Thoughts from Netroots CA, 2010 Election

(Also at Nevada Progressive, and I have photos from Netroots CA at my Twitpic!)

OK, so I’ve had more time to process what happened. And I had a chance to talk with my old Cali friends at Netroots California last Saturday. And I came out surprisingly hopeful about our future.

While we did have some rough losses in Nevada, overall the picture here was much brighter than the rest of the country. Come on, all the incumbent statewide elected Democrats are reelected while Harry Reid won by over 5.6%! Reid outperformed almost all the public polls. What happened? How come “The Great Red Tide” that destroyed many Dems in many states east of The Rockies was barely a ripple here?

Basically, it comes down to what Harry Reid and Nevada Democrats did right. They invested in getting out the vote. They made our progressive message clear and concise AND accessible to regular voters. And they reached out to minority communities and actually IMPROVED Latin@ turnout over 2006 AND 2008!

It really comes down to this. Even in “wave elections”, “the wave” doesn’t have to be a monstrous tsunami. Good campaigns still matter. Good field still matters. And good messaging still matters. Harry Reid made all this happen and more.

Ralston explained this on Sunday.

The Reid organization’s Terminator-like single-mindedness, relentlessness and discipline turned preparation into the most satisfying victory of Reid’s career, a resurrection unthinkable most of the year by the Beltway cognoscenti. Combined with an Angle campaign that was thoroughly unprepared for the post-primary onslaught – think of a Little League batter facing Roy Halladay – that by the time the GOP nominee brought in some D.C. pros, the damage was insurmountable.

Interestingly, a similar dynamic appeared in California last Tuesday. More Latin@ voters turned out than ever before. And while Jerry Brown’s campaign (for CA Governor) didn’t exactly “strike while the iron was hot” on delivering his message or attacking Meg Whitman’s record, California unions did. And they delivered, big time!

And Barbara Boxer followed a very similar strategy to Reid’s in defining Carly Fiorina early as quite the unacceptable choice, delivering a progressive message in a practical way to attract voters (Hint: Make it real. Make it tangible. Make it about one’s pocketbook/wallet/purse.), and turning out Dem voters like crazy.

Again, it comes down to whether Democrats can field good candidates, deliver a good message, and turn out as many allied voters as possible. It worked in California and Nevada… But because the national Democratic groups failed in these categories and many other state parties were in turmoil, that’s why the results were so bad elsewhere.

Why didn’t other Senate candidates try to turn health care reform and good climate policy into winning arguments? Why didn’t other state parties invest more in good GOTV infrastructure? Why didn’t the DCCC and DSCC take a closer look at the winning arguments being made by Reid and Boxer?

That’s the challenge moving forward. President Obama needs to rethink his messaging. Democrats need to work harder on showing how good progressive policy means more and better jobs. And Democrats nationally need to look at places like Nevada and California to learn how to rebuild good, strong GOTV infrastructure. And if Obama can turn his numbers around and offer a strong and appealing progressive message that reveals the crap the GOP is truly offering and explains how to truly get our nation back on track, he can win handily again and Democrats can soon retake the House and keep the Senate.

It really comes down to that. Oh, and I had a great time in SF… 😉

But I’m hoping we have an even better time back in Vegas this weekend!

“Dewey Defeats Truman” => “Angle Defeats Reid” (NV-Sen)

(Also at Nevada Progressive)

If we’re to believe all the Beltway chatter, Sharron Angle has surged into the lead, Harry Reid is pathetic, and Nevada is doomed.

Guess what? They’re wrong! Let me explain…

Need I say more?

She is an embarrassment. She is ridiculous. She offers nothing but batsh*t crazy…

And she’s winning? Not exactly. Jon Ralston, Nevada’s top pundit, explained this morning what may actually be happening

So what do we know so far? Not a lot. I have three days worth of data to peruse, just under a fourth of the 14-day total. Despite reports elsewhere, the Republicans have yet to show any unusual surge in voting, and The Reid Machine is holding its own.

So far, in the state’s two urban counties, the Republicans have less than a percentage point edge in turnout. If the Republican turnout edge by the end of early voting is 5 percent or so – standard for a midterm – the Democrats will be pretty happy, albeit edgy.

Reid needs a small GOP margin to survive. It comes down to something either candidate might say in an unguarded moment if asked by an innocent voter what the election is really all about:

It’s the turnout, stupid.

That’s why we had a bunch of students at the north lawn at UNLV yesterday. And guess who joined us!

Yet again, many of the DC pundits are getting it wrong. Contrary to what they’ve been suggesting, there’s hardly any “enthusiasm gap”. And I have a feeling that we’ll see even less of one come this weekend.

