I first presented this proposal from the point of view of how it would start, which placed the emphasis on the relatively immediate. But it's equally, if not more important to consider what it aims to do-which is to build movement infrastructure--especially in battleground districts--an open-ended way that is not heavy-handedly top-down.
As I said in my comment earlier this week, three very important aspects of this proposal are (1) reaching local media, (2) coordinating with local activist organizations and individuals, and (3) building relationships to establish an ongoing progressive pressence and influence in these districts.
I'm going to start with re-presenting the original summary:
My proposal is simple: Use an initial organizing project to establish a national battlegound district* [*with a safe Bush Dog annex] network that combines national and local activists and organizations. The initial project centers around fielding a poll--much like MyDD did [for those not familiar with it, Mystery Pollster discussed it here and here]--that can yield us important information that we can use to lobby and pressure Dems in marginal districts, while mobilizing coalitions of local activists and organizations--and that can be used to energize Democratic challenges to Republicans in marginal districts. If we field a national swing district poll, similar in scope to the recently-released Democracy Corps poll but with our own carefully-crafted question set--again see the MyDD example--we can generate some extremely useful ammo for making our arguments. What's more, simply by fielding a poll ourselves, we start to alter their perception of us.
Repeated exercises of this same organizing formula-at least once a year, but possibly more often-will provide a solid framework for continued organizing, while a variety of simpler actions can be developed as well. Establishing lateral networks, so that activists in different battleground districts are in much closer touch with one another, is a key goal of this project, which will allow for a much more continuous flow of organizing activity than a purely centralized effort could effectively mount. Ideally, these networks will become increasingly active and capable of spontaneous organizing as important issues are being debated in Congress.
The above presentation hasn't been altered from the original, so it still leads with the immediate emphasis. But I hope that my introductory remarks will sufficiently stress the point that this is clearly intended as the start of a long-term project. However, because it is intended to be cooperative, and to nurture local autonomy, it would not be consistent with this purpose to propose too much in the way of detailed planning in advance. A menu of possibilities would be much more in keeping with the spirit of my proposal, and I'll be happy to get into that as a later step in this process, if it plays out the way that mitchipd suggested.
That said, I don't think it's premature to add some more detail, by re-iterating the following list:
The purpose of this project (subject to revision) is 7-fold:
(1) To create a national framework for pro-actively and continually influencing conservative Democrats and Democratic officeholders in swing/battleground districts, and supporting them in getting a progressive message out. We're about carrots as well as sticks. Once we really get rolling, we should be increasingly about carrots.
(2) To influence the political climate in battleground districts held by Republicans to make the environment more favorable for Democratic challengers, and weaken support for Republican opposition in Congress.
(3) To bring into focus underlying shifts and forgotten long-term trends in public opinion that support a fresh, progressive approach to problem-solving and governing.
(4) To highlight new and emerging progressive issues, narratives, and policy proposals.
(5) To bring to the fore salient facts that are otherwise routinely buried by existing political discourse.
(6) To effectively communicate 3, 4 and 5--particularly at the district level--to Democratic officeholders and candidates, local media, Democratic activists and organizations, non-party activists and organizaitons, and directly to the people via new and traditional forms of organizing and outreach.
(7) To build strong bonds between locally-grounded and nationally-focused progressives on a continuing, ongoing basis.
In keeping with what I've said before, I would just like to emphasize that #7 is not an afterthought. Rather, it is the culmination of everything that goes before it. By having a strong, and somewhat detailed-but still flexible-sense of shared purpose, I think we will have a much stronger foundation for long-term collaboration between local- and national-level organizing efforts. Thus, everything that comes before (7) would be much less effective and much less worth doing were it not intended to lead into (7). Similarly, (7) would not be much more than a wish without the specific detail of the points that go before it.
I'll conclude by reiterating what I said in my comment earlier this week: The polling--although vitally important--was only the launch point of this project. The district-level progressive infrastructure development was the real long-term point of it. And communicating the progessive message through the local media was conceived as an integral part of that infrastructure development from the very beginning.
The point here is simple: we do have the means already in hand to engage in agenda-setting. Not to succeed right away, but at least to get into the game. That is the purpose of this proposal-to engage in movement-building that has an immediate payoff in getting us out of a purely reactive mode.