By Cass Tyson
The talk of the town of late seems to be how to get more involved in politics. Among social circles and public protests, at chance meetings and large organizational events, people are abuzz about the dramatic turn of events in Washington, DC.
The foreboding feeling of impending doom creates an extreme sense of urgency that something must be done- soon!- and Democrats everywhere are eager to “up their game” to more effectively combat the Republican agenda. Progressive Democrats won key races across the country last month, including right here in Greenville. Lillian Brock Flemming held on to her Greenville City Council seat in District 2, and Russell Stall was elected as the At-Large Member.
All of these Democratic wins were made possible in large part to the increased participation of volunteers at the grassroots level, and the precinct officers who helped organize them. Here at GCDP headquarters, the urgency feels almost tangible to the small band of intrepid souls who have been meeting regularly to prepare for a significant venture. Our mission: to capture those strong emotions and redirect them toward building the Democratic Party at the precinct level, so that Democrats can keep on winning elections. We are focused for the moment here in Greenville and Spartanburg Counties, but the plan is to eventually roll this out state-wide.
Informally we’re calling it the Precinct Activation Project, or just the Precinct Project… it doesn’t really have a name. Who has time for that nonsense? We’re getting stuff done!
In fact, here’s what we have accomplished in recent weeks;
1) A survey of existing precinct officers is ready to be sent out, so that we can get a sense of the kind of shape the precincts are currently in. We want to encourage all current and previously active precinct leaders to hang in there. We hope this lets them know that we need them and their experience– and that help is coming soon.
2) A flyer describing the initiative is ready for distribution. We like to think it explains why this is so important, why the
time is now, and exactly why people need to step up and get involved by becoming a precinct officer. We plan to get these into the hands of as many Democrats and left-leaning Independents as possible. Things will be different this time around. There’s a new sheriff in town!
3) We’re developing talking points so that everyone can speak with the same voice about the importance of precinct organization and the project underway. This memo will be shared with all Party activists in the area. Repetition of concise, meaningful sentences and phrases is key to making concepts memorable and setting expectations correctly.
4) We have begun building out resources that precinct leaders have been requesting:
- Ready access to contact info for Democratic voters within a precinct.
- Email and letter templates (possibly phone scripts as well) to use when recruiting volunteers and contacting voters.
- An easy-to-follow process for managing and documenting outreach efforts.
Based on what the survey tells us we are preparing to create comprehensive training materials on topics such as:
- State and local party organization processes, meetings, and votes.
- The Democratic Party platform and how it translates to our state and local issues.
- How districts in the municipalities, county, and state are laid out, where they overlap, and how this affects voting.
- The current slate of elected representatives at all levels, how they vote, their special interests and policy positions.
Best of all, we plan to turn these materials into reusable templates so that others can reproduce them quickly and easily with their own information. Our hope is that this project will catch on across the state.
This project couldn’t be more timely. The state will undertake precinct reorganization in January. While reorganization meetings in past years have often been somewhat uneventful and under-attended, we hope this initiative will generate excitement state-wide so that this year’s “Re-Org” is a blow-out of a party!
Who knows? Maybe we will actually turn South Carolina blue again!