Monday, December 06, 2010

One 2010 election debrief (mine)

I now have a life experience that I share with a very small group of people; I ran for public office as a non-partisan candidate in a partisan race. (and I polled over 20% in doing so, even 39% and 42% in the 2 highest precincts)


Utah is home to 1.5 Million registered voters, 51.5% of which selected "unaffiliated" on their voter registration. Not to come off as a statistician, but I postulated that the votes cast in my race would not deviate far from a representative sample of voter identification (which for Davis County is 49% R, 42% u, 8% D and 1% all others)*----
*From memory, not authoritative


Well, needless to say, I did not prevail in the race. It was hard not to take disappointment personally when the results didn't even match a reasonable projection of a point spread. Near record low voter turnout clearly did not help. Initially I wanted to write something like losing doesn't feel good no matter how unlikely a victory was at the outset. Upon closer examination of the results I can make a more realisitic even optimistic assessment by comparing the experience to scrimmaging an NFL team with close friends and family, some borrowed dirty practice jersey and no pads or helmets. While we took a shellacking, we put some numbers on the board against the pros, and that feels pretty darn swell!


it took over 70 years of organizing to enfranchise women



So, since Nov. 2nd until now, I have had to pinch myself daily to remind myself that it (the election) never was about me. It was about people having representation without a party obstacle in an admittedly very obscure office.


I am positive I am not the first or last independent just this year bemoaning the fact that a better, more pro-active, better qualified candidate could not surmount the illogical sole support for a candidate based on partisan affiliation.


Personal relationships are paramount


After working so hard distributing flyers and posting engaging content (facebook.com/Davis.PLS), writing white papers, speaking at meet the candidate nights and filling out candidate questionaires for a handful of groups and newspapers, the week following the election was somewhat of a personal vacuum. That and the pay cut I have taken in this economy will now persist for the forseeable future.


But, it is what it is, and 0-1 is a record for quitters. And it is only a loss if I forfeit for nothing worse than being a little behind at halftime against a professional party machine.

Lessons learned



  1. "There is nothing as powerful as an idea whose time has come" Victor Hugo. While that may be true, I have learned to expect to slow down. Just because the public is ready to promote systemic political reform does not mean it will burst onto the scene just like that. (It took 13 years to ratify the constitution and over 70 years of organizing to enfranchise women).


  2. Personal relationships are paramount. In a recent conference call with independent organizers, Jackie Salit, President of CUIP stated 'the media has figured that the internet will change everything. Not so. People change things.' While I agree with that, I will add that the internet is simply another arrow in the quiver to sustain connections. The internet is not the end-all-be-all, but it can be a powerful component in networking. And the internet is turning the advertising revenue model of media outlets upside down. Traditional media now has millions of competitors just like that--including me!


    I'm convinced that personal relationships are the untapped power of an independent force in our wayward and exclusive politics. It is also the crutch many partisan candidates lean on--the personal relationships of others in the party that they did not cultivate themselves.


  3. Don't quit
  4. Success is how you define it
  5. Never stop networking


Happy Holidays


Randy










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