THE KNOCKOUT RALLY
The Ohio Democratic Party”s blueprint for victory
Monday, November 23, at 6:30pm
Lincoln Theatre, 769 E. Long St. in Downtown Columbus
At a time when many Democrats are hoping for at least a split decision in 2010, the state party is rolling out an aggressive pugilistic-themed pitch for a sweeping "knockout" victory over Republicans in next year’s critical and state and federal elections. In coming weeks, party leaders will rally the troops during campaign warm-ups at 11 cities, including the Columbus rally on Monday.
As with any theatrical (pardon the mixed metaphors!), there was an out-of-town opening to work out the kinks before the premiere on "Broadway" — in this case Columbus’ Lincoln Theatre – on Monday.
So about 60 of us showed up last night at a union hall in Cambridge, Ohio, to get an early look at the game plan for holding on to — and adding on to – those seats picked up during the Democratic resurgence of 2006 and 2008.
It’s certainly not giving away any secrets to report that:
- Party Director Doug Kelly and Deputy director Lauren Groh-Wargo are confident 2010 will again be a Democratic year, despite widespread predictions the GOP elephant will come stomping back given the poor economy and public impatience with government at every level. "They (the Republicans) won’t work with us, they’re not working for us, so we just have to knock them out," boomed Kelly.
- The Ohio Democratic Party, with two successful elections under it’s belt and 62 staffers on board, is the biggest state party in the nation with a proven strategy for success. Coming off 2008, Democratic registration is nearly a million voters high than Republican, Kelly said. (The challenge, of course, is to keep Independents who voted with us last year in the Democratic column while energizing the base even without Obama on the ballot.)
- Actually, both Democrats and Republicans in Ohio will be pursuing pretty much the same strategy this cycle, Kelly said. This involves focusing on voter targeting and turnout, use of all available media (old and new) and a strong emphasis on neighbor-to-neighbor recruiting.
- If there’s a difference, it’s a push to begin organizing Democratic activists this winter instead of waiting until next spring. The party’s core message - ie, Democrats will provide responsible leadership, invest in the future and fight for the average family — is already being fined tuned for early distribution.
It was a good presentation, with sharp and effective graphics and just enough detail to get party activists re-engaged.
If I have any complaint, it’s that the "Knockout" program doesn’t include any strategy for attacking total Republican domination of the Ohio Supreme Court.
After all, what good is a strong left hook if the seven ring judges are all Republican?