I didn’t even really see an “enthusiasm gap” last weekend. (Check my Twitpic for proof!)

I walked my neighborhood last weekend, and here’s what I found. ALL of the Democrats I talked to are voting for Harry Reid and Dina Titus, and all but two either already voted or will definitely be voting early this week. (The other two I may have to check on later this week.) All but one Nonpartisan (Independent) I talked with in my neighborhood last weekend are also supporting Reid and Titus. (The one who wouldn’t just doesn’t want to vote… Sad.) Oh, and I even found another Republican for Reid in my neighborhood!

Now I know my precinct doesn’t tell the whole story, but let me explain this. It’s typically one of the more pro-Republican areas of Henderson. It’s no “liberal nirvana”. And on a couple streets in the subdivision across the main street from my community, a few of the Republicans put up Angle signs. They may be revved up… But so are we.

And in fact, the other side may not be forming as strong of a “wave” as the Beltway pundits have been bloviating over for months now…

The Tea Party movement has gained the image of an unstoppable wave of anger sweeping everything before it as it seeks to overthrow the Washington establishment. Well in Elko, Nevada, last night it looked a little less than that.

About 150 people turned up in an open field on a very chilly night to welcome the Tea Party Express, the bus tour that is crossing America in the run-up to next month’s midterm elections. Most of the participants were in their sixties or above, and the event had more in common with a sedate charity gala than a political revolution.

The low turnout and lack of energy was puzzling as it came just four hours’ drive after a rousing start to the bus tour in Reno, addressed by Sarah Palin. I was lost for an explanation. This was after all the same state, the same battle to boot out Harry Reid, the local senator closely associated in Nevada with the big government spending habits of the Obama administration.

And that’s what I’ve been finding on the ground here in Southern Nevada. Sure, teabaggers pop up here and there occasionally with their protests of everything “government” (except when they want it, go figure). But with the exception of all those thousands of people who drove in or bussed in from out of state for that “Showdown in Searchlight“, I still haven’t seen any massive “grassroots” outpouring of “tea party” support.

Instead, what I see and hear is concern about when more Nevadans will get back to work, concern about access to good education, concern about the family member(s) dangerously close to foreclosure… Basically, what I’m hearing from real Nevadans is real concern about how to get our state back on track.

And I’m hearing many points of view on what to do to get Nevada moving forward again. Some agree with Guy Farmer of Nevada Appeal

I’m one of those disillusioned independent voters who supported President Obama two years ago. But, like Time magazine’s Mark Halperin, I think “the White House is in over its head, insulated, insular (and) arrogant.” I also think Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) miscalculated by joining with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-San Francisco) to champion Obama’s free-spending, Big Government agenda, which is why Reid is struggling to defeat his slightly kooky Tea Party opponent, Sharron Angle.

That said, I simply can’t vote for Angle, who has espoused a series of extreme right-wing measures such as the privatization of Medicare, Social Security and the Veterans Administration, and she went way over the line by accusing Reid of voting to provide Viagra to child molesters. Please! So I’ll be casting a reluctant vote for Reid, who delivers the pork (good pork, of course), and continues to block the proposed Yucca Mountain nuclear waste dump, which most Nevadans oppose.

While others agree with Brian Greenspun of The Las Vegas Sun

In a state that has been devastated during this economic meltdown, the things we need more than anything else are jobs and the promise of more jobs. We don’t need people to talk about them, we need people to do something about them. This week, thousands of new jobs from renewable energy firms were announced. Some will come almost immediately, some will come in a few months. All of them are the direct result of the efforts of the majority leader of the U.S. Senate, Harry Reid.

We have learned a valuable lesson in this state in the past two years and that is we can no longer rely on gaming and construction industries to secure our futures. They both depend on the discretionary income of others who are willing to come to Nevada. When those incomes disappeared and discretionary dollars became necessary dollars for mortgages and car payments, those people stayed home. Nevada will suffer until people feel secure enough to come back and enjoy all that Nevada has to offer. We have learned that we cannot allow ourselves to be dependent upon the good will and good cheer of others ever again. We need a better plan!

That is why we must have good, high-paying jobs in other industries, and there is no better 21st-century industry than renewable energy. The world needs what we can produce in Nevada, which has been dubbed the Saudi Arabia of solar energy. That means we have plenty of sun – an unlimited supply – and we can become the energy producer for the rest of the country if we do this right.

