Dear Representative Schiff,
I was in West Palm Beach, today, at your Town Hall Meeting in Citi Place. As an active Democrat, since 1969, who has been a District Leader in Westchester County in NY and now a Precinct Captain in Palm Beach County, I have been involved in every political campaign. I was also at the LBJ-JFK Democratic Dinner where you spoke last year.
I have also included, with this letter, a copy of a letter that I sent to Speaker Ryan and 16 Republican Senators. I don’t expect an answer from any of them. As a political person, since my teens, I have thought about how this country is governed, how the political process works, and what the Democrats need to do to insure we have a progressive future.
When you came to the podium today in West Palm Beach, I mentioned to you the word “messaging.” In other words, why are the Democrats failing to get their message across! Over the years, in my conversations with Representatives: Nita Lowey, Debby Wasserman-Schultz, Pat Murphy, and Ted Deutsch, I have suggested a district by district, Democratic “truth squad” all over the country. The DNC should pay for an office in every Republican Congressional District, so that when a Louis Gohmert or Stephen King make an outrageous statement, this “truth squad” can hold a press conference countering their positions.
Over the past eight years, and the two terms of Bill Clinton, I observed that the Republican “Swift Boat” campaign was ongoing, every day and every way! Where were the Democratic Senators, Representatives and officials of the DNC? How come we were exposed to Reince Priebus, every day, and other GOP “taking heads,” while the Democrats were not countering with their own spokespersons? How come most people do not know the difference between Obamacare and the ACA? How come the pace of the recovery from the collapse of 2008-9 was not defended better? Every recovery from a recession, since WWII, was led by domestic housing. This one was caused by Wall Street bundling over- valued derivatives based on domestic, home mortgages. We clawed back over 10.5 million jobs, and since Truman, under Democrats, we created 2.5 times the jobs created than during Republican Administrations. How come virtually no American is aware of that history? I constantly am hectored for money by multiple sources every day on the internet. I am asked to answer some insipid poll and then I am solicited for money! Even when I give to a candidate, I receive more requests, is if my next contribution is the last bulwark for the survival of Western Civilization.
As a student of the New Deal and the political success of FDR, we have to go back to coalition building. We should be talking about these three key issues: education, jobs and housing. In addition, the Democrats should have been pressuring the GOP-controlled Congress on the need for infrastructure re-vitalization every day of the week. We allowed the GOP to control the political dialogue by focusing on: transgender bathrooms, LGT needs and concerns, Black Lives Matter, Out of Wall Street, Global-warming and Choice. I stand behind all those concerns, but, the blue collar, middle-aged, white worker in the Rust Belt States, who won the election for Trump, couldn’t care less. We already have those voters who support those issues to the hilt. The Democrats also must choose between supporting Organized Labor and continuing to allow undocumented workers to take many of the jobs, especially in construction in places like NYC. This is not hyperbole, but fact.
The Republicans believe in Social Darwinism, (the survival of the fittest,) “the ends justify the means,” and “work or starve!” Even today Vice-President Pence basically stated that Medicaid and Welfare be determined by work! Therefore, we must address, “bread and butter” issues and become the champion of FDR’s “Forgotten American.”
I suggest the following:
a. More money should be spent on the grass roots, not on meaningless, repetitive TV commercials
b. College campus recruiting is a must, and the future is with the youth of the country. Too many of our City and County Democratic Committees are dominated by senior citizens
c. Money should be invested in starting Democratic Clubs and outreach on all of campuses
d. A significant outreach must go out to the labor rank and file, not just focusing on the leadership
e. In the media there should be Democratic spokespersons available, not journalists to be put in the position of defending progressive issues against professional, conservative operatives
f. There should be commercials on the media defending and explaining progressive public policy issues. (The Democrats are constantly on the defensive and playing catch up.)
g. Every Republican Congressional District, no matter how Red, should have a “truth squad” office, staffed and paid for by the DNC. The cost of an extra 240 offices, staffed by two paid staff with volunteers would cost about $6-12 million for rent, etc, ($25-50,000) and probably another $15-25 million for staff. That $20 to $35 million is a drop in the bucket compared to the wasted money on television, pollsters and consultants. These “Shadow” district offices in these Red States could be an ongoing center for year round political action. It could be a coordinator between the local Democratic Committees and the DNC. We have repeatedly learned that pollsters and consultants know very little, as we again witnessed in 2016.
In Palm Beach County, we apprised the local head of the Clinton Campaign, one Mike Coleman, that there would be four “Making Strides Against Breast Cancer” marches (two in Palm Beach County, one in Broward and Miami-Dade) with 100,000 women marching. We advised them to recruit volunteers and print palm card handouts for all four events! With weeks of ample warning, nothing was done! This cost us thousands of votes in these three critical counties. I asked them to recruit college students at FAU, Lynn University and Palm Beach State College for door to door canvassing and registration. I suggested they offer students $50 for work every night of the week from 6-9 pm and on Saturday mornings from 9-12 noon. If they did any of this (which I doubt), it was way too little and too late. It is always the claim that there is no money or campaign HQ hasn’t authorized that strategy.
We were making calls for Hillary for about one year. We were instructed to call only the prime voters. Many of these people were listed as being called 10-12 times, and we were told to not leave a message. What a waste of time. Why weren’t we calling independents and “soft” Democrats? Later we learned that the Republicans did just that.
The Democrats are getting caught in the “politically correct” snare every day of the week. Why was Keith Ellison even in the running for Democratic National Chairperson? He would have been a disaster. Personally, after almost 50 years in this “game,” I am getting tired of fighting “windmills,” at the beck and call, of every new generation of “experts,” who aren’t “dry behind the ears!” By the way, our precinct went 69% for HRC and only 11% of the registered voters here didn’t vote, and they were probably Republicans or Independents. I will include with this letter a chart showing all the lead districts, including our- 5038 and please note the fall-off vote in the top districts for Hillary! Where was the ground game in those districts?
Again, we appreciate your work and the message you are sending to the country. Please keep it up. But, also remember that the other side has unlimited money attracted by tax cuts and deregulation. Thus, we have to mobilize the public, and without a change in tactics, we will either be losers for a generation or only benefit by another Republican disaster.