Organizing for America launches grassroots 2010 voter drive

The importance of the 2010 mid-term elections, not only to elect or re-elect a local member of Congress or governor, but also to further the progressive direction of the country, is not widely understood. Only a few, most notably the labor movement and its allies, have already drawn up plans for mobilization.

And while the Democratic National Committee, along with the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee and the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (as well as their opposing counterparts on the Republican side), have always sought to increase their number of seats in the House and Senate, there has hardly ever been much of a grassroots push to do so outside of the labor movement.

But Organizing for America aims to change that.

Seeking to build on the momentum of the historic presidential election of 2008, and to counter the alarming increase in extreme-right wing activism since then, especially in the tea party movement, Organizing for America, the grassroots organization allied with President Obama, has launched a national on-the-ground effort to expand the Democratic majority.

The 2010 elections are just as important as the 2008 elections, many say. This fall’s elections will determine whether the country continues to move in a progressive direction, away from the past 30 years of extremist rule. It provides the opportunity to “bring home” the victory against the ultra-right, and knock more Republicans out of Congress. On the other hand, victories by the Republican ultra-right would slam on the brakes and significantly narrow the channels for progressive action.

OFA makes the point that the mid-term elections are crucial. In order to push forward on government action for job creation, labor rights, civil rights, environmental reform and other issues important to working people, the Republicans’ base must be further chipped away – not allowed to grow.

Grassroots organizing by labor and others can increase both the Democrats’ majority and the number of progressives in Congress in November. The OFA offensive enhances that possibility. As has generally been the case, OFA’s current electoral strategy parallels that of labor.

“The grassroots movement that united to elect Barack Obama in 2008 brought millions of new voices into the political process,” OFA says in its 2010 strategy statement, “and provided millions of Americans with new avenues to get engaged and help shape their country’s future.”

The organization vows to “re-connect with these millions of Americans, both young and old.”

These voters could make the difference in the fall elections. Polls that show the Republicans and Democrats neck-and-neck in some places focus only on “likely” voters, meaning that less frequent voters – who are more likely to vote against the ultra-right – are not counted. And non-voters are not counted at all. OFA is also running a voter registration campaign.

“Our work isn’t finished,” President Obama said, in announcing the 2010 campaign project. “Today the health insurance companies, the Wall Street banks and the special interests who have ruled Washington for too long are already focused on November’s Congressional elections. They see these elections as a chance to put their allies back in power and to undo all that we’ve accomplished.”

Obama continued, “In 2010 it’ll be up to each of you to ask folks like Claudia to stay involved, and to explain why this year the stakes are higher than ever. It will be up to each of you to make sure that the young people, African Americans, Latinos and women that powered our victory in 2008 to stand together once again.”

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