How to win a political election - remotely!

GrowSF Clubhouse series

How to win a political election - remotely!

When: Wednesday, March 3, 5PM PT




What is a CA Democratic Delegate

  • Delegates make decisions for the Democratic party; there are 3000 in CA
  • They elect the officers of the CA party, endorse statewide candidates and propositions
  • Some delegates are elected, others appointed
    • Elected delegates will vote/endorse positions based on conscious; appointed vote/endorse based on whom appointed them
  • The position is important, because endorsements can move elections by 8-10% of vote
  • They tend to run on a slate - delegates will run as part of a group

Why did you enter politics

  • Nima: during Iraq War, inspired to ensure it doesn’t happen Iran, his country of origin; successfully got CA Democratic Party to pass a resolution against it
  • Mike: didn’t see many people who shared his values in office, so decided to run
  • Jane: also didnt see representation for herself based on the issues she cares about like housing, or as a trans individual

What is the infrastructure to setting up a campaign

  • Most important facet of a Delegate campaign is you run as a slate of people
    • Similar to School board elections
    • You assemble a group of candidates who share your values, and have people vote for you as a group
    • Each individual brings in 50-75 votes, allowing the group to bring in 1000+ votes for each other
  • Getting out the vote
    • Theres a process to voting for Delegates
    • Traditionally had to get people to turn up in person, and vote on specific day at specific place
    • Now in a remote world, all the process was digital - request ballot, and then submit ballot
  • Campaign Manager
    • Primary person who keeps you in line, follows up with candidates to make sure they complete work
    • Helps get endorsements
  • Get endorsements
    • The endorsing organizations will then phone bank and email their list-servs

Most effective activity on the campaign

  • The slate is the most important activity for Delegates
    • Collecting a group of people with shared values who together command a larger voter base
  • Ensuring voting discipline
    • Ensuring each candidate’s voters will vote for the other candidates
  • Using every campaign medium possible
    • Send emails, social media, etc
    • Message each person 5-6 times before the election, via a variety of channels
    • Make sure those who get a ballot actually submit it back
  • Running more than once
    • It usually takes 1-2 times to win
    • Need to build relationships

Most difficult day on the campaign

  • The day the ballots requested was counted, it was a lot larger than expected
    • Expected it to be couple thousand, but was 6700+
    • They could only account for 2000 ballots amongst their own slate, so made it feel like the remaining 4000 were from the competition
    • Resolved it by moving forward, and just ensuring as many of their own 2000 ballots were actually submitted

Online Discourse and Elections

  • Delegates discussed how social media has been helpful or unhelpful in politics
  • Jane indicated in a shelter-in-place world, online discourse was a necessity
  • Sharky (audience, and also an ADEM AD 17 delegate) tweeted about a stolen van, and 6-9 months later the Governor signed related orders
  • Also noted you have to be careful of the Brown Act as a public official - work related conversations are required to be in public
  • Some indicated Twitter could be a distraction, you’re not going to change someones opinion; so focus reaching an audience
  • Social media can help find the hundreds / thousands of votes you need to swing an election

Getting Involved

  • Delegates recommended others to get involved in an issue you care about, and the rest should follow
  • You’ll never succeed at running just by deciding to run; you need to go through the slog and build relationships


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