Inside a Democratic campaign—Hot takes?

first_imgThere are some truths that aren’t just hot takes.When someone comes to the table with actual math, data, or knowledge, that isn’t so much a hot take as it is information about what happened inside a campaign. So, for example, if members of a campaign staff or party apparatus were to come out and say: “Okay, we don’t know about the rest, but we know this one part really did go wrong, and here is what we think” that avoids just the blanket statements that make big assumptions. In many states, you are going to have races that can be quickly summarized: a candidate didn’t work. They didn’t raise any money. They didn’t have the prerequisite desire for the position. Those things can all be done in a way that leaves a path forward and says: okay, here is how we fix things.- Advertisement – I look at the Kansas map and one race that stands out to me is House District 70. Here, the same two candidates have faced off multiple years. They faced off in 2016, 2018, 2020. In the first two years this Republican district went, well, Republican. With the Republican representative receiving roughly ~5,400 votes. In 2020? There were 8,186 votes for the Republican—almost a three thousand vote bump this year. I’ve observed similar trends in a lot of red states where looking at the data, it was often Republicans who didn’t normally turn out who came to the ballot box. I have some theories on that—but until we start seeing better data, all we can do is say: wow, that is interesting and start listening.UGHIt is often easiest to blame everyone but the campaign itself. To say: hey, it was a vendor. It was a national trend. It was the environment. It was any other reason. All of those things have an impact. That, however, doesn’t mean that every campaign can’t learn a little bit every cycle. Campaigns can run in absolutely unwinnable districts and still come back to the table and say: okay, what went right? What went wrong? Be candid with yourself. Don’t start yelling and screaming and blaming, but start openly assessing the things that were under your control that you wish you had done differently.- Advertisement – When I talk to campaign staff and candidates, most will tell you they are open to a postmortem, a reconsideration, second-guessing, even some blame if it is due. If you are going to state your opinion though, keep it directed and specific items that you can address or are things that can be rectified. Saying: “We need a better long-term investment strategy into party infrastructure, and that may not pay off for years” is different than saying: “our party sucks.” There are, in fact, bad county and state organizations. Throwing bombs at them though has to come with a combination of truth and solution. Before you pronounce problems, see if you can find out solutions and talk to those who know if there was ever any attempt at solutions to problems you see, and how those worked out. Your criticism can help make organizations better if you do it productively—and if you decide yourself to take on that change, just do it, run for your own local party office, whether it is a county chair or a position on a state committee.Most precinct-level data isn’t available … yet.It will be some time before complete precinct-level data is back that can be matched with voter targets and ballot returns. Before we know how many of our voters actually came out and voted, or how successful our voter contact plan was, keep in mind we don’t know the entire universe of the election just yet.- Advertisement – Being willing to do that makes you better—every single cycle. Part of the growth you want to have as a volunteer, a campaign worker, or a candidate is to sit back and say: hmm, I liked this, and I didn’t like this item in our campaign. Hindsight is always 20/20. Even if it would have made no difference in the outcome of your race, looking back at those decisions can give you something to pass on to the next candidate to run or to yourself if you run again. Too many candidates say: “wipe it from your mind, just pick up and move on.” While you don’t want to dwell on a loss, taking some time to plot back through it is often comforting and can help you think about your race from a new perspective.If a take can be summed up in 140 characters or by people who don’t live by  you … it generally sucks.It takes a lot more time to develop a really informed situation. There are a lot of people who will want to make assessments about your county, campaign, state, or district who have absolutely no idea what your district looks like. Value those closer to the situation far more than people far away. They have a better understanding and they have institutional knowledge that just can’t be gained from a big board. – Advertisement –last_img

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