Arizona Eagletarian

Arizona Eagletarian

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

NOW is the time for Democratic Congressional and statewide office hopefuls to rethink fundraising.

In case someone hasn't heard me say it yet, I love Arizona Democratic Party chairman Bill Roe, exec. dir. DJ Quinlan and the rest of the staff. I think our candidates for statewide office and for Congress were all tremendous and tremendously brilliant people.

We got the job done... well, for the Arizona Legislature anyway (not losing any ground, as far as number of seats), and for some other key races (like the Gilbert Public Schools governing board).


After months of pathetic, often pessimistic and always annoying emails to people who had signed up to receive campaign updates from Congressional and statewide candidates, I have heard exactly NOBODY talking about the role these horrendous messages had on the outcome of the election season.

I believe that, in general, that fundraising strategy poisoned those campaigns. Not the sole factor, but they were demoralizing and nobody was prepared to change the strategy once it began.

EVERY Democratic candidate for Congress and statewide office in Arizona (except Clean Elections funded Terry Goddard) did it. The degree of neediness or desperation evident in the text of those email messages varied. But ALL of them, to a degree, alienated people who received them.

Perhaps it would be good for political science academics to figure out a way to quantify the problem. However, even though I am not currently able to objectively measure it, the problem was obvious to many, many people.

Here's what I currently understand about the problem.

The last key person with a high profile winning race for Congress was the current US Senator from Massachusetts, Elizabeth Warren. She is the template that needs to be replicated.
Elizabeth Warren, a fearless consumer advocate who has made her life's work the fight for middle class families, was elected to the United States Senate on November 6, 2012, by the people of Massachusetts.
Elizabeth is recognized as one of the nation's top experts on bankruptcy and the financial pressures facing middle class families, and the Boston Globe has called her "the plainspoken voice of people getting crushed by so many predatory lenders and under regulated banks."
She is widely credited for the original thinking, political courage, and relentless persistence that led to the creation of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. President Obama asked her to set up the new agency to hold Wall Street banks and other financial institutions accountable, and to protect consumers from financial tricks and traps often hidden in mortgages, credit cards and other financial products.
How did Sen. Warren get elected?

  • Plainspoken authenticity with a message that hit home for the majority of voters.
  • Grassroots fundraising that didn't require whiny, annoying emails. She was an inspirational rainmaker. Her campaign was plenty green, drawing in more than $42 million (committee ID, S2MA00170).
Fearless with laser-like focus on a message that will continue to resound over the two-year election cycle we now begin.

Have you heard any of her stump speeches or media interviews or committee questioning in the last two years?

Ya know, Arizona Republicans are not going to like it, but Elizabeth Warren IS still the template for the authentic politician effectively communicating to voters/citizens that she will unequivocally advocate for the interests of the voter.

Not only was and is she authentic (and therefore believable), she has always done her homework and speaks knowledgeably and effectively on issues that matter to voters.

I'm not going to parse the messages put forth by Fred DuVal, Felecia Rotellini, David Garcia or even (Clean Elections funded) Terry Goddard. But I am going to say there was a gap between the candidates and the voters, as evidenced by the vote tallies.

The vote totals provide evidence that -- for whatever reason -- an inspiring, credible, authentic message did not effectively make it from the candidate(s) (each of them for the statewide offices) to the mind of the voters.

There's plenty of places that breakdown could have occurred beginning with whether the message itself was inspiring to whether there was money to get the message out on print, broadcast or social media to whether the voters understand American civics, politics and government.

The bottom line at THIS stage is for prospective candidates to take inventory of their own values, skills and experience to figure out if they can formulate the necessarily inspiring, credible, authentic message necessary for a run for office in 2016 or 2018.

Former Clinton administration Labor Secretary Robert Reich blogged yesterday,
The President blames himself for the Democrats' big losses Election Day. “We have not been successful in going out there and letting people know what it is that we’re trying to do and why this is the right direction,” he said Sunday.
In other words, he didn’t sufficiently tout the Administration’s accomplishments.
I respectfully disagree.
If you want a single reason for why Democrats lost big on Election Day 2014 it’s this: Median household income continues to drop. This is the first “recovery” in memory when this has happened.
Jobs are coming back but wages aren’t. Every month the job numbers grow but the wage numbers go nowhere.
Most new jobs are in part-time or low-paying positions. They pay less than the jobs lost in the Great Recession.
This wageless recovery has been made all the worse because pay is less predictable than ever. Most Americans don’t know what they’ll be earning next year or even next month. Two-thirds are now living paycheck to paycheck. [...]
The stock market has boomed. Corporate profits are through the roof. CEO pay, in the stratosphere. Yet most Americans feel like they’re still in a recession.
And they’re convinced the game is rigged against them. [...]
Fifty years ago, just 29 percent of voters believed government is “run by a few big interests looking out for themselves.” Now, 79 percent think so.
According to Pew, the percentage of Americans who believe most people who want to get ahead can do so through hard work has plummeted 14 points since 2000.
What the President and other Democrats failed to communicate wasn't their accomplishments. It was their understanding that the economy is failing most Americans and big money is overrunning our democracy. 
And they failed to convey their commitment to an economy and a democracy that serve the vast majority rather than a minority at the top.
Some Democrats even ran on not being Barack Obama. That’s no way to win. Americans want someone fighting for them, not running away from the President. [...]
And the Democrats? They have a choice.
They can refill their campaign coffers for 2016 by trying to raise even more money from big corporations, Wall Street, and wealthy individuals. And hold their tongues about the economic slide of the majority, and the drowning of our democracy.
Or they can come out swinging. Not just for a higher minimum wage but also for better schools, paid family and medical leave, and child care for working families.
For resurrecting the Glass-Steagall Act and limiting the size of Wall Street banks.
For saving Social Security by lifting the cap on income subject to payroll taxes.
For rebuilding the nation’s roads, bridges, and ports.
For increasing taxes on corporations with high ratios of CEO pay to the pay of average workers.
And for getting big money out of politics, and thereby saving our democracy.
It’s the choice of the century.
[Arizona] Democrats have less than two years to make it.
Prospective 2016 candidates, Elizabeth Warren's book, A Fighting Chance would be a very good place to start looking for your inspiration.

Today it is a case of the grasshopper pitted against the elephant. But tomorrow the elephant will have its guts ripped out. Le Loi, Vietnamese emperor, 15th Century.


  1. To be perfectly honest, I ignore all of those whiny fund raising emails. There are way too many of them and they look way too much like Republican fund raising emails.

  2. embrace who you truly are, and don't be afraid to show it.