That will take everybody working together, especially the right person in the majority leader’s chair – someone who both gives a darn about Nevada and believes his job is to help bring jobs to his home state. One thing we did learn from the debate is that Angle will not lift a finger to help and that Reid will do and has done everything possible to secure our futures in this state. Of course, most of us knew that before the debate. Now everyone knows that if it is jobs for Nevada that we want, only one candidate believes it is his job to make them happen.

But without a doubt, most of the people I’ve spoken with here agree that our only chance of moving forward is with Harry Reid as our Senate Majority Leader. And I know I’m not alone. That’s what the Beltway pundits are missing. This isn’t a game to us. We’re dealing with our very lives here, and we can’t afford the insane and dangerous extremism of Sharron Angle.

I want to be able to finish school at UNLV and get a good job. My unemployed friends depended on unemployment insurance, and need good jobs soon. My friend who came close to foreclosure needed someone to help him negotiate with the bank to keep his home. My parents depend on Social Security to survive. And guess who’s been helping us?

Again, this isn’t a game to us. And I think this is what’s closing “the enthusiasm gap”. And at the end of the day, I think a whole lot of folks will be surprised by the final election results.

NV-03: Life Inside a “Swing District”

(Also at Nevada Progressive)

All too often, I hear the Beltway pundits chatter away over national poll numbers, party fundraising, who’s hiring which lobbyists, what the strategists at The White House must REALLY be thinking, and so much more.

But you know what? Here in what may be one of the districts that determines who will control Congress next year, none of that really matters. People here are asking who has solutions to the actual problems that plague us.

“For Sale” signs hang in front of houses on most blocks. Apartment buildings fly banners advertising discounted rent and free Internet to lure tenants into vacant units. Businesses are closing, and the ones staying open are cutting employees’ hours. The district leads the nation in unemployment and the state in foreclosures.

In interviews with the Sun, the overwhelming sentiment among voters of all political persuasions is that government is not working.

How to fix it? That’s the debate that will decide this congressional race – and the races for U.S. Senate and governor.

And I know all about these real problems, as my own friends and family here have suffered in this economy. They’ve lost jobs. They’ve come dangerously close to foreclosure. And I’ve felt scared.

No, most of my fellow voters in Nevada’s 3rd Congressional District aren’t paying too much attention to the DC chatter. They just want solutions to the problems we’re facing here.

And one of the biggest problems here is home foreclosures, and Dina Titus has had to fact this head on. Dina’s district office is constantly working on helping distressed homeowners avoid foreclosure. I have spoken with people whose homes were saved thanks to the help they got from Dina and her staffers. While she’s just one representative in the US House, she just happens to represent one of the hardest hit districts in the country and her office has had to rise to this occasion.

Over the past year, her office estimates Titus has saved constituents $2.4 million, most of it by reworking mortgages. (Some of the savings is from unrelated help, including securing veterans’ or Social Security benefits.)

Five staffers in Titus’ district office in Las Vegas now handle housing problems, in addition to the jobs they were hired to do. They have no formal training in real estate or mortgage finance. Each carries about 100 cases at a time. One staffer has personally handled 300 cases.

The group started out rescuing homes from foreclosure in much the same way homeowners facing foreclosure do, dialing up the banks’ call centers and asking for help. They got put on hold, transferred, disconnected.

They learned by “trial and error.” Each time they found a bank staffer who seemed competent, they jotted down the name and number, and returned with new cases. They built relationships.

Of course, the other big concern here is jobs.

And of course, Joe Heck, the Republican running against Dina Titus, is trying to make this into an issue that hurts her. And yes, people here are very frustrated over the economy here and the need for more and better jobs. However, Heck seems to forget what he has said about jobs in contrast to what Dina Titus has done to bring jobs here. And by the way, guess who he agrees with on this?

Dr. Heck even used the same wording as Angle, “the role of Congress is not to create jobs”, and he also wants to privatize Social Security and Medicare, just as Sharron Angle wants to do. In fact,Dr. Heck took $5000.00 dollars for signing a pledge to privatize Social Security and Medicare.

For more than 200 years, voters in every State have sent their elected officials to DC to help bring money back to their States for all kinds of special projects that create jobs.

There are thousands of special projects across the country and most of them are worthy projects and deserving of our federal dollars, not all special projects are pork.

Because of Nevada’s Democratic delegation of Dina Titus, Shelly Berkley, and Harry Reid, new jobs are being created for Nevada.

Solar plants, wind turbines, and geothermal are all being expanded in our State, and with that expansion comes jobs. A new high speed train system from Southern California to Las Vegas will be built, which will bring more tourists to our State, which will create new jobs. A new VA hospital, more jobs, etc. You get the idea.

None of those special projects could have happened without the help of the federal government and the federal dollars that our elected officials help to secure for those special projects.

