In just eleven days, we will have an opportunity to elect the largest Democratic trifecta in thirty years. Not only is Barack Obama headed toward victory (though we must take nothing for granted), not only are Senate Democrats headed toward at least six pickups (though we must work to increase that number as much as possible), but in the U.S. House, Democrats could score a 100-seat majority.
I say, with a generational opportunity like this, let's throw out a lifeline to as many of our Democratic challengers as possible. I have a plan, based on the 2006 Use It Or Lose It Campaign, to help raise $6,587,635 for Democratic House candidates. Without opening your wallet, and with only a few minutes of your time, over the next few days we can meet this goal, and pull off this 100-seat majority. In the extended entry, I explain how.
Here is a quick timeline of events that led me to this plan:
Two years ago, in an open sourced campaign known as Use It Or Lose It, the communities of Daily Kos and MyDD raised over $2,300,000 for down-ticket Democrats during the final two weeks of the 2006 campaign. As Democratic campaign committees were taking out large loans to try and expand the playing field, netroots activists called their ultra-safe, in-state Democratic House Representatives and asked them to help fully fund all of our competitive challengers. This effort probably helped tip a couple of campaigns over to our side.
In a closed-door Democratic Caucus meeting, Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), Caucus Chairman Rahm Emanuel (Ill.) and Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee Chairman Chris Van Hollen (Md.) implored their colleagues to come up with the $14 million in Members' dues needed to meet their overall $50 million goal, according to people who were present.
The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC0 has taken out $15 million in loans to use to help secure victories for Democrats in House races throughout the country.
Citing an opportunity to pick off vulnerable Republican incumbents, and secure victories in open Republican seats, the DCCC said it took out the loan to help secure large majorities in the 111th Congress.
Working behind the scenes with the good folks over at Swing State Project, yesterday, we acquired a list of about 105 Democrats who had not paid their DCCC dues in full. I then removed about four dozen of them from the list, if they met any of the following characteristics:
The 33 Democrats who are in the "Frontline" program to defend endangered House incumbents;
A few Democrats who had not paid their dues but who had met their collective fundraising targets (House Dems also pledge to raise a certain amount for Frontline and Red To Blue candidates)
Four Democrats who I have since confirmed have paid up in the last few days
Three House Democrats who are running for Senate,
Nancy Boyda and Paul Kanjorski (who are not Frontline Dems, but who are seriously endangered)
Tim Mahoney and William Jefferson, since it might be best if we do without their money
I then put the names of the remaining fifty-four Democrats, along with the amounts of dues they still owe, into a spreadsheet that anyone can view. You can view this spreadsheet here:
The final bill comes to $6,587,635. This would be enough for the DCCC to fully fund at least another 13 campaigns during the final week.
If you have read this far, no doubt you can see where I am going with this. With this information, I propose the following course of action:
First, with the help of volunteers, tonight we gather the campaign office phone numbers and campaign contact emails of the fifty-four Democrats listed on the spreadsheets. If you have a few minutes of your time and would like to help with this project, shoot me an email at email@example.com. This is a lot of work, and I can't do it on my own. Please, if you have a little time tonight send me an email.
Second, once we have gathered all of the phone numbers and emails, starting tomorrow morning have members of the netroots community contact the Representative on the list nearest them. We will ask for the members of Congress to pay all, or at least some, of their remaining dues in order to build a larger Democratic majority. We will be polite, and we will call their campaign offices, as it is inappropriate to ask for campaign money when calling a congressional office.
Third, we continue the calls until Tuesday evening, since final ad buys will be made one week before Election Day. When a person on the list pledges to give some money, we remove their contact information and send them a big "Thank You."
Basically, that is the entire plan and rationale. It ain't complicated, but two years ago it helped pump over $2.3 million into competitive, Democratic congressional. This year, I would like to surpass that total. It all starts tonight, as in right now, with volunteers to help me track down the fifty-four phone numbers and email address that we need. If you can do this, please send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org. I will give you access to the spreadsheet, and we can begin working.
I won't be sleeping until there is contact info for every member of Congress on the list, but that's OK. Two years ago, nineteen days before the election, I stayed up until 4 a.m. with a group of seven volunteers doing exactly this task. It was fun, and our work made a real difference. I've got a big pot of tea at the ready, and I look forward to a second famous night.