Tom Sullivan (boldface mine):
If you’re not in a swing state, especially if you’re in a more rural county in not-a-swing-state (including blue states), Barack Obama isn’t parachuting in a team from Michigan Avenue to show you how to do a high-energy, months-long, countywide GOTV and electioneering effort. The governor’s race doesn’t show up out there. The U.S. Senate race doesn’t set up out there.
Want to know one reason why Democrats get no traction in the Plains States? I tried to email Kansas, South Dakota, and Montana counties yesterday and got pissed off. The white counties in otherwise red-shaded states are either unorganized or have no email or Facebook contact information on the state party websites (and probably not even a Facebook page not listed there). That’s 40 percent of Kansas counties, half of Montana, and 70 percent of South Dakota. That’s counties, not population, naturally. Okay, very rural, low-density areas I have the luxury of not trying to organize. And maybe it is because there are no Democrats out there. Even so. Those states elect U.S. senators. If Democrats don’t show up to play, they forfeit. Look at south-central Georgia.
So, I don’t want to hear “This is the most important election of our lifetime” again. Ever. Because if you think short-term, you never invest in the future. As they say around the office, “Why is there never time to do it right, but always time to do it over?” Democrats do it over — and over — on a two-year cycle, in many places starting each time from scratch.
Turnover from the DNC on down, plus killing off the 50-state strategy, keeps local teams from building over time. State parties teach local committees to pull poorly targeted call lists from VoteBuilder, pat them on the head, and send them on their way. Not good enough.
The abandonment of party infrastructure in non-coastal areas that contributed to the loss of three Democratic senate seats seems rather important in the light of recent events. Democrats need to move towards a party that isn’t just “a big fundraising machinery“, but one that involves local Democrats–which does mean that party leaders (such as they are) might have to lose some power within the party itself.
Rank and file Democrats can’t afford not having these changes.