I strongly believe that the only way to reverse the Republican dominance of Texas state and local elections in to organize precincts in urban and suburban areas of Texas on a multi-block level within voting precincts. What do I have in mind?
As you know, political scientists agree that the most effective method of getting registered voters to vote is face-to-face contacts, preferably by people who they know and who share their values. That means, someone who lives in the neighborhood and whom they see frequently in the neighborhood. Can an organization at this level be created?
I have had the good fortune of seeing an operation like this in several precincts in southwest Austin during a runoff election campaign for a city council seat in District 8. Last weekend, precinct chairs and 30 campaign volunteers knocked on 600 doors in 9 targeted precincts by working small turfs near their residences. I was one of the volunteers. I had two turfs: one contained 16 homes, and the other had 18 homes. I covered them in about 2.5 hours. I talked to about one-half of the residents and left campaign literature on the others’ doors. The reception for the candidate was encouraging. The few who weren’t familiar with the candidate listened to my description of the candidate’s experience and issue positions, took the campaign literature, and promised to consider him.
In addition, and on my own, I have contacted most of the people who live on my block and nearby blocks, talked about the candidate, offered yard signs, and encouraged them to vote for the candidate. Through this process, I have been able to convince 23 people to vote for the candidate. As the end of early voting approaches, I will contact them to make sure that they have voted early or plan to vote on Election Day. I have also notified the campaign of my activities. My success is a result of my knowledge of my neighbors’ partisan and political views and the personal relationships that have been established during my thirteen years of living in the neighborhood.
I believe that a similar approach throughout the precincts in urban and suburban areas of Texas can yield Democratic victories. The changing demographics of Texas bodes well for the Democratic Party in Texas, but only if Democrats have the ability to organize voters and give them a reason to vote for Democratic candidates in national, state, and local elections. This means good candidates and exemplary organizations. It can be done!