Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Dems: remember your Red State roots

Julie Fanselow started Idaho's Red State Rebels blog in 2003, way before most of us knew what a blog was. It's a great site, and I urge you to check it out on a regular basis.

Julie's post "Red State Expats -- Please Send Money Home" appeared Dec. 19 in the a Huffington Post. She proposes that all those expatriate Idahoans that have moved to more progressive places take the money they might give to candidates in safely Democratic areas (San Francisco, for instance) and send it home to turn their home states a lighter shade of red.

Here are some excerpts:

I thought about the neighborhoods in San Francisco and how they fall silent at the holidays as many city dwellers briefly return to their parents' homes in Provo, Pocatello or Paducah. I thought about similar scenes that will unfold over the next two weeks in New York, Chicago, Boston, Los Angeles and Seattle, as young urbanites visit their hometowns, and then leave utterly thankful that they have found more progressive places to live....

With Howard Dean leaving the DNC, the fate of the 50-state strategy is somewhat uncertain. All the DNC's State Partnership Plan employees were furloughed after the election, pending the formulation of a new program. But even if the new DNC chair fully funds a new SPP, state parties will remain bare-bones operations where your small-dollar contributions can make a huge difference for field operations, activist training, technology, candidate recruitment and communications in 2010 and beyond.

We all need to come together to advance Obama's progressive agenda, but we can't forget about the grassroots community organizing work that needs to happen in states like mine. Democrats are making progress in the red states: 36 percent of Idahoans voted for Obama, up from just 30 percent who voted for John Kerry, for example, and every Idaho county but one voted more Democratic in 2008 than in 2004. With your help -- and that, we hope, of the DNC -- we can continue moving light-red counties into the purple-and-blue tapestry that is slowly but surely filling up the map of our great nation.

Wyoming, as we discovered during the most recent election, has a lot of work to do to get out of The Red Zone. Gary Trauner got hammered by Cynthia Lummis for the state's lone U.S. House seat when Republicans voted the party line. Enzi and Barrasso easily defeated their Democratic opponents in the U.S. Senate races. McCain/Palin won handily. We need more registered Democrats to even the odds. But we can't import in numbers large enough to blunt the Repub advantage.

Remember the Great Libertarian Scare earlier this century, in which Libertarians were urged to move to Wyoming and transform it into an Ayn Rand Utopia? A few made the move, but no word yet on when the Exodus will begin in earnest. Some old-timers may remember a similar scare 40 years ago, when hippies were urged to move to Wyoming, take over local governments, and transform The Cowboy State into a Tie-Dyed Nirvana. That movement may have been nipped in the bud by the infamous incident in which some overzealous cowboys in Cheyenne took sheep shears to a wayward hippie's locks. Not sure why cowpunchers were using sheep shears, but that's the story. It may be a rural legend.

One thing's clear -- we need to work harder getting out the Dem message. We need better candidate recruitment -- and training for activists. We also need to keep our hair short.

During the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays, Cheyenne fills up with kids and grandkids and assorted relatives who have moved away from their spawning grounds. This short-term migration also occurs during Cheyenne Frontier Days each summer. Many of these people have found great jobs and new lives down the road in Colorado, which voted blue in a big way in 2008. Others are spread all over the nation. Not all are progressives or Dems or believers in the audacity of hope. But some are. I have a message for them: Help!

1 comment:

mark said...
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