An Inspiring Discussion on Democracy?

So for a long time, I’ve followed Amanda Litman on Twitter. She operates an organization called Run for Something.

What Run for Something does is look to inspire and find progressive candidates for local office. The idea behind it is to channel the frustrations that many of us are feeling about things such as, I don’t know, how cool we suddenly are with elderly people dying from a virus or how completely chill we are with turning our democracy over to authoritarians.

Litman is pretty brilliant, and her strategy is one the Democratic Party should have started years ago because conservatives are focusing on down-ballot races. Professional Worst Person Steve Bannon has issued a call to his minions to seize control of the Republican Party from the bottom up:

“It’s going to be a fight, but this is a fight that must be won, we don’t have an option,” Bannon said on his show in May. “We’re going to take this back village by village … precinct by precinct.”

MAGA conservatives are also running for school boards, town councils, etc. One of the primary QAnon forums had a call at the top of the page calling for people to run for local offices. The Oath Keepers and Proud Boys are shifting their focus to local politics.

Local and state politics can have a huge impact beyond town and state borders. For proof of this, just look at what’s been going on with gerrymandering, and the sudden influx of book bannings and teacher threats that are coming out of school boards. What have Democrats done in the meantime?

Well, largely go after what Litman calls “shiny objects.” An example of this is the $90 million blown on Amy McGrath’s senate run. A fine person, but she had no chance against Mitch McConnell. Litman said it may have made Democrats feel good to dump 100 bucks on McGrath’s campaign, but it had no impact. And Republicans keep making inroads at the local and state level.

So, Litman said, run the GOP’s game and focus on local office. She outlined all this on a recent episode of The Ezra Klein Show podcast. This is the link to the transcript but like many of Klein’s episodes, it is well worth a listen.

I won’t go into the entire thing (seriously, check it out either by reading or listening), but some of her key points include:

– Run for Something is focused mainly, but not exclusively, on younger people. This is due to this fact: Younger people are wildly underrepresented in government. As she puts it: “…30 of 50 US governors are over the age of 60. The average age in the house is 58. The average age of the Senate is 63. The median age of a school board member is 59. The median American is 38.”

– Therefore, the Democratic Party needs to build up its bench of future national figures. The town councilperson of today might be your U.S. senator tomorrow (or president!).

– Local races can be underfunded but don’t require near as much money. Your 100 bucks can go a long way.

– Younger people sometimes have a better understanding than their elderly counterparts on certain issues. The example she uses is anytime there is a hearing on something tech-related.

– Run for Something has success stories – she mentions they’ve helped to elect 637 individuals across 48 states.

The thing about the interview is it’s not just a vent session. It’s addressing our quite frightening problems facing us, but it also offers something that so many podcasts and written pieces don’t:

What to do and steps to take. And that can be inspiring.

The last word goes to Sam Cooke, in keeping with the “inspiration during tough times” theme.

2 thoughts on “An Inspiring Discussion on Democracy?

  1. Having run for a local office that usually fly’s under the radar for most people in small to medium sized/population counties.(Port Commission)
    The biggest problem was what I called the mushy middle.
    In those sort of communities what one hears frequently is that people are not informed, nor wish to be bothered, with the issues but vote by and large on personal contacts.
    So often heard was”he belongs to the same PTA as I do and seems to be a nice guy” or “I know him from church” or many of the other myriad contacts people have with each other.
    In many cases the voters may even be aware of and disapprove of the person’s larger political stances but since these offices are below the “partisan” level they still vote for the PTA member etc.
    A corollry is that while the progressive/liberal candinates try to keep campaign above board the rwnj’s recruit “unaffliated” individuals to smear, insult and try to attaginize the progressive., with the classic “just asking questions?” i.e. What sort of profit do you hope to gain in running for office? or is it true you only stopped raping children before you entered the race?
    Stop being nice in local elections.
    Challenge the mushy middle.

  2. “ An example of this is the $90 million blown on Amy McGrath’s senate run. A fine person, but she had no chance against Mitch McConnell.”

    This line is showing up more and more in these types of articles, but the context is skipping out on a lot of necessary details. Amy McGrath ran her platform in many areas on the idea that she would be a better partner for Donald Trump than Mitch McConnell is.

    Imagine that, the Democratic Party candidate is trying to get Republican Party candidates elected. Gee, why would folks be excited to come out and vote for that?

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