The post Democratic convention bump is likely to lead to a lasting advantage for Hillary Clinton as we fight our way vote by vote to November. But in this unusual election season, we can't underestimate the power of Trump's accusations of a “rigged system” with a cynical electorate primed to distrust the system.
We also cannot assume that this out-of-control candidate is going to implode, despite the apoplectic Republican Party and Trump’s unceasing attacks on all things decent, civil, and patriotic. He survives by appealing to voters who share his nativism, protectionism, and populism. We must counter that with our own narrative of inclusion, patriotism, and progress.
The Hillary campaign plans to open an office in San Diego County soon. The office will likely coordinate phonebanking to engage voters in battleground states. As in the previous Obama campaigns, Californians will probably be recruited to volunteer for GOTV in Nevada.
As this drama unfolds on the national stage, we must also stay focused on the critical races and issues here in San Diego County. And there are a lot of them! We have strong candidates running throughout the county who depend on our support. The changes in the San Diego City Charter will have a profound impact on all future elections. The countywide SANDAG ballot measure would have an impact for the next forty years on transit, open space, and infrastructure.
More than 550,000 Democrats, many of them new voters, depend on the San Diego County Democratic Party to provide them with the information and guidance they need to cast their ballots. That's why our endorsements and ability to fund voter outreach plans are critical to our success in November -- and to the future direction of our county.
In 2012, more than 70% of our endorsed candidates won their races, in large part because we were able to mail a personalized slate of endorsed candidates and issues -- from the U.S. President to local school board trustees -- to 250,000 Democratic households. These voters, with our slates in hand, voted for down-ballot candidates in substantial numbers. We are grateful and proud of the experience and expertise that our staff has developed to lead our sophisticated operation of data management, targeting, and voter contact.
In each of the past three election cycles, the San Diego County Democratic Party has raised and spent over a million dollars in support of our candidates. I am working hard to ensure that we again reach our goal of fully implementing our voter outreach program. In addition to the slate mailers, hundreds of our GO Team volunteers will carry our slate doorhanger to tens of thousands of homes. We are opening campaign offices in East County, South County, and Coastal North County in addition to our North County Inland office and our headquarters in Kearny Mesa. A flood of volunteers is already contacting us in support of our election efforts. (Click here to sign up!)
This election holds great promise for Democrats locally. We have strong candidates running for city council in Carlsbad and La Mesa, where we have not been competitive in decades. We have a chance to build on our majorities in San Diego, Imperial Beach, Oceanside, and Chula Vista. We have seasoned mayoral candidates in Encinitas and Lemon Grove. We have valiant candidates challenging incumbents for Assembly seats in the 75th Assembly District, and for Congress in the 49th and 50th districts against Darrell Issa and Duncan Hunter. Our incumbents and “safe” candidates are doing their part in support of the team. We have measures on the ballot that will affect future elections and our quality of life well into the future.
This is a far cry from the not-too-distant past, when we hungered for candidates and despaired over solid Republican voter advantages throughout the county. We have worked hard to bring about these changes and to support the growth or our Party. It's a continuing challenge to manage our growth, capitalize on our advantages, and provide the funding needed for our expanding programs, services, voter outreach, and candidate support.
I urge each of you to continue your good work supporting our Party and our candidates. As Hillary and the delegates at the Democratic Convention shouted to the rafters in Philadelphia and to every corner of our country, we are “stronger together!”