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Alexandra Erin @alexandraerin
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If you want to know what the worst democrat and liberal thinkers are going to say tomorrow, look at rightwing commentators are saying today.
And what they are saying today is that nothing very interesting, important, or significant happened yesterday. Everything happened as predicted and planned.
Fox News epitomized this by simply not covering the election (including a race they helped hype!) as it was happening at all.
And here on twitter dot com, the bots and trolls and their allies and amplifiers are saying "The democrats won the elections they were supposed to win." and saying the real story is "Virginia was closer than it should have been".
And the worst people left of the right are going to be picking that up, because it's like a mix tape of all their favorite hits:

1. I'm too smart to be excited.
2. I'm smarter than you.
3. We constantly lose.
4. Because you won't listen to me.
5. Identity politics == bad.

Winning in Virginia IS different than winning in, say, Alabama, where Doug Jones is still facing Roy Moore in a special election in December. Virginia is a bluer state. There was a wave of local candidates to bring people out.
The special election is going to be tougher both because of where it is and because there won't be a tailwind from local races. It needs something else to bring people out.

Like... excitement. Hope. Conviction.
There is just over a month to go until the Alabama special election and I believe we can win that if we can sustain the excitement of last night.
The right spins narratives like "Democrats can't win" because they understand that narratives drive elections. The worst on our side pick those up because they believe facts drive elections, and they're bad at recognizing facts.
They think arbitrary skepticism is the same as logic. They think looking down at people is the same as being above the fray.
They think acting too cool to care is the same as being worldly and wise.

And babies?

They are wrong.
Now, maybe we'll lose in Alabama. I say we can win. But we could lose. It's an uphill battle. But if we give in to the voices of hopeless drudgery, we'll lose so much more.
Virginia didn't just put a Democratic governor back in the mansion in a mostly blue state. We flipped districts! Districts that were seen as solidly R, not worth contesting.
Local people ran for office as Democrats and got their neighbors excited to vote for them, and this increased Democratic turnout on a cold, rainy day that's not just a midterm but a MID-midterm.
All the stuff we hear: "Democrats don't vote in midterms, Democrats stay home if it rains, Democrats count on other people to get out and vote."

All obliterated by the presence of local candidates.
Now, we can't exactly get local candidates on the ballot for the special election. It is its own thing, and the obstacles are part of it.

But local engagement, personal engagement, is still a thing.
Right now, as @mostlybree points out, a lot of Democrats from outside AL are sneering at Alabama Democrats for thinking their votes matter.
Funny thing - the way outside Dems are talking about Doug Jones and Alabama is almost identical to a social engineering technique the right was spreading to depress turnout in 2016.
Master *snicker* persuader and trained *giggle* hypnotist Scot Dilbertguy suggested his blog readers casually talk about the futility of voting around their liberal coworkers. Not explicitly arguing they shouldn't (that puts people on guard)...
...but acting like they themselves saw voting as pointless. The purpose of this was to make the people around them feel silly about voting, by creating the impression of a social consensus against it.
Needless to say, I find Scotbert's descriptions of his prowess a bit grandiose and I doubt he has the subtlety to pull that off himself, but the principle is both sound and slightly profound.
It's *easier* to do something if you feel other people see the point in it and support you in it, if it seems like "the thing to do". It's *harder* if you're getting the opposite vibe.
This is why the call to action for people who didn't have ballots yesterday (like me) was to reach out to people we knew who did. Make calls, Facebook posts, etc.
We need the impression to be that voting matters, that our races are winnable, that individual action matters.

You might want to reply "That's true!" or "But it doesn't."

Either stance is irrelevant.
"You miss 100% of the shots you don't make." does not mean that everybody who takes a lot of shots will sink one of them. Sometimes there are other issues.

But it's still a true statement.
Before an election between two parties, both sides have a narrative that they're going to win. Neither one is right or wrong until the election is settled.
The right does NOT play the game of "let's show how smart I am by figuring out the result ... oh, we win this one so no need for me to vote / oh we lose this one so it's pointless."

By and large, they just vote.
They understand that their narrative going into the election is not reflecting the eventual outcome but shaping it.
And that is how we've got to be. That's what we've got to do. Cynicism does not win elections. Passion and conviction and excitement and does.

Naiveté is more valuable than cynicism, when it comes down to it.
Yesterday WAS a referendum on Trump.

It WAS a barometer of Democratic engagement.

It WAS a bellwether for the nation.

