We just had an election and the Democrats pretty much won - except in NE Washington where we live.  Can we do something about that before the next election?

What is the Problem?

A relatively few very conservative right wing ideologs have taken over much of the Republican party.  It didn't start out that way.  In the late 1960's and early 1970's the Republicans were floundering.  To solve this problem several think tanks were set up.  At first this worked reasonably well.  Their new ideas were conservative but political.  Then someplace along the way some of the more radical elements started bringing in some very conservative fundamentalist religious groups.  This group is in charge of the Republican Party today.  They have suffered a setback but still they are not gone.  Their columnists are still spewing their same versions of hate, fear, and lies.  Only now they are adding excuses as to why they lost the election.

Many of their most rabid supporters are very rich, very conservative, and very comfortable with buying what they want whether it is by buying votes or buying political favors.  A prime example of this is the real estate developer from New York who financed the recent property rights initiatives in Washington, Idaho, and Montana.  When someone like this gets involved the issue becomes one of pure ideology, there is no room for compromise - My Way or the Highway!"  A reasoned political debate would consider all the issues, try to remedy the problems with the current laws, and there are some, and come to a compromise that all can live with - perhaps even agreeing to look at the problem in 5 or 10 years to correct any new problems that might come up.

What do we do about this?

Real simple, we just go out and get more votes for the people who are sympathetic to our beliefs.  Of course it gets a mite more complicated when we get down to the details, but lets go.  Depending on the estimates, either 30% of the voters are dedicated Democrats, 40% are independents, and 30% are dedicated Republicans, or, 40% are Democrats, 20% are independents, and 40% are Republicans.  Therefore between 60% and 80% of the people already have their minds made up and 40% to 20% can possibly be convinced to vote.  

Nice numbers - what do we do now?  Look at them.  30 to 40% of the people are dedicated Democrats, they will vote for our candidates no matter what we (or our candidates) do as long as we don't screw up too bad.  Same with the dedicated Republicans, they won't vote for our candidates unless the Republicans screw up big time.  Therefore we need to dedicate much of our effort towards the 20 - 40% who are not dedicated to either party.

How do we do this?

We have several options, personal contact, phone or email contact, or media contact.  For private, individual contacts you can use any method that you would like.  For more formal methods of contacting individuals both the Republicans and Democrats usually depend on Precinct Committee Officers.  These are elected officials but if no one runs they may be appointed by the County party chair or in some cases the legislative district chair.  For Democrats in NE Washington this is the County chair.  

The Democratic party supports a list of all voters with names, addresses, phone numbers, precincts and a guess at party affiliation.  This is run through the county party organization and those who have access to this list are PCOs.  It should handle email but I don't know how yet.  This is contained in a computer database (VoteBuilder) that PCOs can access and is quite useful for preparing walking lists and calling (or email lists?)

For media contact, I don't know if the Democratic party supports any form of this.  I do know that the Republicans do and I personally feel that this is one of the reasons why they have been generally doing better at the polls than the Democrats.