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DFA Night School: Online Organizing Training June 23-26

Dean crowd 2004When Howard Dean, DFA‘s founder, first began using online organizing to build his 2004 presidential campaign, his campaign’s tactics were initially written off by pundits as a waste of time.

By 2008, when a long-shot candidate named Barack Obama fully embraced online organizing and social media, every presidential campaign — and congressional campaign — was on board this digital bandwagon.

And now, ten years after Gov. Dean revolutionized politics by empowering people to participate through the internet, candidates and campaigns at every level are organizing online. And DFA is continuing to help build progressive infrastructure by using the internet to train our members across the country on campaign strategy and tactics.

Our June Night School training series is dedicated to principles and strategies for developing a compelling online presence that will engage voters and supporters. We will cover topics ranging from writing emails and online fundraising to mobilizing volunteers.

Spots are limited — and June’s DFA Night School is coming up quickly. Click here to register now for various free trainings on online organizing from June 23-26.

Sessions begin at 8pm Central and run for one hour.

Monday, June 23rd — Writing KickA Emails
Successful email campaigns will build your online community, increase activism, and raise you money. Compared to the other online strategies, email is by far the most effective tactic to inspire action and raise money. This session focuses on how to get your supporters to open your email and engage in your action.

Tuesday, June 24th — Developing an online strategy
Online organizing isn’t like throwing spaghetti on a wall and seeing what sticks. The best campaigns know their audience, develop a strategy, and execute an integrated approach that best serves both the needs of the campaign as well as the community. This session will walk through core components of building a successful online strategy.

Wednesday, June 25th — Online fundraising
A little over a decade ago, fundraising was still dependent on how many people you could get to buy your stuff at your yard sale. But by harnessing the power of the web, online fundraising has streamlined the fundraising process, making it easier than ever for individuals to raise money. As technology gets more sophisticated, the future of fundraising is bright. This session highlights best practices for maximizing online contributions.

Thursday, June 26th — Online to offline mobilization
The netroots have been critical in turning a number of races from unlikely to viable — proving that sometimes our best volunteers are behind a computer screen. This session identifies strategy, tools and best practices for successful volunteer engagement.

Since 2006, DFA has trained more than 43,000 people to build their grassroots campaign skills, strategy, and tactics through our Night School program. This training is free, interactive, and online. You can sign up for one session or all of them.

Based on Night School participation from this year, DFA members are clearly engaged and ready to win in 2014. More than 2,600 DFA members have been trained so far this year and we’re not done yet. DFA’s Night School exists to help people like Raye, Jenny, and Deb — or possibly even you — gain the skills and confidence to run for office and support other progressives running for office.

We began with fundraising, then we covered field organizing and communications, and now we are kicking off the summer with online organizing. Every month is focused on a key skill area because to win in 2014, we need well-trained Democrats who will stand up and fight for what’s right.

If you plan on being involved in a progressive campaign this year, click here to sign up for one or more of DFA’s free online trainings from June 23-26.

With trained candidates and strong campaigns, progressives can win across America in November.

Now let’s get to work.

- Monique

Monique Teal, Campaign Manager
Democracy for America


Loebsack Works For The Second District

Dave Loebsack

James Q. Lynch

It can be tough building a case for re-election when you’re a member of the minority party, but 2nd District Rep. Dave Loebsack thinks his work on economic development and infrastructure issues — and his promise to continue his dogged work to hold Congress accountable — make a pretty good case for another term in the U.S. House.

What success he has, the fourth-term Democrat said, often come from working with majority Republicans.

A recent example, he said while traveling from a tour of the VA hospital in Des Moines to his Iowa City home, came during the debate on the defense authorization bill. Loebsack was successful in turning back an amendment by a Kansas Republican that would have taken work away from the Rock Island Arsenal, a major employer in the district, and have it done by private contractors.

