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Posts published in “Day: December 21, 2007”

How not to insult your intelligence

We regularly pick up on fundraising letters, often these days by email, and so many of them are depressingly similar: Contribute now or the world as you know it will end. Yeah, this kind of scare stuff must work, but too much of it still represents an insult to most people's intelligence.

However. This morning we got one in a mail from the Jeff Merkley campaign (U.S. Senate, Oregon, Democratic) that reads a little differently. It was structured as a "holiday wish list," and included a list of potential "gifts" donors could give the campaign.

Roll of stamps ($41.00) Mailings are a key way for Team Merkley to notify Oregonians about upcoming events, recruit new volunteers and inform voters about Jeff's message for progressive change. Your gift of $41 buys us a roll of stamps so we can tell others about our campaign. . . .

Computer for new Team Merkley staff ($800) Computers are a critical component for our campaign. Our new staff will need computers to email organizers in Roseburg or develop lists for canvassers in Lincoln City. Donate $800 today to get our new staff equipped with a computer.

New Team Merkley staffer ($2300)
We're building a movement across the state and we're continuing to build a highly talented staff. With your $2300 contribution we can hire an organizer in Bend or a researcher in our Portland HQ.

How about that . . . making the donations practical, showing the specific results of contributing a specific amount. Presumably this approach to fundraising will continue or not depending on whether it works. But you'd think enough partisans will be happy to see this approach, and react accordingly, so that it will.


Richard Stallings

Richard Stallings

The Idaho Democratic Party has its challenges, bigger than any one person; one wag on an Idaho Statesman comment board wrote today, "It's not actually a party. Its kind of a get-together. If it turns into a real party, the Republicronies will have the police break it up."

Former Representative Richard Stallings, who has been party chair for about the last three years, said today that he will resign almost immediately. (That comes only a few days after his resignation from the Pocatello city council, which he said then he was doing so he could devote more time to the party.)

As is the norm with these transitions, there's call for people in the party to consider what to do next, to try to move toward serious competition with the Republicans in what is, at the moment, a blood-red state with a few scattered blue dots. As an provider of candidates for election, it is down: No congressional seats (out of four), no statewide offices (out of seven), nearly all its legislators confined to Boise, Pocatello and the Sun Valley area. And the party itself has not for ages been anything resembling a well-oiled machine; too many of its pieces keep flying apart.

On the other hand, dominance of square mileage isn't especially important in politics - just ask the Republicans in Washington and Oregon who often win most of the counties and the bulk of the geography in their states, only to lose the actual elections. If Democrats in Idaho can figure out how to make inroads into suburbia the way their western counterparts have (Idaho Democrats showed some ability here in within Boise in 2006), they could become more competitive even if they never capture the hearts of Bear Lake, Fremont or Adams counties.

Do they head that way, or get a chance to? The next chair will have a central role in working out a direction.