As you have seen for the past few months, we at the State Party have been spending a lot of time pushing for Precinct Committee Member recruitment (to fill open slots) and even updating our Precinct Committee Member Handbook (so folks know their roles & responsibilities.) There's a very good reason why we are pushing & promoting this effort, because building up our Precinct Committee Member ranks is our BEST way of increasing our chances of winning elections! Building out our ground troops is the most effective way to talk to, educate, persuade and eventually pull out voters (your neighbors) from one Election Cycle to the next.
With this in mind, I thought it would be fun/interesting to share with you all an experience I had not that long ago that really highlights the importance of having boots on the ground- in essence a fully filled Precinct Committee Member rank & file. This experience, by the way, happened on the other side of the world in the former Soviet country of Georgia...
In 2012 I was dropped into the country of Georgia in the dead of winter to help manage the upstart campaign of a coalition of opposition Parties taking on the western-supported Saakashvili UNM government (how supported? they actually have a "George W Bush Highway," seriously!). When I first hit the ground, after getting over jet lag and working through the language barrier, I immediately got to work and started by collecting data & research on the lay-of-the-land in terms of past elections.
When I asked specific questions about previous cycles, one bit of information jumped off the pages. How was it possible that the current government was able to not only win the previous hotly contested elections but results showed that in some precincts the government actually won 110% of the vote in certain precincts? Yes, you read that right- 110%! And here's a not-so-fun fact, the US government representatives overseeing the elections at the time signed off on those election results giving them basically an "all good here," declaring the ruling party the winner.
Here is where it got interesting.... when digging into the details I learned that where the opposition Party had people at the polls the votes were either very close to the government numbers or the opposition won those precincts. But where the polls were not covered- because the opposition didn't have enough people (let's call them Precinct Committee Members) the government won ALL of them, and yes some of them they won by 110%!!! On one side of town, in a given village, the opposition won one precinct while being soundly defeated at another poll- in the same village. What was the common denominator? One poll had coverage and one poll had none.
Obviously we needed to do something about that... So during the almost year-long effort we went village by village convincing folks that it was ok and safe to come out and support this newly formed coalition. By the way, all this time the government was either fining suspected supporters, firing them from their jobs, closing down businesses that helped the cause, taking people's homes & selling them off the next day, and even imprisoning supporters of the opposition Party coalition. I can honestly tell you I saw each and every one of those actions happening- in real time. But this new coalition (called "The Georgian Dream") kept stubbornly chugging along... village by village, door by door (some houses didn't actually have doors- or roofs) we were able to build our ranks as more and more people began to give less credence to fear and more toward believing they could overthrow the government and change their country.
By the time Election Day came we had EVERY poll covered and there was even a little political stunt your's truly pulled off (as mentioned in this mini-memoir story of my adventures in Georgia. FYI, make sure to look for the part about "orange t-shirts" ;) - click this link: Mitch's Georgian Adventure)
Spoiler Alert: With all the odds against us and literally no one on the planet thinking we had a chance, we shocked the world and won the elections. Most, if not all of it, was won on the ground and in the trenches. We built out our field forces- our Precinct Committee slots (they just called it something different)- and we kept building & building our troops on the ground to the point of overwhelming the government and the ruling party.
Field works folks. It DOES matter that we fill our Democratic rank and file- every single slot- and then some. We can and must take back our state and country and that begins by building out our rank and file... our Precinct Committee Members.
Thank you for all that you do to help get Democrats elected and for all that you are doing, county by county, to build up our Democratic infrastructure.
You can find Delco's Committee Person Handbook here.