Working with Republicans, Loebsack organized an effort to defeat the amendment. Using the five minutes allotted to opposition during the debate, Loebsack spoke for two minutes and three Republicans each spoke for a minute. It worked. Fifty-one Republicans joined Democrats to reject the amendment.

That was typical, Loebsack said, of his approach to representing the interests of the district where 30 percent of voters are registered as Democrats, 25 percent are Republicans and the remaining 45 percent have no party affiliation.

Loebsack also points to his success — as a minority party member — in leading the charge in the House to get funding for Meals-on-Wheels included in budget deals.

“You can call that a minor victory, but if you’re out there delivering meals, seniors are extremely appreciative,” he said. “That doesn’t distinguish between Democrats and Republicans.”

When not in Washington, Loebsack said he spends “a heck of a lot of time out on the road … meeting as many people in the district as often as possible to hear what’s on their minds.”

Mostly, he said, it’s the economy.

So he was pleased that “a major part of my SECTORS bill have been included in the Workforce Investment Act reauthorization.”

His proposal links businesses, labor unions, local stakeholders, and education and training providers to develop and implement a strategy to grow or save a targeted industry.

The Interstate 74 bridge across the Mississippi River to Illinois also is a priority for Loebsack. Illinois and Iowa have approved funding, he said, but federal funds have yet to be authorized. Loebsack recently hosted Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx for a visit to the area to impress on him the need for a new bridge.

Another triumph for Loebsack was having his efforts on the farm bill recognized with a White House invitation to the bill signing even though he’s not on the House Agriculture Committee.

“I think that’s an indication of how hard I worked on that,” he said.

Read more


Spend Your Summer Vacation With Paul

SquareBFIA readers,  Paul Deaton will be taking over summer weekday editorship of Blog for Iowa starting on Monday through Labor Day.  Paul is wonky on just about every topic, but particularly food, climate change, energy policy, and progressive politics.  He has a lot to say about the upcoming campaign season that you won’t want to miss.  So stay informed and stay tuned to Blog for Iowa this summer.


What Dave O’Brien Won’t Do

Dave O’Brien is making some great ads.


Dave O’Brien Wants To Take Meaningful Action On Climate Change

dave O'Brien head

Dave O’Brien is a native Iowan and lifelong progressive Democrat who has spent his career standing up for the rights of Iowans as an attorney. He is running for congress in Iowa’s 1st District to be an advocate for reinvigorating the middle class, taking meaningful action on climate change, and creating new economic opportunities in the 1st District.

For years, Dave has been on the front lines of electing progressive Democrats and fighting for the a fair economy that works for everyone, not just those at the top.

Dave was the Iowa chair of the 1992 Clinton campaign, which successfully sent President Clinton the White House and began eight years of tremendous economic prosperity for the nation. During the Clinton administration Dave served in the Department of Labor, under Secretary Robert Reich. Dave held leadership roles in the Department of Labor, including chair of the Administrative Review Board and direct of the Office of Administrative Appeals, where he worked to enforce and implement progressive labor policies which protected the rights of workers.


How The NRA Rewrote The Second Amendment

protect children not gunsThis is an excerpt of a very long article. The popular notion that the 2nd Amendment has always guaranteed an absolute right for every individual to own a gun is dismantled. The 2008 SCOTUS decision that brought constitutional change came about because of political maneuvering by the NRA and conservative politicians who were able to manipulate a gullible American public.  Click here to read the entire article

How The NRA Rewrote the Second Amendment

The Founders never intended to create an unregulated individual right to a gun. Today, millions believe they did. Here’s how it happened.

By Michael Waldman

“A fraud on the American public.” That’s how former Chief Justice Warren Burger described the idea that the Second Amendment gives an unfettered individual right to a gun. When he spoke these words to PBS in 1990, the rock-ribbed conservative appointed by Richard Nixon was expressing the longtime consensus of historians and judges across the political spectrum.