What, you thought we could talk about Nevada politics without bringing up Sharron Angle??!!

But seriously, compare this…

To this…

Remember, they are both Republicans running for Congress on the same platform here in Nevada… And Heck wholeheartedly endorsed Angle in July at the Nevada GOP Convention!

“The primary’s over. We now have to rally around a slate of candidates up and down the ticket — Sharron Angle all the way down the ticket.” [Emphasis mine.]

So while Joe Heck tries to “hedge his bets” these days, he can’t take back his doubling down on Sharron Angle’s extreme agenda.

But of course, there’s a flip to this. What about this guy?

Yep, Harry Reid factors very much into this as well. Not that long ago, when Reid was considered “a goner”, many pundits were also quick to write off Titus. However, I had thought otherwise for some time… And now, I’m hoping and doing whatever I can to ensure I’ll be proven right in November.

For one, it’s not like everyone here is ignorant as to who’s been working hard to deliver some much needed help.

In addition, Angle and Heck are doing themselves (and each other) no favors in refusing to offer any help and skewing so far to the right.

Phil Esser, 68, a music minister in Boulder City, said he voted for Porter two years ago because he trusted him. This year, Esser will vote for Titus.

“I think she’s doing a good job.”

For Esser, it comes down to the approach. The Tea Party, with its aggressive anti-establishment campaign, turns him off. He sees local Republicans, including Heck, as sharing the Tea Party vision.

“It’s kind of like the old Ross Perot party, but with torches,” Esser said. “Ross Perot wanted change and accountability in government. I thought that was healthy for our political system. But I don’t see that now with the Tea Party people insisting our president is a Muslim.”

In the U.S. Senate race, Esser plans to vote for Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid for the same reasons. Two years ago, Esser was unsure whether he would vote to re-elect Reid.

And here’s another thing that the pundits don’t see, but I do. I see Dina Titus out in the community all the time, whether it’s at festive events like the Boulder City Damboree Parade

Or at a BBQ by my house in Henderson with our local LGBTQ community

Or at all the “Congress on the Corner” open house days with constituents and other events throughout the community where she just takes time to listen to us and whatever concerns we have to share with her. Honestly, I really can’t think of any representative I’ve had to deal with before who was more available and more accessible than Dina is. If I had to grade Dina on constituent service, she’d easily get an A+!

(And for the record, I still haven’t seen Heck anywhere around here…)

And finally, there’s a little something I consider to be Nevada Democrats‘ “secret weapon” in winning this election. No, I’m not really about EMILY’s List or President Obama coming to town, though both will certainly be helpful in keeping NV-03 and the entire state blue. No, I’m talking about something that I saw being built up in 2008, and is now operating in full force.

The state party has been very wise in investing in a strong party structure and strong field operation designed to turn out votes for Reid, and for Titus here in NV-03. Whenever I stop by my local office in Henderson, I always see volunteers on the phones and field organizers at work planning walks and other events. Even while we may be freaking out over poll numbers and White House rumors and lobbyist chatter online, they’re laying the essential groundwork for any kind of Democratic win here in November. And most importantly, the base is busy at work here.

Now don’t get me wrong, we can’t take anything for granted here. Times are turbulent, people are restless, and there’s still so much more to do to get our state and our country back on track.

However, I feel a sense of zen calm when I think about what might happen in November. I listen to what my neighbors have to say at our “poolside chats”. (Yes, I’m fortunate enough to have two lovely pools in my suburban gated community in Henderson.) I always let them start the discussion, and they tell me about how Sharron Angle scares them or how Dina Titus had a card table outside the grocery store or how Harry Reid brought home more funds for UNLV. As long as they, and all the other sane folks here vote, we’ll win. 😉

On Joining the Impact

(Cross-posted at C4O Democrats)

It wasn’t that long ago when I was just crying in my bedroom, not knowing what I could do next. Prop 8 had passed in California, and it felt like I was completely stripped of my human rights. Why did everything go so wrong when it seemed like the worst had just ended with Barack Obama’s victory?

But in the next few days, hope returned. Lawsuits were filed to protect people’s rights. People soon took to the streets to protest the temporary “win” for hate. And most importantly, a new civil rights movement was born as people began organizing to show the state, the nation, and the world that love conquers all.

So how has a temporary defeat resulted in a sudden push for victory?

In the months before the November 4 election, the “old school” LGBT political organizations (like Human Rights Campaign and The Task Force) and a HUGE group of elite “old school” West Coast political consultants decided to run a top-down, cautious campaign to defeat Prop 8. There was little mention of the married couples about to lose their legal rights. There were no feet on the ground organized by the campaign to talk to neighbors in the community about the threat to everyone’s civil rights posed by Prop 8. There were just a 12-page long phone bank script and rounds of TV ads trying to respond to the constant barrage of lies pounding the airwaves. That was a recipe for disaster.

