I generally shy away from basing my blogs–or my own opinions, for that matter–on material from partisan sources. Trump and his enablers may accuse traditional media of being “fake” or biased, but that’s a tactic, not an accurate description, so I try to limit my references to places like the New York Times, Washington Post, Guardian, etc.

But in the aftermath of Trump’s most recent–and arguably most breathtaking–departures from anything close to Presidential behavior/circumspection/sanity,  I’m breaking my rule, and sharing a Daily Kos post that spoke to me–loudly and clearly.

The obstacles to Democratic control of Congress are not emotional, and emotions are not the answer. We don’t require more “enthusiasm.” We’re not lacking in progressive ideas and candidates, nor are we shy on appropriately moderate options. We don’t need better explanations of our positions. We’re not even hurting for dough right now.

We need voters. And our opponents have done a damn good job for decades of blocking our voters.

Gerrymandering. Voter ID. Roll purges.

Our problems are structural. And they will take a great deal of work to overcome.

As regular readers of this blog know, when it comes to the importance of social and politicall structures, I’ve been singing that song for a long time. The author of this post goes further than diagnosis, however.

He has a prescription for what ails us.

Voter ID laws are unconstitutional poll taxes. That doesn’t get rid of them. The only way around them is to identify our voters and get them the IDs. We can’t just drive them to the polls, we have to drive them to the DMV six months earlier. And, if they can’t afford the new poll tax, we have to find a way to pay for those cards for them.

We have to make sure they are registered, and stay registered through the coming postcard purges, calling long before Election Day, checking for them and helping them re-register if they get booted.

And, on Election Day, we have to have already built those relationships. The phone calls can’t be, “Hi, I’m blah blah blah from the blah blah blah campaign reminding you to blah blah blah.” They have to be, “Hi, Phyllis, it’s Ashley. What time do you want me to pick you up?”

Admittedly, this is a lot of work. It’s so much easier to post a scathing remark to Facebook, to share a particularly pointed comment or article, and then feel as if we’ve done our part.

We can continue to preach to our choirs, engage in handwringing with those who already agree with us, and who already vote–or we can do the hard work of identifying non-voters, registering them, making sure they have what they need, and getting them to the polls.

Here’s the bottom line: there is only one way to save this country from the accelerating damage to our institutions and national defense (not to mention the raping and pillaging  that the Trumpers aren’t even bothering to hide). Democrats, scientists, moderate Republicans and all sane Americans must do two things simultaneously: we must delay and obstruct as many of their legislative assaults as humanly possible; and we must ensure that 2018 will be a wave election that will oust the Trump enablers from the House and Senate.

If we fail–if we give in to “outrage fatigue,” rely on the Democratic party or Common Cause or the ACLU to act on our behalf, or simply tell ourselves we’re “too busy” to find and equip that non-voter, we will wake up in January 2019 to a country we don’t recognize.. and definitely  won’t like.


  1. Well said, thank you! Get thee (and others) to the polls… and register register register.

  2. With all of the voter ID and voter purging, coupled with discriminatory gerrymandering; I have a question. When we move; whether within our same voter district, city or state or to another state and register at our new address, does this automatically remove our names from the poll books we sign when we go to vote? For that matter; when we die – or just become too disgusted to bother voting or have no way to get to the polls – is there a set time fame for our name to be removed (purged) when we have not signed in to vote? Did I say that in a comprehensive manner?

    I have lived in Indiana primarily but also in Nevada and Florida; could my name still be on the voter registration lists in those other states…or at my different addresses in Indiana? I do urge family and friends who are not registered to do so and remind those who move to update their voter registration. I am NOT against picture ID; not only to vote but for check and debit card cashing and using credit cards. Having been a crime victim where simply requiring a picture ID would have stopped the criminals from causing me serious credit problems for months and made additional work for all businesses involved. Picture ID is for OUR protection, anyone can copy our signature which does not look like our signature on that computerized box we sign and currently is the ONLY legal protection against forgery and fraud. If picture ID is required; it should be made easily available in ID card if not on drivers license, even babies are required to have social security numbers for identification.

  3. Great points, but what are some of the resources we can use to get involved right now. What website, or organization can we tap into now that can help guide us through the process of identifying non-registered voters so we can help them get registered and vote? I agree that angry posts on Facebook do little to help the situation, but as someone who is on social media and the web in general often, can we pull together these lists and spread them on FB, Twitter, Snap, etc?

  4. I mentioned this same thing to Democratic State Chair John Zody at one of his chair chats. Specifically, we need to find every voter registered to vote in 2016 that didn’t vote, know on their door, make co tact with them, try to have them participate in a survey that answers why they didn’t vote, what might motivate them to vote and if we can help in that process.