Many are startled to learn that the U.S. Supreme Court didn’t rule that the Second Amendment guarantees an individual’s right to own a gun until 2008, when District of Columbia v. Heller struck down the capital’s law effectively banning handguns in the home. In fact, every other time the court had ruled previously, it had ruled otherwise. Why such a head-snapping turnaround? Don’t look for answers in dusty law books or the arcane reaches of theory.

There is not a single word about an individual’s right to a gun for self-defense or recreation in Madison’s notes from the Constitutional Convention. Nor was it mentioned, with a few scattered exceptions, in the records of the ratification debates in the states. Nor did the U.S. House of Representatives discuss the topic as it marked up the Bill of Rights. In fact, the original version passed by the House included a conscientious objector provision. “A well regulated militia,” it explained, “composed of the body of the people, being the best security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed, but no one religiously scrupulous of bearing arms, shall be compelled to render military service in person.”

Though state militias eventually dissolved, for two centuries we had guns (plenty!) and we had gun laws in towns and states, governing everything from where gunpowder could be stored to who could carry a weapon—and courts overwhelmingly upheld these restrictions. Gun rights and gun control were seen as going hand in hand. Four times between 1876 and 1939, the U.S. Supreme Court declined to rule that the Second Amendment protected individual gun ownership outside the context of a militia. As the Tennessee Supreme Court put it in 1840, “A man in the pursuit of deer, elk, and buffaloes might carry his rifle every day for forty years, and yet it would never be said of him that he had borne arms; much less could it be said that a private citizen bears arms because he has a dirk or pistol concealed under his clothes, or a spear in a cane.”

The gun lobby’s lurch rightward was part of a larger conservative backlash that took place across the Republican coalition in the 1970s. One after another, once-sleepy traditional organizations galvanized as conservative activists wrested control.

(click here to read more)

Maya Angelou “On The Pulse Of Morning”

Maya Angelou born Marguerite Ann Johnson, April 4, 1928 – May 28, 2014, was an American author and poet.  She was the first poet since Robert Frost to give an inaugural recitation.


Braley: Equal Justice

Bruce Braley is fighting for the middle class and is being targeted by the Koch Brothers. He needs your support. Click here to join the campaign.


In Flanders Fields – Song


Rep. Dave Loebsack Calls for Reclassification To Ensure A Free And Open Internet

Dave Loebsack OfficialYesterday,  Congressman Loebsack sent a letter to FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler and FCC commissioners calling on the commission to maintain a strong net neutrality policy,  to consider banning paid prioritization, and urging reclassification of ISPs as common carriers to ensure that there can be oversight for strong net neutrality rules.

Please take the time to thank Rep. Loebsack for taking a strong stand to protect the free and open internet.

Citizens can also contact the FCC during this public comment phase.


May 21, 2014

Chairman Wheeler and Commissioners
Federal Communications Commission
445 Twelfth Street, SW, Room 8-C453
Washington, DC 20554

Dear Chairman Wheeler and Commissioners,

Last week, your Commission advanced a proposal regarding rules governing the open internet. I am deeply concerned about the potential of this proposal to run afoul of a strong net neutrality policy that treats some online content differently by Internet Service Providers (ISPs).

I strongly believe that the internet is a space and a tool that must remain equal to all users. The internet has become more than just a research tool and gathering place, it has become a necessary tool for individuals and businesses to function in our modern society and economy. In many aspects of life, we now have a system that revolves tightly around access to the internet and its ability to perform – for things like education, commerce, medicine and health care, as well as completing government requirements that are increasingly moving online. For each person or business, each use of the internet takes on a different priority and it is critical to provide an equal playing field for all uses.

As this proposal now moves forward and into the public comment phase, it is imperative that you take all options for maintaining a strong net neutrality policy into consideration. I appreciate you soliciting comments specifically on whether paid prioritization should be banned, and I urge you to give serious consideration to reclassifying ISPs as common carriers in order to ensure strong open internet rules.

Thank you for your time and consideration.

Dave Loebsack
Iowa’s Second District