Fortunately in the days following the disappointing election day results, something changed. Everyday people rose up to fight for their rights. Suddenly, an angry (but peaceful) uprising was transforming into a full-fledged movement. And then, it spread beyond California. It became a national uprising for equal rights.

And really, this is why I now feel a calm sense of reassuring hope. Now don’t get me wrong, I refuse to become overconfident in expecting the California Supreme Court to overturn Prop 8 and/or a successful repeal campaign in 2010 and 2012. Rather, I am glad that so many of us have now realized that we are working to make victory happen.

I was once told by a New Age influenced family member that “you create your own reality”. At first, I scoffed it off. But now, I know what she meant. We create our own reality by taking action, joining the impact, making it happen. We have the power now to make our case to the court, convince the voters, overturn Prop 8, and guarantee civil rights for all.

The power is ours. The time is now. What can we do in the coming days, weeks, and months ahead to end hateful discrimination and let love prevail?

How The West Was Won… And Lost


(Proudly cross-posted at C4O)

This week has been nothing short of amazing! Barack Obama will be our next President. More and better Democrats will be going to Congress. The electoral map has undergone a major blue shift.

So why has this whole experience been bittersweet at best for me? Well, all is not well in my own home state. So what can we celebrate and what must we fix? Let me share with you the story of this election from behind the scenes.


First off, let’s start with the bad news. We lost in California. But wait, you ask, didn’t Obama win by about 24%? Isn’t that good? Of course it is, and that isn’t the problem.

The problem in California is that Barack Obama had hardly any coattails here. Look at how Prop 8, the marriage ban, may end up having to be stopped at the courts (again, hopefully). Look at how, barring the results in CA-44 & CA-04 changing in the provisional vote count, we have not gained any new Congressional seats. Look at how we’re still short of a 2/3 supermajority in both houses of the state legislature.

Simply put, we failed our mission in The Golden State. There were hundreds of thousands of “undervotes” here, meaning that people voted Obama for President but did NOT continue downballot to vote on Congress, the initiatives, and local races. This is nothing short of tragic, and there’s no excuse for the nation’s biggest Blue State to still show so much red! Because of the inept and disastrous “leadership” of the state party, the refusal of the DCCC to invest in real races like CA-44 & CA-46, and the horribly gawd-awful “leadership” by The Task Force & Equality California on the No on 8 campaign & their failure to have a real ground game, we missed the opportunity to turn the Obama victory into a progressive victory in California.




Now contrast what happened in California on Tuesday to what happened in Nevada on the same day. While one state didn’t change much, the other state next door underwent a massive transformation! Like Mountain West neighbors New Mexico & Colorado, Nevada is now officially a Blue State! And not just that, but Democrats now have a broad and clear mandate for progressive change.

Progressive Democrat Dina Titus was elected to Congress in a “swing district” that Bush won in 2004. Democrats now control both houses in the state legislature for the first time since 1991, including a 2/3 supermajority in the Assembly. Voters approved a good initiative that will actually help Nevada fully fund its schools. And of course, Barack Obama won the ex-Red State by a whopping 12%, including an 18% win in Clark County (Las Vegas Metro) and wins in the formerly Republican Carson City & Washoe (Reno) Counties!

So why were the results in Nevada so dramatically different? Let’s see, Harry Reid and the state party leaders actually began early in registering more Democrats and building an aggressive field operation while the GOP was power drunk and asleep at the wheel. The Obama campaign and the state party were effective in coordinating with the Dina Titus campaign, the Jill Derby campaign up north, and the local campaigns. All the candidates up and down the ballot had a clear and consistent message for change more. economy, energy & environment, education, health care, and so much more. Basically, Democrats worked together on the ground and that’s why we won!

So what lessons can we learn from this tale of two states? First off, there’s no real substitute for a grassroots door-to-door, face-to-face campaign. Despite the good last-minute ads, they may have been too little & too late to make up for the lack of a ground game for No on 8 in California. Meanwhile in Nevada, no amount of negative attack ads from the Republicans against Dina Titus & Barack Obama could make up for their complete lack of a ground game while we Democrats truly rocked the vote!

OSecondly, Nevada Democrats succeeded in translating an Obama victory into a progressive victory while California Democrats were simply lost in translation. Why couldn’t we win the 45th & 48th Congressional Districts when Obama carried them? Why couldn’t Debbie Cook win in the 46th when Obama carried it? Why were there so many undervotes statewide? Whatever the Nevada Democratic Party did right, the California Democratic Party needs to learn how to do it.

