This year elections at the local level are nearly as important, maybe in some cases more important, than the national election this year. With ALEC turning state legislatures into a quasi-national forum pushing to pass right wing issues on a state by state basis, it is well past time to give statehouse races major attention.
No longer are state legislatures these sleepy little meetings where folks sit around with their feet up on the stool and make grand statements. They never were of course, but now ALEC has made each state legislature into a small rubber stamp where Republican legislators approve giving away more and more to corporations in return for campaign contributions. We used to call that bribery, but times they have changed.
So now along with giving all the help you can to the congressional, senate and presidential candidate it is also extremely important that you carve out a little time for the man or woman who wants a seat in Des Moines. One reward of doing this is that you may be in on the ground floor of a great career, while at the same time being able to stop and talk to this person on the street in your home town.
I am bringing this up because we are only a few days removed from the primary. While it may seem an eternity until the general election, it is in fact 5 months away. While that may seem like a long time, it is really only a short space of time for a candidate who is not well known in their district to introduce themselves and ask for votes. In many Iowa rural districts this is a major problem because of the lack of media. Not only are their no local TV or radio stations, there is also a lack of a central newspaper. Often there are many small town newspapers each of which covers only a small segment of the population.
While any new candidate on the scene has problems getting their name out, rural candidate face the extra problem of trying to get their name out without central media. Often one-by-one phone calling and door-knocking is the only way to make contact. This takes some troops, since one person can’t do it all themselves.
This year it is more important than ever that every person do whatever they can at every level to help out. We don’t have the money to simply hire the work done like Republicans do. We simply can’t snap our fingers and get a huge check written to our campaign by a deep-pocketed sugar daddy. Like most of the base of the Democratic Party our candidates are not rich and must work their butts off to get campaign financing. What we do have is a base of folks who believe in fairness in government. What we do have are people whose way of life has been drastically altered by the ALEC funded state legislators that have turned states into little factories of oligarchy beholden to the rich.
So this year, right now, there is no excuse to sit on the sidelines. Within every campaign there will be something you can do to help turn back the ALEC tide.
- Can you display a sign in your yard or window?
- can you spare an hour a week to write postcards?
- Do you like to make phone calls? Could you make calls from your home to tell others why you support your candidate?
- Want some exercise in the warm summer. How about helping to knock individual doors to tell others why your candidate is so good?
- Got a couple extra bucks to help out? Could by an ad in a local newspaper!
- Remember when you wanted to be a great writer? Get those rusty skills back with some letters to the editor!
- how about stuffing some envelopes?
- Maybe you could hold a neighborhood meet ‘n’ greet so your neighbors could get to know the candidate?
There are probably others I didn’t mention. Give the local democratic headquarters or the candidate’s manager a call (it is usually on their web page which you can google) and give them your name. I am sure they will find work for you.