Arlington County Democratic Committee chairman Steve Baker on Aug. 3 issued an “all-hands-on-deck” call for members of the rank-and-file to get involved as volunteers in the Nov. 8 election.
His request came during a meeting in which local Democrats seemed to be coming to grips with concerns that the party at the national level may be losing its mojo with several key constituencies.
But that is unlikely to matter in the local races on the Arlington ballot, where Democrats effectively are assured another night of solid victories despite contested races for County Board, School Board and 8th District U.S. House of Representatives.
Still, Baker was taking no chances.
“It’s never too early to start planning,” the party chair noted, putting out a call to fully staff up the 800 volunteer slots needed at the polls on Nov. 8.
Unlike Arlington’s other, smaller political parties, Democrats have the organizational oomph to have poll-greeters on hand at every precinct throughout Election Day, while also maintaining a major presence during early-voting opportunities that lead up to it.
At the Aug. 3 meeting, Democrats announced goals to meet or surpass past efforts in a number of areas:
• The party plans to use volunteer efforts to knock on 15,000 doors in the county, supporting the party’s candidates.
• Democrats aim to surpass the $23,656 brought in during 2021’s “Dollars for Democrats” mailer, which will go out after Labor Day to regular supporters.
• The party is starting to recruit volunteers to distribute the Democratic Messenger, a pre-election newspaper-style publication that is hand-delivered to roughly 60,000 homes in the county in September.
During the Aug. 3 meeting, party members heard an at-times downbeat report on the national Democratic Party’s challenges, particularly with the younger electorate and voters of color, with one presentation slide voicing concerns that Republicans “are quietly building a multi-racial coalition of working-close voters” while Democrats are increasingly seen by lower-income voters as elitist and focused on issues disconnected from economic concerns in an era of a spiking cost of living.
As a result, the congressional midterm elections could prove “scary” for Democrats at the national level, the report noted, particularly if Latino, African-American and younger voters whom Democrats traditionally rely on either stay home or bolt to the GOP.