I hope Democrats don’t turn themselves inside out over Jon Ossoff’s loss in the Georgia 6th (June 20). While I’m truly sorry he lost, it was an overwhelmingly Republican district, where Tom Price won by 23 points in 2016 and the full disaster of the current Republican policies are not yet felt by most people. When the astonishingly terrible health plan is finally made public and people watch their parents, children, siblings and friends be denied health care, pay more and lose access, and they experience the full horror of President Trump’s foreign policy, decimating the State Department, turning on our allies and generally trashing 70 years of American international leadership, Democrats will win in district after district if they do the ground work that is always necessary to win elections.
In 2016, my state legislative district, Arizona LD 18, flipped from solidly Republican to solidly Democratic. In 2012, the only Democrat to win anything in LD 18 was our Congresswoman Kyrsten Sinema and the man running against Sheriff Joe Arpaio (by one point). In 2016, the only Republican to win in our LD 18 was Sen. John McCain. Hillary Clinton took our district by 12 points; Paul Penzone, for county sheriff (tossing Joe Arpaio) won by 23 points. For the first time in the district’s history, we elected a Democrat for our state senator, Sean Bowie, and we elected a Democrat for state representative for only the second time in the district’s history, Mitzi Epstein. The high margin of votes in our district helped give the County Recorder Adrian Fontes his win in a highly contested and extremely close race.
How did we do it? By a nitty gritty ground game and heartfelt enthusiasm for our candidates, who worked incredibly hard and are excellent. We increased precinct committee people from fewer than 15 to more than 150 (and we now have more than 225). We made literally thousands of phone calls and house-to-house canvassing. We had, for the first time, three separate get-out-the-vote sites covering the entire district for the three weekends before the election and the four days before, including Election Day. I hosted one and had more than 100 people working out of my house (not all at one time, thank God). We also had two young, enthusiastic local staffers and a small group of paid bilingual college students who helped organize and register Hispanic voters. Mostly, though, it was volunteers: More than 900 people volunteered at least one shift and most much more, which were more volunteers than we had ever had before by a factor of eight or nine.
Nothing about the demographics of our district changed between 2012 and 2016. This was simply a result of work and enthusiasm, as well as excellent candidates. And it can be done in other districts.
For my part, I hope Jon Ossoff runs again in 2018, and I hope Democrats all over the country take heart and dig in. The work is hard, but the Republicans are making a mess of the country and I think, with a lot of local work, we can take back the House in 2018.
Mary Logan Rothschild
Women and Gender Studies
Arizona State University
The Israel Scout Friendship Caravan Noga just left the Valley of the Sun. As we look back on the 10-day experience, our board is overwhelmed by the support of this community. One hundred to 118 degree days did not keep the crowds away. Caravan Noga was greatly encouraged by all of you who attended the performances — all 14 of them.
We understand that the Israeli Scouts clamor to be part of the Western Caravan so that they can come to Greater Phoenix.
We thank you Phoenix and hope you will join us at an exciting show in 2018.
Steve and Ellen Rosenbaum
and the Board of AZ Friends of Israel Scouts