Grassroots Basics: Why you should look through the precinct returns
This is part of an occasional series, Grassroots basics for emergent parties.
If I were active in the DC Statehood/Green Party I would be coming through the precinct returns of the last city council elections and see where candidates did the best. Then I would be working like a fiend to recruit candidates for the Advisory Neighborhood Commissions. This is the smallest political unit in DC. ANC are the smallest political unit in DC, turnout is very low, almost micro. They are the sort of elections you can win with a good personal network, and if I were chair of DC Statehood/Green I would put all my energy into gaining control of as many ANCs as I could. For all I know, that is what they are doing.
My advice to left of center emergent parties is to look at the smallest political units and concentrate on winning them. The courthouse offices, commissioner of the revenue, treasurer, clerk of the court, offer a great opportunity to resist the kleptocracy in ways that cannot easily evade. School board is a great opportunity to resist education deform as well as insist that science be taught in the schools. Local office offers many opportunities to resist and sound the alarm on privatization.
The thing to do is look at the precinct returns on where you candidates did the best. This can be daunting, if your candidate received .09% of the vote, your best precincts might be where he/she received 1.5% of the vote. That is ok. You have to start somewhere. So if you are recruiting for a city council seat for 2014, try to find the ward where your candidates did the best, even if it is the difference between .09% and 1.5%. That is what passes for your base.
So how do you find volunteers to work those precincts, assuming you have recruited candidates? More on that next posts.