  5. In the rural county that I live in there doesn’t appear to be a problem with a lack of voter ID. This is most likely due to a 100% white population that needs to own a vehicle to be able to travel to work, since there is no public transportation.

    However, we do have a problem with people choosing not to vote due to the apathy that has set in from a lack of choices at the voting booth. As I have mentioned before, my county is completely red. The only way that I can see to make a change here is to work on educating the public about what is really going on and how they can participate to make the improvements that they would like to see. I am SO tired of hearing people exclaim at election time to just “Get out and Vote” if you want to bring about change. The people who say that seem to be completely unaware that voting can’t bring about change when you don’t have any choices at the voting booth. The Rs have been very successful with their gerrymandering.

  6. We need mandatory voting policy like Australia. And help to make sure voters are not disenfranchised. Then we will get the turnout from real citizens we need.

  7. 35 states have Republican Governors. Not following you on this one. Obamacare was voted by a partisan vote with 33 percent approval. It cost me my insurance plan. Cadillac nonetheless the union fought for and liberals in Washington taxed it. We are $9 trillion more in debt and our roads weren’t paved. I listened to the LA mayor and liked some of his ideas on education this morning. If we want attract voters then don’t take away their livelyhood.

  8. Robert Deppert; excellent idea. People need to be willing to get out on the streets and knock on doors; using the voter registration rolls (if that is legally accessible to voter registration teams). The last political candidate knocking on doors in my neighborhood City-County Councilor Mary Moriarty-Adams, 8-9 years ago. A few years earlier a team seeking registered voter information for a Democratic State Representative also provided me with a yard sign. Last fall there was a team in my neighborhood seeking support for public education; they asked if I was a voter. Living in this general area for 16 years, this is not a good example of encouraging voters or voter registration. Did you notice they were all Democratic party members?

  9. When I moved from Virginia Beach to a small rural West Kentucky county in 2000, one of the first things I did was go to the County Clerk’s Office to complete my voter registration. I questioned the County Clerk why I had to declare affiliation as either Democrat or Republican, and she told me that if I didn’t register as a Democrat that I’d likely not be able to vote in the local elections because there are no Republicans in that county who ever run for election. So, I registered as a Democrat and sure enough, I learned later that only 100 or so county residents were Republicans. I thought that was strange at the time and still do.

    By the way, the demographic breakdown in that county is: 80% white, 20% African-American.

  10. Daily Kos’ strategy begins with “identify the voters and get them IDs.” Who are the ‘we’ who are to do the identification of voters? In Marion County only precinct officials have access to the list of registered voters, which is bloated and inaccurate due to ‘motor voter’. The two parties distribute to the precinct committee chair 10 days before the election a very incomplete ‘walking list.’ In my experience as a precinct chair, DK’s Rx for winning an election is naive. Not even the established parties have the organization to do what DK recommends. How many readers of this blog will canvass their block in order to make sure every eligible neighbor is registered? DK has correctly outlined the 3 necessary steps. In my experience it is unrealistic.

  11. As citizens of the the land of the free, we ought to be required to provide proof of voting to get a drivers license, not the other way around.

  12. Just yesterday I was served by a friendly black waitress who helped me make a menu selection in a restaurant I had not before patronized. She was open and friendly so I asked if the election turned out to her liking. She replied with candor:
    “I didn’t vote.”
    Today I’m wondering why I get satisfaction using the only power I have while she and others like her just don’t bother.
    I’ve concluded that for many others there is simply no incentive. There is no immediate reward and there is no expectation that a single vote will make any difference.
    So, I’m focusing on the word “incentive” and wonder how we can legally provide incentive. Any ideas for 2018 and beyond?

  13. “We don’t need better explanations of our positions.” Are you sure?
    When Democratic candidates leave the jobs issue to be explained and championed by the party platform:

    “We are committed to doing everything we can to build a full-employment economy, where everyone has a job that pays enough to raise a family and live in dignity with a sense of purpose[,]” …or lukewarm versions of it,

    it is easy for Joe or Jane Workman to detect the party’s lack of passion for job creation. When the other side’s advocacy for job creation rocks and rolls with passion, Joe and Jane find it easy to conclude that Republican lies and cons can be accepted as mere awkward expressions thrown off kilter by the passion of underlying commitments to jobs.
    Maybe there was a reason that Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren seemed to be the only Democratic spokespersons who connected with Joe and Jane.

  14. I don’t see how the champion narcissist can endure the current investigations. If I were inflated as he is, I could not survive all that loss of gas. I have not heard suicide mentioned, but it could be an ideal solution to gratify him with mourning from his base and the promise of glorification by martyrdom.

  15. Wayne Moss; do you notice how many teams of Jehovah Witnesses patrol neighborhoods…and do it frequently. Maybe that is how Pence and other Republicans spouting religious protection for their voters win elections. Do they have more faith in their religion than Americans do in this country? Just askin’

  16. I was there. Selma, Al. 1963 thru 1965. We did that. Go look at Selma now. Not the movie. On your vacation, go to Selma now.