And finally, we should all be of good cheer! The West is ours if we want it! The results across the region prove that where Democrats work, Democrats win. But in places like California where state party leaders grew complacent, we lost out on real opportunities.

So what do we do next? After we’re done celebrating, we will go back to work! We have more work to do to keep progress going, so let’s do it! 😀



The Battleground in My Backyard


(Proudly cross-posted at C4O)

Nervous yet? I know I am. It’s crazy enough having to follow the Presidential Election 24/7. But for me and my friends & family here in California, we have even more on our minds!

We have a Congressional race to win. We have an evil, discriminatory

ballot initiative to defeat
. And of course, we have a community, a county, and a country to take back!

Let me tell you about what I did last weekend to make all of this happen.


On Saturday, I met with some hard-working union friends in Costa Mesa to walk a neighborhood for Debbie Cook. As always, the pre-walk rally was great! Debbie fired up the crowd as she talked about what she would do to actually serve us in the district. Local labor leaders talked about what we can do to translate enthusiasm for Obama into votes for local Democrats. All in all, I felt quite good about what I was about to do to help Debbie win.

I also felt good about going out and talking to voters about Proposition 8. For all of you unfamiliar with California politics, we often govern by initiative because of our dysfunctional state government. Unfortunately, the radical right has used the initiative process to try to pass horrible legislation that wouldn’t otherwise see the light of day in Sacramento. Prop 8 is one of these horrid radical right power plays that would overturn marriage equality in California and reinstate a Plessy v. Ferguson style segregation that treats gay and lesbian couples as inferior to straight couples. The polls on Prop 8 are close now, so we can’t take anything for granted. That’s why I included Prop 8 in my walk.



After the rally, I walked with a friend from the local Young Democrats club in a Republican leaning area near the 405 Freeway in Costa Mesa. At first, I was disheartened by all the “Yes on 8” and “McCain-Palin” signs I saw on the street. But as I began talking to the voters on our list, my experience wasn’t so demoralizing. In fact, I found a few undecided Republicans, two houses with Debbie Cook signs up, and a beautiful 90 year old woman who smiled as she told me she was voting for Debbie Cook and against Prop 8! All in all, that’s not so bad for a “Republican stronghold”!

On Sunday, I shifted to the small southwestern portion of Santa Ana that lies in the 46th Congressional District. Specifically, I walked the neighborhood across the street from mine which has sizable Latino and Vietnamese populations. And while this neighborhood is less Republican than the Costa Mesa neighborhood I walked the previous day, I knew it would still be an uphill battle here. So what happened?

I was in for some pleasant surprises! I met a wonderful 80 year old woman who was glad to hear about Debbie Cook and was already voting no on 8. I met a fantastic 60+ couple who have been volunteering for, so they were very receptive to what I had to say! I found a couple more undecided Republicans and some young voters who appreciated my last minute reminder to vote. So again, the final results weren’t as bad as I had originally expected.

So what does this all mean? Hopefully, this means that we can win if we work for it! Despite all the talk of whether or not Obama will “win by a landslide!”, we can’t be sidetracked into post-election punditry when we still have an election to actually win! And despite all the talk about California being “safe”, it’s NOT! It’s not safe for marriage equality, but on the other hand it’s also not safe for corrupt Republicans.

So what can we do in the next week? We can donate! We can volunteer! We can do all we can in the next week to win and WIN BIG! So don’t just stand there, but go out & help win this election! 😀  





It’s Not All Safe in California

Barack Obama need not worry about our 55 electoral votes. House incumbents like Jerry McNerney (CA-11) and Loretta Sanchez (CA-47) that may be vulnerable in other election cycles need not worry this year. So why should we care about California now?

Let me explain it to you.

First, let me start with some bad news. The radical right has bomarded us once again with horrifying initiatives that WE MUST DEFEAT! Mainly, Proposition 4 and Proposition 8 should scare us all. Why?  Because the radical right is willing to endanger teenage girls with Prop 4 to chip away at women’s reproductive rights while they also work to pass Prop 8 and legalize bigotry and discrimination as they take away marriage equality.

Get the picture now? The election in California is just as important as in Nevada or Virginia.

Oh, and here’s another reason to care about The Golden State: Congress! I should know. I live just blocks away from one of the hottest races in SoCal (our slang for Southern California). And guess what? I’m getting to work over here! I know Debbie Cook can win CA-46 if we support her!

