|At the top of this page, you can see Blue Virginia's motto: "think globally, blog locally." What that means, mostly, is that we believe strongly that while we should remain informed and engaged on national and world issues, the primary focus of our political activism should be at the state and local level. Why is that? Several reasons.1. Your impact is far, far greater at the state and local level than at the national level. For instance, let's say you give a $100 donation to a presidential campaign which raises $1 billion. Your donation makes up one TEN MILLIONTH of the total money raised by said presidential campaign. In other words, it's nice of you to give, but your donation is essentially meaningless in the broader picture. Now, let's say you give a $100 donation to a Virginia House of Delegates campaign, which let's say raises a total of $100,000. That means your contribution makes up one THOUSANDTH of the total money raised by said HoD campaign. Proportionally speaking, your $100 contribution to the HoD campaign has 10 THOUSAND times the "bang for the buck" as your $100 contribution to the presidential campaign (one thousandth of the money raised vs. one ten millionth of the money raised). To put it another way, you'd have to give $1 million to the presidential campaign to equal the proportional impact your $100 has to the HoD campaign. Good luck with that.|
2. Same thing with your vote. In a presidential election, in the vast majority of states, your vote is utterly meaningless, as your state is likely non-competitive, either "red" or "blue," and given that it's generally "winner take all" for the state's electoral votes. Even in states where your vote DOES matter, we're talking about millions of votes cast (around 3.9 million cast in 2012 for Obama or Romney), which means your 1 vote is a tiny fraction of that. In a House of Delegates election, in stark contrast, we're usually talking 25,000-40,000 votes total, with the winning margin in competitive races often just a few hundred, or possibly a few thousand, votes. Thus, your vote - and as many of your friends, family, coworkers, neighbors, etc. as you can persuade to vote - makes a proportionately enormous difference compared to your vote at the presidential level. Your vote also matters tremendously in party primaries, where frequently elections are decided by just a handful of votes. Yet turnout is much higher in "presidential" and "federal" elections than state and local ones. That's insane.
3. Unlike at the national level, where even if the system wasn't almost totally gridlocked thanks to Republicans' nihilistic obstructionism, your chances of having any sizable impact on national policy decisions is not large. At the local level, your chances of making a difference are VERY large.For instance, I was told recently by a Virginia city council official that a handful of vocal citizens at the local level frequently make a huge difference in what the council decides. At the state level, consider what a few dozen (or hundred) passionate voters calling a Virginia Delegate could do to his or her thinking on an issue? And consider how much impact state legislatures have on issues ranging from women's health to LGBT anti-discrimination to energy and environmental issues to education, taxation, voting rights, you name it. Don't believe that? Just look at the disaster happening in North Carolina right now, since that legislature was turned over to Republican control in January 2011. How many votes were cast in the November 2010 elections in North Carolina? We're talking 20k or 30k votes in many of the NC House of Representatives elections that year, with winning margins of just a few hundred or a few thousand votes in many cases. And that has had enormous implications - almost all negative - for North Carolina.
That's why when I read articles like this one in Politico ("Obama's states of despair: 2010 losses still haunt"), it utterly infuriated me. A few key takeaways that should get YOUR blood boiling too.
Saturday Morning Rant: Sometimes Democrats Really Infuriate Me
Saturday, July 27, 2013
Posted by Lowell at 6:52 AM