LatinaLista — The news that the White House had brought back David Plouffe, Obama’s former campaign manager, and the one person largely credited for getting Obama the presidency, had me wondering just what was he going to do to help Obama regain political traction.
“He (David Plouffe) brings value added to our operation as we look forward, in terms of strategy and tactics,” senior adviser David Axelrod said on ABC’s This Week.
Part of that value was how Plouffe was able to organize Internet-driven grass-roots campaigns and how he reached out to young adults like no one had ever done before.
David Plouffe,Obama’s former presidential campaign manager
It seems he’s reverting to that tried-and-true, and now tired, strategy.
In my Inbox this morning, I received an e-mail sent out by The Democratic Party on behalf of Plouffe. It was like deja-vu from the presidential campaign. It was an appeal to get a watch party together with friends, families and neighbors for the President’s State of the Union address.
The e-mail began:
On Wednesday evening, President Obama will deliver his first State of the Union address. It comes at a critical moment.
We must regroup, refocus, and re-engage on the vital work ahead. So let’s watch it together at a State of the Union Watch Party in your neighborhood.
Yet, this e-mail to mobilize a Neighborhood Watch Party just didn’t instill in me the same kind of excitement that similar requests made during the presidential campaign did.
I don’t think I’m alone.
If the Massachusetts win by Republican candidate Brown is any indication, chances are there are a lot less “inspired” voters than what turned out for the 2008 presidential election.
In fact, these “uninspired” voters are projected to be the 2010 election drop-off voters and according to an excellent analysis by Women’s Voices, Women Vote, the Democrats may have a steeper uphill battle to climb than just bringing back David Plouffe.
According to Women’s Voices, Women Vote, (WVWV) what was seen in the mid-term elections in New Jersey, Virginia, and Massachusetts, with lower voter turnouts, is an indication of a larger trend happening among voters described as the Rising American Electorate or RAE.
The RAE are defined as being: “Unmarried Women, Youths (ages 18-29), African Americans, Latinos, and all other non-white races.”
RAE voters account for more than half of the voting-eligible population in America (52%). It’s this population that has become “uninspired” to vote since Obama’s win.
It’s not that RAE voters disagree with Obama’s policies or how he’s conducted himself in office, it’s just that RAE voters don’t feel compelled to vote like they did in the presidential race.
WVWV project drop-off voting rates among the RAE to double versus the rate for Non-RAE voters. There are now 22 million fewer RAE voters than in 2008 reveals the WVWV analysis.
The WVWV did a state-by-state analysis of just how much RAE voters are not turning out at their local polls and found that their non-participation is changing the face of state electorates.
One of the biggest concerns voiced during the 2008 presidential election was if the momentum for civic participation could be kept alive among new and young Latino voters after the election.
The results of the elections in New Jersey, Virginia and Massachusetts have delivered the answer and proving true our worst nightmares of sustaining Latino political progress.
The ironic thing is that while Independents and Republicans are saying that Democrat losses in these elections were because the American people are against Obama’s policies and the direction of the country, the WVWV analysis proves otherwise.
The simple truth is that RAE voters, Latinos among them, don’t feel their votes are needed to the same extent as when they were to help Obama win.
The WVWV’s NJ-VA post election analysis revealed:
Motivating RAE voters to participate requires convincing them they have a stake in elections. Members of the RAE who voted were much more likely to say that their vote matters as a reason for voting than non-RAE voters. At the same time, RAE voters need to be targeted. When they drop off voting, they are often more likely to say that they did not have enough information about the candidates and the issues.
Unfortunately, sending out e-mail alerts to form watch parties has been done and to get the attention, of at least Latino voters – new and young, Democrats are going to have to get very creative in reaching out to them again.
For starters, it would help to reach out to orgs that really pushed Latino voter registration drives. Collaborate or somehow learn from them in what it takes to not just get people’s attention but maintaining it.
The notion that civic participation only happens around elections must change. There have to be strategies created and implemented, in a bipartisan way, to make civic participation seen as an ongoing exercise with voting as the reward for maintaining that participation.
The bottom line is that if Democrats want to regain their political footing, they have to turn the clock back to 2008, not with the same tools as used back then, but new tools and be cutting-edge all over again. But most of all, Democrats need to talk TO Latino voters, not AT them and most importantly — don’t stop talking.