And you know what else? It’s not just Debbie Cook in the 46th District. It’s Bill Durston in the 3rd District, Charlie Brown in the 4th District, Bill Hedrick in the 44th District, Julie Bornstein in the 45th District, and Nick Leibham in the 50th District. It’s also people like my good friend’s husband who’s running for State Senate. It’s those competitive Assembly seats that can give us a Supermajority. It’s those local level races that can fill up our bench with great future Democratic leaders!

So please, please don’t forget us here in California! Please help us defend our values and expand our majority! We must act now to keep California blue… And hopefully make it bluer! 🙂

Nevada: Up Close & Personal

(Proudly cross-posted at C4O)


Last weekend, I was lucky enough to see the state of the race for myself. I traveled to the heart of Battleground Country. Because Nevada’s 5 electoral votes are up for grabs and two Nevada Republicans may lose their House seats this fall, I wanted to do something to help. That’s why I packed my bags, took some spare change for my favorite slot machines (NOT!), and made sure my family in Henderson had an extra bed for me to crash on.

I went to Vegas, baby, and I’m giving you the full report on what’s happening there!



Luckily for me, my cousin’s house is in the eye of the electoral storm. She lives in the 3rd Congressional District, the part of Nevada where Obama needs to win to carry the state… And the district where a Dina Titus win will give Democrats the majority in Nevada’s Congressional Delegation. So when I left my house on Friday, I was thrilled to go to a place where I can double the impact with the same amount of time!

When I arrived in town on Friday night, the Presidential Debate was just ending. I had listened on the radio while my friend Harriet and I were driving up the 15, and I was personally impressed by Obama’s performance. Still, I was anxious to find out what my moderate-conservative Republican cousin in Henderson thought about it. And to my surprise, she was also impressed!

Believe it or not, my Republican cousin will be voting for Democrat Barack Obama this fall. Why? Believe it or not, she may be upper middle-class… But she and her husband are still only a couple paychecks away from losing their home. Their house has now lost about $80,000 of its value while they still have to pay an “interest only mortgage” that’s now after the “interest only” period. They consider themselves blessed that they have a beautiful house in a great neighborhood just down the hill from the most exclusive estates in the Las Vegas Valley, but they still fear what would happen to them and their two kids if one of them were to have a health scare or lose a job. That’s why both my Republican cousin and her Democratic husband are voting for Obama.

And you know what? This isn’t an isolated case. In fact, I would find more of this the following two days when I strapped on my tennies and hit the pavement.




On Saturday morning, I regrouped with Harriet and joined with all the other California Obama volunteers who drove to Nevada for the weekend. Before we were sent off to knock doors, we were given the lay of the land. In just four years, Nevada has turned from a Republican plurality state into a state with 80,000 more registered Democrats than Republicans! In the 3rd District alone, Democrats now have a 29,000 voter registration edge! And now in previously GOP friendly Vegas suburbs like Henderson, voters are afraid of losing their jobs, losing their health care, losing their houses, and losing the middle-class American Dream they thought they had achieved. That’s why it was critical to get volunteers like us on the ground here to explain to voters what Democrats like  

Barack Obama and Dina Titus will do to help working people.





So that’s what we did over the next two days. We knocked doors. We talked to voters who still had doubts about Obama. We urged Obama voters to vote early. We reminded everyone not to forget Dina Titus and the state legislature candidates.

Oh yes, and we also listened. We listened as retirees told us about their health care worries. We listened as young people were telling us about their plans to finish college and get a real career. We listened to parents telling us about how they want to leave to their kids a better nation and a healthier planet. We listened to Democrats thrilled about a chance for us to make history (in a good way!). We also listened to Indpendents and Republicans, who have never voted for a Democrat before in their lifetimes, tell us that Barack Obama is the only candidate who they can trust with our nation’s future.

And believe it or not, I could count the number of McCain supporters we encountered on our walks with one hand. Even though we were mainly walking middle-class and upper middle-class neighborhoods in leafy (for the desert) suburban Henderson, hardly anyone on our lists turned out to be McCain supporters. This just goes to show how Southern Nevada’s changing and how much the people who live here are yearning for real change.

Now I know my experience in Las Vegas last weekend was only a snapshot of what’s really happening in Nevada right now. However, I must admit came back on Sunday feeling more confident of the Democratic operation in Nevada. We have a real chance of winning and winning BIG here… But only if we support our Democrats!

There’s plenty we can all do to help Democrats win this year. We can drive. We can walk. We can call. And yes, we can give. So please join us in helping in any way you can. The stakes are too high, and we can’t afford to lose this time. Let’s win, and let’s take our country back!