Believe these things and make them true.
A repudiation of Trumpism bodes badly for Roy Moore. Momentum for the Democrats bodes well for Doug Jones.
And a Doug Jones win is good for everybody.

Do we really need to explain this?

The U.S. Senate. The site of more tense showdowns than an old west movie set.
If Moore wins... the balance in the Senate remains the same as it would have if Sessions had stayed. No big loss of ground.

If Jones wins... that's one fewer senator we have to convince not to kill us on a quarterly basis.
And listen. The same people saying it's hopeless and pointless today? Will be saying "So much for a blue wave." on December 13th if Jones loses. I guarantee it.
But this is so backwards.

If Alabama is a "Red State", then there's nothing to lose by trying. No dishonor in losing, no shame in going down fighting.
People who paid attention yesterday are saying one of the lessons is "Contest every seat, fight every election." I see two meanings to that.
One is that by running candidates for local offices, we both bring out local voters and build future party leaders.
And again, that doesn't directly apply to the Alabama special election.
The other meaning is - don't give up anything, even a Senate seat that "belongs" to the Republicans - without a fight.
Even losses don't have to be demoralizing. The coalitions we build, the alliances we form, the techniques we learn, the tools we acquire, all carry over.
Say Doug Jones loses. I say he can win, but imagine he doesn't. Does that mean we give up on Alabama as unwinnable? No. Listen, that's the same losing move the Democrats keep making on multiple fields: yielding space.
We politely agree not to contest states that are "safely Republican" but they're not doing the same for us.
If we can't win a national seat in Alabama, we need to win local seats. And build from the ground up.
"The Alabama electorate won't send a Democrat to Washington." is a statement about how you think things are. Plans necessarily concern themselves with how things will be. The future is a moving target.
We make the mistake again and again of assuming there is some set order to these things, figuring out what we think it is, and then abiding by it.
Let me tell you something that might lose me some followers - none of the polls laying odds on Hillary Clinton's victory last year necessarily got it wrong.
They didn't say she would win. They laid odds that she would, which left room for the possibility that she wouldn't.
I'm not saying this to rehash how good a candidate she was or wasn't (don't @ me on that) but to illustrate a point: elections are not settled until they settled.
Elections are not settled until they settled.

There is no "will win". There is no "won't win".

There is only "can win".
Believe that we can win anywhere. Believe that we can change the electorate. Believe that we can reshape the future.

The GOP believes this, and acts accordingly.
There's always more than one cause for an effect in a complex system, and politics is a complex system. Gerrymandering, voter suppression, etc., all take their toll.
But Democrats do lose elections that were within their grasp because their voters saw them as a settled thing before the race was run. I've seen it.
I had so many acquaintances who couldn't believe that GWB won and who didn't vote.

Because they couldn't believe he'd win.

(And yes, he stole the first election. But first it had to be close enough to steal.)
If you think think the election's result is a lock, either way, that's an incentive to stay home. Which is why I say to make plans, not predictions.

"Trump won't have a second term." needs to be your plan of action, in case we have to vote on it.
Don't predict a win, make a plan of action that helps it happen.

Don't predict a loss, make a plan of action that could help avert it.
We who are able to vote are not bystanders to the political process. We who are able to speak up aren't, either.
We can't be afraid to hope. We can't be afraid to try. We can't be afraid to plan. And we can't be too cool for these things, either.
Alabama is the next big contest and it's one where we as a nation have got nothing to lose and a whole lot to gain.
And then next year is the honest-to-goodness midterms, with so many seats and offices up for grabs, and if we turn out then the way we turned out in Virginia yesterday? Oh my goodness, the sky is the limit.
This thread is not just about winning in Alabama, and it's not just about winning in December. It's about momentum, it's about not leaving any district or state behind, and it's about how we win everywhere.
When I say to you, "Cry havoc and let slip the dogs of civic participation.", I do not mean "Speak in measured tones and keep your puppers leashed."
I mean cry havoc and let slip the dogs of civic participation.
Try every office, contest every seat, follow every by-law, until our map's complete.
There are no red states and there are no blue states and every statistical model is just a snapshot of a moment in time in a world in flux, and that world is affected by the observations we make and repeat about it.
Now, I've got some stuff to do today to keep my own momentum up. I'm gonna make some mailers for Governor Hogan and maybe the White House, so I'm gonna check out of here for a while.
This is the part of the thread where I usually drop my own pay link, because I do treat this as my job and I do do it for a living.

But first, let me leave this here.…
And if you've got any money to throw my way after that, I'd appreciate it.
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