  17. Spread the Vote is a new group that has just launched in Georgia and will be launching in Virginia. Their focus is to help the 600,000 registered voters in Georgia who lack the required photo ID. If you support this work donating something can help. This will all take time, volunteers, experts, and funding.

  18. 2 quick points. The “we don’t need that, we need this…” talk keeps us arguing amongst ourselves and spinning our wheels. There are many pieces to this puzzle and we need all of them. Secondly, a personal awakening: “outrage fatigue” is a symptom of white privilege — my black sisters and brothers have surely felt outrage fatigue for hundreds of years and they march on. I dare not cry “fatigue.”

  19. Gerrymandering, ID laws, and purges, and more. We have to get people to WANT to vote, and not just in protest for a candidate that has no reasonable hope of winning but makes the voter “feel good” about their vote. Too many people either wasted their vote or stayed home because they bought the propaganda about emails, foundations, and other corrupt practices that were non-existent.

    A few years ago I read an article that argued that the reason we don’t have uprisings like the Arab Spring is because we diffuse the anger through frequent elections we have a chance to express our collective anger at the polls every two years. What the GOP may not understand about all of their voter obstruction tactics is that, if people don’t believe their votes will matter, even if they can be cast, they’ll stop using elections as the means to effect political change.

  20. The first opportunity will be in next year. We have to start with Congress no matter what happens in the Whitehouse. Trump is good at consuming the press with shiny objects of his choosing but Congress is every bit as dysfunctional evidenced by their favorability number. They are setting records. Apparently though in many places people hate Congress but are ok with their Senator and/or Representative.

    As President Obama likes to say this is retail politics. We have to out work the extremists and malinformed Republican faithful and some of that is just getting out to meet those like us who know that the America we knew and assumed to be ours forever is at existential risk.

  21. Last year, I volunteered at a poll. The 3 other people who worked that poll have worked together for years at every election. They were all Tea Party people. The fourth member of the team, who was sick, was replaced for that election by me. After correcting incorrect data that would have stopped someone from voting, I think that we also need to volunteer to work at the polls. After seeing the process firsthand, there are many ways to affect the results or discourage voters. My faith in the election process was shaken by not only the results of the election, but in seeing firsthand how the process could easily be affected by poll workers putting their political beliefs over true Democracy.

  22. Have all the voter drives you want, etc. The Democrats if they expect to win must be more than – I am not a Republican. The top of the ballot here in Indiana was Clinton, Bayh, and Gregg, not very inspiring choices and all three lost Indiana.

    The Democrats have to capture and most importantly motivate the Independent Voter to vote for them. The Democrats right now seem to have taken the approach all they need to do is attack Trump. Trump does provide a big target. Point being you need to be much more then against someone.

    The Corporate Establishment wings of both the Democratic and Republican parties under estimated voter anger at the status quo.

  23. There seems to be an opinion in the Democratic ranks that Democrats are lazy. They don’t know what’s what and they don’t care. That’s balderdash … or some kind of dash. Democrats are just as enthusiastic as Republicans are. But they’re not as well informed. I wonder whose fault that is.

    Every home has a mail box. On a daily basis, thousands of mail boxes are loaded with so-called junk mail. But one man’s junk can be another man’s treasure. Wouldn’t it be nice if every Democrat received a one-a-month mailing that provided the exact location of the precinct voting site … or the names of the Democrats who are running for office … or a description of the activities the major parties are squabbling about?

    Create a mailing that would go to Democrats only. Although the people in our neighborhood are very pleasant, I don’t think they would appreciate answering their doors to a bunch of well-meaning Democrats. But they can’t do anything about the invasion of their mailboxes.

  24. Any Republicans who continue to support and back the president at this point, (Susan Brooks, Todd Young) are basically entrusting their entire future to their faith that Donald Trump is telling the truth.

    Just let that sink in.

  25. While voluntwering at state Democratic headquarters and mailings last year, I observed that the lists we had to cold call were not very accurate, with many calls unanswered. We had many great conversations, however we did/do not know if they voted or were serious in their stated support.

    This seems like wasted volunteer effort to me.

    As does so very much of the direct mail advertising which I helped to bundle. This is/has always been the way it is done, so the campaigns keep doing it, and spending lots of donated funds to do it. Personally, most all of the campaign mail I received goes directly into the recycle bin. This last cycle it was about what the others are not doing, and what I can do better; perhaps not a positive frame for engaging voter support.

    I wondered if it would not engage more voter support if the candidates, and party workers were to be seen helping out with feeding the poor, building relationships with youth organizations. What would happen if we saw funds being used for good works rather than supporting great trips, rallies, mailing, combustible debates? Know that would get my attention more, and with a more impressive positive spin.