On Winning the Midwest: Part 1

(Proudly cross-posted at C4O)

Last week, we finished surveying the lay of the land out West. This week, we begin to turn our attention to the Midwest. Yes, that’s right. The Midwest looks to be once again a crucial battleground to win both the White House and Congress. And with just six weeks left until election day, we’d like to talk about the state of the races in America’s Heartland.

So would you like to join us?

Let’s begin with Ohio. Ohio may yet again be THE critical swing state this year, as polls show an extremely tight race here. However, the Presidential race isn’t the only exciting contest in The Buckeye State. We also have some great opportunities to win some more Congressional seats as well!

In the Columbus based 15th District, we have a great candidate in Mary Jo Kilroy. She’s currently a Franklin County (Columbus) Commissioner who has a terrific record of accomplishments in bringing Republicans and Democrats together to enact real solutions to the county’s economic, health care, and environmental problems. But while Kilroy offers a message of real change, her Republican opponent only offers more of the same Bush-Cheney-McCain nonsense. Mary Jo Kilroy nearly ousted the Republican incumbent in 2006 (who’s now retiring) and Bush barely squeaked by with 50% of the vote here in 2004, so this district is ripe for the picking in 2008! With the DCCC and EMILY’S List already all in here, our help can really help put Mary Jo Kilroy (and Barack Obama, for that matter!) on top this November.

Another race that the DCCC and other top Democrats are targeting in Ohio is the 16th District. Here, Air Force veteran and current state representative John Boccieri is running to bring some real change for Northeast Ohio. He’s fought for our country, and he now wants to fight for Ohioans… For more and better jobs, affordable health care, and real help in these perilous economic times. Meanwhile, Republican Kurt Schuring… Well, he’s not quite as fond of his possible future constituents. This race is quite winnable for Democrats, and we have a terrific candidate in John Boccieri. If we support him, he will win.

Another state that’s critical for Barack Obama this fall is Michigan. The race here is close, but the renewed focus on the economy does seem to help Obama here. If there’s any state that’s been severely hit by the economic downturn, it’s Michigan.  And hopefully with Obama’s message resonating here, we can also elect more good Democrats to Congress from here.

One great candidate running is Gary Peters from Michigan’s 9th District (Oakland County, Detroit suburbs). Peters is an accomplished state legislator, business owner, and a Navy Veteran who signed up again to serve after 9/11. Unlike the incumbent Republican Joe Knollenberg, Peters wants to get to work to help rebuild Michigan’s economy. But in order to make change happen here, we need to help Gary Peters win.

Michigan and Ohio are two critical swing states for Barack Obama to win this fall. If he wins them both, he’ll likely win the White House. But in addition to the Presidential race, we have critical Congressional races to win as well in these two states. Please don’t forget to help all these wonderful Democrats win by giving what you can here and by volunteering for the campaign if you live in or near any of these districts. With our help, we’ll make victory happen on November 4 in the Midwest and all over the country! 🙂

NH-Sen: C4O Spotlights Jeanne Shaheen

(Proudly cross-posted at Clintonistas for Obama)

OK, now that the convention is over… It’s time for us to get back to work! And for us here at C4O, this means getting more & better Democrats elected. So today, I’d like to introduce you to a truly awesome person who will make a fantastic Senator from New Hampshire.

Are you ready to meet her?

Jeanne Shaheen was the first woman ever elected as Governor of New Hampshire. But not only did Gov. Shaheen make history this way, as she also worked hard as Governor to build a clean, green energy infrastructure in the state, as well as implement real ethics reform, improve New Hampshire’s schools, and advocate civil rights for all. Oh yes, and her list of accomplishments didn’t end after she left office. From 2005-07, she was Director of the Institute of Politics at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government.

Now contrast this with Republican Incumbent John Sununu. He’s an out-of-touch George W. Bush Republican who would rather side with Bush than the people of New Hampshire. The people of New Hampshire are ready for change, but Sununu only offers more of the same.

Fortunately, the race here has become quite competitive. In fact, Democrats may even have a slight advantage here. But still, that doesn’t mean we should take a win here for granted. Bush, McCain, and Sununu will do anything to win New Hampshire this fall, so we Democrats must be ready to fight back!

And guess what? Democrats are lining up to support Jeanne Shaheen! Emily’s List is on board, as well as the DSCC, the Democratic organization that supports our Senate candidates. New Hampshire is poised to be one of our best Senate pick-up opportunities, so we need to be prepared to win!

So please join us in standing up for great Democrats like Jeanne Shaheen! let’s say no more to the GOP and its watys of the past. Let’s say “Yes, We Can” and make real change happen today! 🙂