The current mood of the country and within the Democratic Party is a mix of fear, frustration and a big desire to do “something.”
It isn’t everyday millions of people, most of whom are not regularly politically active, take to the streets to protest organically.
The question facing every local party leader and candidate is: How do I channel and use this energy to win at the ballot box? Successfully campaigning in the time of Trump requires knowing how to capitalize on the energy in the country.
We have three suggestions for every campaign and party. The central idea is simple: Be aggressive and play the long game.
Don’t let this unique moment in American history pass by. Take advantage of it.
1. Be Aggressive
People want something, anything, to do to make them feel like they are making a difference. Give them that opportunity.
If you have the budget to prospect for new donors online or through the mail, now is the time. If you can host local house parties, do it. Give people in your area an outlet for their frustration.
2. Empower and Build Relationships with Activists
As a local party leader, candidate or elected official, you should be empowering the people in your community who want to stand up and act.
The more people we can get active today, the better. Even more effective, is empowering more people to get other people active.
Don’t just encourage people. Be a part of it.
Go to the protests.
Attend the meetings.
Join the Facebook Groups.
Don’t go asking for money. Go looking to build relationships.
Go to listen and learn.
Offer help where ever you can.
3. Collect Data
This is the long game. The people who are protesting, advocating, and want to be involved for the first time are the key to your next election.
Do not lose the chance to get their email. Ask them to follow you on Facebook or Twitter.
Your goal is to collect their contact information. Then, when the next Election Day rolls around and some of the current enthusiasm and urgency is gone, you can still find them.
By November they may not all still be in the streets, but they will get to the ballot box — especially if you remind them.
There’s plenty more we can and should do, but these three priorities will help Democratic organizations and infrastructure for more than just the next few months. They will help us build and strengthen the long-term community we need to win on Election Night.