    And now we have Mike Pence forming HIS OWN PAC so as to work on future seats in the halls of power. Power is not life and lived experience.

    I will be out of my home and away from the screens to help save our democracy. Hope you all will be doing the same. Thank you, once more, again, Sheila for the en-courage-ment.

  26. Spot-on, Sheila and others! Marv’s been telling us…and where IS Marv? MK, are you out there? Are you hung under a gate somewhere? We’ll come to your rescue; you’ve come to ours plenty of times. I miss your brief yet direct approach!

  27. I wrote a letter to Susan Brooks asking her to support John Conyers HR 676 – Expanded & Improved Medicare for All Act, Single Payer health care that includes all medically necessary care, such as primary care and prevention, dietary and nutritional therapies, prescription drugs, emergency care, long-term care, mental health services. HR 676 now has 110 co-sponsors. Bottom line Susan Brooks will not support HR 676.

    Nancy Pelosi Democratic House Leader is also NOT a co-sponsor of HR 676. Thus, Pelosi joins the entire Indiana Republican House delegation in not co-sponsoring HR 676.

  28. This. This. This is what I have been saying since Obama’s first run. The amount of time, number of locations, and costs to be able to participate in the 2008 election was exhausting. I was determined. The issue all stemmed from not properly changing my name when I was married. My license was in my married name as I produced my marriage license at the BMV, and filed my taxes only learning 5 yrs later the company that charged me $16 to switch my SS information was a scam and the IRS wanted to know what other names I was known by. I knew I needed to get this all straightened out prior to the election since the new secured IDs were required. Upon arriving at the Marion County vital records office on 38th St. I was informed that I didn’t have the required ID to get a copy of my birth certificate, I needed a sibling or parent to come and verify that I was who I am. Not having family that was not possible, so I had to wait for a supervisor, at this point I was in tears. After a few hours I mentioned I was a student at IUPUI, and low and behold my college transcript accepted, thankfully I was able to get it faxed over rather than having to drive to campus. All this just to get my birth certificate so I could correct my SS card. Off to the Federal Building downtown. By this time the office is closed, so I have to come back the next day. It was quite simple the next visit. Now off the to BMV to replace my license. I have my paper work from SS office, my birth certificate, transcripts and bank statement. However this was no adequate, I also needed another piece of mail to verify my address. Having the utilities in my husbands name, I was in tears yet again, it is friday, the election is tuesday. I go home and start going through my mail stack, I needed something mailed within the last 60 days. I luck out as I had new insurance cards mailed out, back to the BMV. Line closed. I go back on monday. Finally, I have my ID to vote! I was one happy camper. The next day, a poll worker tried to stop me saying my temporary ID was not acceptable. After being insistent that it was and yes crying again, I was finally able to cast my ballot. I had a car, I had the cash for the fees, I had the time, and I had the determination. I can’t imagine how difficult is just for those without transportation to go through this process.

  29. The Democratic Party needs to be built from the ground up with strong leadership at the local level. I don’t think we have the commitment to do that. The state party needs to be leading the local organizations better.

  30. to me the problem is that it seems wildly implausible that someone would want to vote and have NO identification in this day and age. Perhaps in 1800 a hermit could walk out of his cave in the woods, blinking at the light, and somehow be an informed voter, but today? And that leaves people that likely are fraudulent voters. Yes, the Democrats are noted for vote fraud, and they are the folks eager to “dig up” (often literally, from the cemetery) these masses of voters that can swing the votes. Those who wish to vote can surely meet the simple steps to qualify. When unions were powerful they often swung elections in dubious ways related to this, but they have failed in their mission and union members often don’t support the bosses choices.

  31. I am required to show my drivers license to receive medical care; at my primary physician’s office, specialist’s locations and the hospital ER. My Indiana University Health Care membership card and Medicare card are not enough.

  32. Listening to the radio this morning on my way to work, they were talking about voter suppression and I had these same thoughts. How voter ID can be a poll tax for people who don’t need a drivers license. I’d never realized that before. And I too thought about taking people to get IDs and forming a fund to cover the costs.
    Thanks for sharing this Sheila. I hope we can find a way to make this happen.

  33. Got a call from one of the national orgs of the party and they needed money to go on TV in the Georgia race. I exploded. Their idea of get out the vote is to Go On TV. Stupid and wasteful in a suburb of a large city. They should already have name, address and phone and email of every favorable voter in their data base and be contacting them one on one between now and election day. If that was preceded by the activity you outlined above, we would win most elections.

  34. Jayne Kercheval; my comparison to Jehovah Witnesses was their taking action to increase their congregation vs. those who sit at home telling people to register to vote rather than going out to help register voters.

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