Go Down All the Way

February 25, 2023

Down ballot, that is.

The [somewhat suggestive] slogan is meant to spur dems to vote in every race that appears on their ballots. This is because republicans tend to cast their votes in all ballot races, while democrats’ interest and attention seem to fade before they get to the end of their ballot. This is an empirical fact. Weird, huh?

At the annual Sister District Summit today (in Berkeley), someone shared the statistic that in the 2020 election in Michigan, for example, there were something like 167,000 people who case a vote for Biden, but who did not vote in the down-ballot races. Presumably, most of those voters were democrats. Many of those down-ballot candidates were candidates in state races and lost by tiny margins. They would certainly have won if dems had simply completed their ballots. I mean really, dems. What the heck.

Extremely important policy decisions are made at the state level.. think gerrymandering and reproductive rights for two. The courts look to be tossing a whole lot more the states’ way, too, so dems need to get control of those state houses.

Here’s what SD says about the importance of focusing on those state races:

Voter and media attention (and money) seems to go towards the high profile races, ignoring the down ballot races and state level elections. That’s why if we focus instead on these smaller (seeming) races, we can have a very large impact. Your $100 goes a lot farther in a state legislature race than in a presidential or senate contest.

Anyway… I knew all that, but got reminded and re-energized today. As you do at conferences!

Here are a couple more pics:

Davis was well-represented today: Don, Sue, Tim, Chris and me (not pictured, another Davis gal, Kathy). Many others had conflicts or got covid (or at least a bad cold) at the last minute.

Most of the presentations were excellent, but this was my favorite… it’s the executive director of SD national, Lala Wu, interviewing Anat Shenker-Osorio. Anat is a communications expert, researcher and political pundit whose work, they say, is changing the way progressives talk about everything from immigration to international arms control. 

She was sharp and compelling. I’m planning to read whatever writings I can get my hands on.

And yeah, she’s wearing a pink tutu.

After the day’s presentations, Chris and I went to the Claremont Hotel for a drink… (see Golden Gate, Alcatraz in front of the setting sun)…

Then joined conference goers at Comal on Shattuck for dinner (great). Here’s a view from Shattuck, looking west as the sunset got even better…