1. How did you participate in this election?
I worked hard for John Kerry by volunteering in July, doing database work and helping out at several rallies. On election day, I was a poll watcher for MoveOn.org.
I gave several hundred dollars to Democratic candidates and progressive 527s this year.
I created a number of Web sites, including:
I voted and made sure my husband and daughter did, too (my husband always votes, but this was the first time our 24 year old daughter had voted in a federal election).
2. Is this the first time you participated in election activism?
No. I worked for a moderate Republican Congressional candidate in Massachusetts in 1974 (who was doing well until Nixon resigned) and for a Democratic state rep candidate in Pennsylvania in 1996 (who also lost).
I also worked some for Clinton in 1996. I would have worked for Clinton in 1992 and for Gore in 2000 if I'd had the time.
I've been giving money, almost always to Democratic candidates, since about 1984, but usually no more than $100 total over the course of the year. When I lived in Massachusetts I donated to Kerry's campaign so I've been on his mailing list for a very long time!
3. How would you like to continue to stay involved? (Volunteering, phonebanking, fundraising, local organizing, etc.)
I will keep up with Web sites. In the wee hours of November 4, I bought the domain http://www.dumprick.com, a Web site dedicated to seeing Rick Santorum be defeated in 2006. I'll also keep the "facts" Web sites updated.
I'm going to attend local meetings of Democracy for America in Pittsburgh.
I've volunteered to Americans United for Separation of Church and State to look into starting a Pittsburgh local chapter.
I'm willing to do work for the Democratic party. I'm a registered Independent, but am considering switching to the Democratic party given my general disgust at the behavior of the current Republican party.
I would like to try to get activist groups to rethink their use of databases. It's 2004 - we should be using databases much more smartly than I generally saw us using databases. I did like Bottled Lightning very much and thought it was an effective tool.
I would also like to work with people to make sure that elections are fairly run. There are still some outstanding issues that we should continue to publicize (not enough voting machines in some areas, voter intimidation, et.c.).
4. Did you feel the actions you took were effective?
Up to a point. My town, which usually goes Republican, voted for Kerry by 1,000 votes.
5. Was it a good experience for you?
Mostly, yes. I met some terrific activists working for Kerry and working for MoveOn. I'd work for Kristina Petronka, Jonathan Lyons and Lindsay Patross any time!
Of course, the outcome was a disappointment...
6. How would you make it better?
Use databases, telephone banking and mailings more intelligently.
7. Please share other thoughts and comments you have about the 2004 election and what Democrats and the Democratic Party should do going forward.
Resist the temptation to become Republicans. I always thought Clinton had a great vision of the party - responsible government and personal responsibility.
The Republicans used to always say that the Democrats were the "tax and spend" party. However the Republicans are, more dangerously, the "spend and spend" party. The Democrats have to resist the temptation to play the "we won't tax you either" game. Instead, Democrats should talk a lot more about responsible government and taxation.
Still promote progressive ideas - health care in the richest country in the world should be more available to the working poor. Discrimination against any group is evil. Science is more important than superstition - we can only continue to be the most advanced country in the world if we promote advanced ideas.