to ramp up the pressure again. Our policy experts are telling us that it’s likely Congress will pass yet another short term funding bill when the current one expires on November 21 — and, just like before, we’ve got to flex our people-power to ensure Congress doesn’t use this as a chance to fund ICE’s atrocities.

Impeachment: What Can We Do?

1. Call Rep. Brindisi’s office and let him know that you support impeachment because no one is above the law, and because Trump has put our nation’s security at risk, obstructed justice, threatened witnesses, and put his own political agenda ahead of our national interest.

2. Share this message on social media, with your friends, and in letters to the editor.  It’s not complicated: It’s three sentences!

Trump used military aid to pressure Ukraine to interfere in our 2020 election.
Then he tried to cover it up.
He must be impeached because nobody is above the law.

3. If you like to do more, Indivisible’s impeachment hub dialer still going.  Click here to sign up for a shift to call people who live in states where their Senators will need to be pressured to do the right thing on impeachment.

Sign Up Now for the Impeach & Remove Rally in Utica

It is time to build public support for impeachment, not just for the House vote, but also in the Senate. That means Impeachment Eve Nobody is Above the Law Rallies to Impeach and Remove.  If you have friends in other parts of New York and in any other state, make sure they know to sign up now for their local rally.

Ours will be at 5:30 pm (the preferred national time) on the night before the vote to impeach is held in the house.  We will meet at Oneida Square Roundabout in Utica. Please sign up on the national map website so that you receive the email and text as soon as we receive the notification that the rally is a GO.  We expect this vote to occur in late November or early December, but it could certainly occur after Jan. 1 as well.

Event partners for this national mobilization (230 events and counting) include MoveOn, March for Truth, Indivisible, Sierra Club, Women’s March, and more than 30 other major organizations.  Sign up now, and share the link with your friends.   Because Nobody Is Above The Law.

SAVE THE DATE: Climate Strike Action

Here are the details about the student-led Utica Climate Strike on Dec. 6th at noon. The coalition that the students are pulling together for this event is very impressive.  Want to know more about the Climate Strike demands?  Take a look here.  Can we get 500 people for a Climate Strike in Utica and become part of a powerful global movement for change?   Be sure that you sign up!

Post-Election IMV Potluck Brunch Nov. 16th

Please join your IMV Colleagues and Friends, new and old for our post-election brunch celebration.  In November we take a break from working on big new projects at our meeting, and we celebrate the stories of our activism and our volunteer work on local elections. Saturday, Nov. 16th, 11 am-1 pm, IMV November Meeting Post-election Brunch, 1 Cherrywood Circle, Clinton, NY 13323 (just off state route 5),

Similar to our post election Epic Brunch in 2018, we will celebrate IMV with stories and pictures. The Civil Rights Tour group will give a slideshow presentation and talk about some of the experiences they had and the amazing people they met. Please plan to bring something you like to eat or drink to share.

The Civil Rights travelers will again collect for the Equal Justice Initiative at the 11/16 Brunch. Thank you to those who have already contributed.

Some of you will be headed straight from brunch to the Healthcare for All event in Utica starting at 1:00 pm.  Here are the details if you are planning to attend.

Let’s take a few minutes and catch our breath by breaking bread together at our IMV brunch on the 16th,  Then, save the date on Sunday, Jan. 12th at 1:30-4:00 pm, because we are going to have a 2020 strategy session like you would not believe. Join us in person, face to face, to build progressive power, move our issues to the forefront, and win elections.  Because…

Democracy is not a spectator sport.