Sunday, March 09, 2008

Dems been down so long, it looks like up

Mcjoan, writing in Daily Kos on the eve of the Wyoming caucuses, did a pretty thorough job of dissecting the situation. She wrapped up with this:

The challenge for Wyoming Democrats, just as it is for Idaho Dems, will be to capture the enthusiasm of new and reinvigorated Wyoming voters in actually being relevant in a presidential campaign, and to harness it to carry through November and beyond. An invigorated and involved Democratic base could make this the election that sends Blue Majority candidate Gary Trauner to Congress.

Maintaining enthusiasm – that’s the challenge for Wyoming Democrats. That goes for Obama and Clinton supporters. I was impressed at the intense campaign waged by the Obama team here in Cheyenne. Those people were organized and they brought fire to the cause. Every Dem household in the state received a phone call. All doors were knocked on. I’ve talked to lots of people received multiple phone calls. When we brought this up to field director Pat Lane, he had an interesting response, one I’d never thought about. He said that supporters won’t be dissuaded by multiple phone calls. They may get testy, but they can be counted on to vote. A second or third call might sway an undecided voter, or it may remind Dems to get out to the polls. Independents and Libertarians may get angry, but it also may get them to the polls. Republicans may see multiple calls as harassment. But what the heck – why not irritate a Republican? Any Wyoming Democrat who hasn't been cussed out on the phone (or in person) by a Republican can't really call himself/herself a Dem.

But Wyomingites never received the amount of calls that Iowans did in the months leading up to its primary. Households received calls from all the candidates multiple times. And they turned out in record numbers this year.

The message is clear. It takes a well-organized and well-funded campaign to win an election. Democrats in Wyoming have been down so long it looks like up to us. Many had just given up. It took a lot of effort to get them out of their lethargy – but they did come out. Almost 8,700 votes were cast statewide. In the 2004 county conventions, less that 700 votes were cast. The 2008 numbers are 12 times those of 2004. Some of those reflect people who switched parties, a Republican or Independent registering as a Dem and who will probably switch back before November. But most of those voters were either new registrants or newly-motivated Dems or people so fed up with the Republican Party that they switched and won’t go back. I know several of those in Cheyenne.

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