Background: The Democrats in Georgia have a well-earned reputation of overlooking or mismanaging rural voters. They see the population of metro Atlanta and five other urban areas as priority one. However, a decent showing from rural Democrats is still vital for electoral success – stay close in rural areas and win the state in the cities.
The rural effort for Democrats centers on bringing back White voters and the traditional Democrat Party will continue that work. The far Right section of the conservative movement has pulled them so deep into their ranks; they are gone for the near future. However, this vacuum creates the opportunity for Democrats to increase their moderate to conservative section for those put-off by the current GOP’s angry mentality. We think infrequent Blacks and young voters can replace the former Dixiecrats for now.
Problem: Georgia Democrats’ effort in non-Atlanta normally involves using pastors and civil rights leaders. However, these efforts are “preaching to the choir” because regular church members tend to vote with little encouragement.
Question: How do we effectively turnout those rural voters who supported the election of President Obama twice?
Answer: We need a well-planned effort to push a Get Out The Vote message that is aggressive and too direct for any official campaigns, official party or traditional Democrat-supporting organizations. In short, we need an outside force – a positive version of the Tea Party – that hits hard regarding voting and participation.
Substance: As bloggers, we have crafted the message for years. We know what the people in this region need to hear and how they would like to provide their input. We need to build a brand that emphasizes:
- How the other side ignores us – no seat at the table.
- How southerners are by nature less bitter; how we sincerely want a better nation and state.
- How solutions must be sought; solutions that generate better-informed citizens.
- Goals/Objectives/Measurable Results. i.e. Target certain areas with desired numbers.
How: Social media and radio ads drive traffic and followers to webpages/facebook groups. That network is used in Fall 2016 to populate rallies, draw media coverage and drive turnout.
Two groups of principal supporters:
- Traditional Eyes and Ears: Listed hosts who represent segments of the professional community as well as experienced Democrat leaders who acknowledge that a different approach should be explored. T.E.E. would ensure that this effort doesn’t cross the line.
- Trendsetters: In every targeted area, Trendsetters would be those who literally “move the crowd” with their personalities, social media savvy and event sponsoring skills. If you have 10 trendsetters following this effort, you have 100 people who trust and follow them and the ripple effect reaches thousands.
Party with a Purpose: As with a family reunion or old school function, clean music and good friends will pack a hall. We just need 10 minute breaks at the top of the hour to push our points and to request “blasting” on social media.
Funding: We need an initial amount of funding to organize legally and fund test areas now. If that seed money cultivates measurable success (social media numbers), the operation goes wide during the election season in the fall.
Targeted Areas: Of course, we would prefer being the base of rural GOTV for the entire South but let’s start by targeting the area of south Georgia not served by a Democrat congressman—the 8th congressional district and the non-Savannah section of the 1st congressional district. Our efforts would actually still radiate into the 2nd congressional district and other congressional districts slightly north of the heart of Georgia.
Resourcefulness: The Best Interest Initiative could serve as the foundation for an ongoing dialog on voter education/role of government. Another associated blogger has one of the best networks/databases in the state.
Proving Grounds: It’s no secret that the farm system for Democrat leaders is weak. From city hall to the state house to Capitol Hill, the next generation of leaders might cut their teeth with us.
Phase 1 (8th and part. 2nd Congressional Dists.)
- Thomasville, Valdosta, Bainbridge
- Tifton, Moultrie
- Warner Robins/Perry, Fort Valley, Milledgeville
- Waycross, Brunswick, St. Marys
- Hinesville, Statesboro, Vidalia
- Albany, Americus, Cordele
- La Grange, Griffin, Newnan
Target Areas are based primary on areas where President Obama received over 4,000 votes in 2012 and often areas with limited Democrat elected leadership. Areas were then grouped based on geography and natural region. College towns frequently made the list because engaged students’ social media influence radiates back to their home towns.