By Kate Franch
“We matter.” That was my response when a local reporter asked why Greenville would be the site of Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s visit to South Carolina earlier this month. Democratic Party leadership greatly appreciates the faithful commitment of our true-blue active Democrats and voters as well as the opportunity inherent in the area’s growing population and changing demographics. Additionally critical to electing Democrats up and down the ballot are the many unregistered voters and “missing” voters (I.e., inconsistent turnout from one election to the next) throughout the Upstate. In his remarks at the dinner with the Speaker, SCDP Chairman Trav Robertson confirmed that Greenville and the Upstate will be ground zero in a voter mobilization effort over the next year.
We welcome the attention, the recognition, and the resources. It’s not news to any of you that activism and engagement have increased significantly during the past several years. Volunteerism and vote totals in the midterm and special elections have demonstrated the “blue wave” momentum taking place across the county. Direct SCDP support will make flipping seats a reality so much sooner. That’s an outcome in which all of us will revel.
Our work is still at the beginning stage though. Organizing at the precinct level, activating reluctant/inconsistent voters, and supporting the brave Democrats who throw their hat in the ring each cycle must be ramped up considerably if we expect success at the ballot box. There will be more to come as partnering with the SCDP takes shape. Then it’s onto the presidential preference primary in February, a general primary if needed next June, and Election Day on November 3, 2020 (goodbye Senator Graham!).
But foremost for us, at this time, are the municipal elections on November 5. We can return Greenville City Council to a Democratic majority to ensure that economic equality and access for all City residents are the filters through which every decision is made. Greenville’s council can then serve as a moral influence on the County’s and sister cities’ councils. Accomplishing that means avoiding having Dorothy’s, Ken’s, and Matt’s victories hinge on a handful of votes – the strength of our message must be reflected in decisive wins.
The key is you. No one should sit this out. Vote if you live in Greenville and take someone with you; if you don’t live in the City, then hound anyone you know who is a resident to vote. If you live in one of the other municipalities, carefully consider your options, then exercise your right to choose your leadership as well.
And, then, find a way to participate in getting out the vote for this election. We matter if we make the process matter. Never has the saying “democracy is not a spectator sport” been more true or more instructive. Change will take hold, political progress will happen for us one election at a time. Make November 5 launch day.