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October 06, 2007

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Hello from across the room! The state party staff is very appreciative of you and Red State Rebels for liveblogging today!

Thank you for blogging live! I can't wait to read all you have to say.

t

How to engage people under 40? Acknowledge our existence. Don't treat us like crap. Don't make us do all of the crappy volunteer work. Trust us with more by teaching us more.

Engage the College Dems and give them resources to work on their campuses, including money. We know our campuses best and young people listen to other young people, so start with already formed groups, including College Dems and Young Dems groups.

Older people talking about engaging young people won't get you anywhere, older people asking, and then listening, young people will. :)

I am to young to be part of the status quo and to old to be considered a junior Democrat. I would like to respond to J-Dem. Volunteer work is hard work and we are only going to win if we are willing to do the work. This month as a volunteer for the party I have cleaned out a back room to make room for in coming Presidential stuff with two women over the age of 65. These to two women have been working as volunteers for the Dems since the late 60's and frankly, I think they deserve to have the younger generation to step and begin carrying the torch even if its into a dark and dusty store room. I made phone calls to ask other volunteers to come in to help with a mailing then filed for several hours.

So what kind of stuff do you think is good enough for you to get involved?

Money for the College Dems? Great idea but have you ran a campaign before? Have you recruited volunteers before? Have you a college Dem group to join? What do you do that gets candidates elected? These are things that need to be asked and some of them can be answered by the older generation. There is something to be said for experience!

A caucus is a lot of work, especially for a chair. Many legalities are included, national rules, state rules, and then, local county adjustments. Details must be published, rules followed, doors closed at a specific time, delegates selected according to more rules and etc. Details published at specific times. Rule #1, everyone must be signed in by 7pm. and at 7:01 a late arriver is no longer a participant but an observer. Also, ALL media are only observers. But once the caucus begins things become exciting. First, boring rule(s) are presented, followed by names read aloud from pledges then organizing, then the excitement begins. Stump speeches from the reps (and whoever) for each presidential candidate. Attendance percentages tallied for each group based on overall participation and totals determine the first round of caucus perferences. Depending on the size of the county and the willingness to argue into the wee hours of the following day, each presidential representative group may re-group again and again until the x-largest groups elegible for delegates emerge. This is exciting! We argue, persuade, stand our ground, argue, persuade and attempt to meet the percentage quotas (depending on the number of participants) until a few presidential candidate representative groups emerge as victors. Then, delegates are selected, and they're off to the primaries for more of the same.... Democracy in action and you attend and you participate.
P.S. If you remain uncommitted, you can always vote for Gore....

In my experience, young people are plenty engaged on their own. What the leadership needs to do is quit turning them off and to learn how to leverage their talents and energy.

Sara, thanks for live-blogging this! (I am reading this Sunday morning after spending Saturday with visiting family.) A few thoughts:

The house party tally is great! We have more than any other state? Fantastic!

A caucus is a LOT of fun. I can't wait for February 5, especially since Idaho will actually have a SAY (however small) in the nomination this year. The results in Post Falls were similar to those from Ada County, execpt Clinton played a bit better here, tying for second with "uncommitted." Ada is Obama country. I am happy to see he is playing well statewide as well. Again, February 5 may prove to be a verrrry interesting night.

As for the "crappy volunteer work," I completely concur with Kootenai Delegate: that is how the work gets done, and way more young Dems need to step up to the plate to help. (Many hands make light work, it's true.) But I also agree with J-Dem that young Dems need to be taken more seriously. When I left the LaRocco campaign to start my nonpartisan job, I strongly suggested that the TOP qualification for my replacement be someone who knows how to shoot and edit great video and get it online.

That doesn't discount middle-age and older Dems. Serephin (barrely middle age) does great work at this. But it's a skill that I think many more young Dems have, and I'd love to see a bunch of young Dems (who have paid their dues with lots of crappy volunteer work!) land some nice paid positions on campaigns with their multimedia and Web 2.0 skills.

Having done plenty of volunteer work myself, I must say I don't mind the grunt work. In fact the most fun I've had (politically) was going door-to-door with Richard Stallings when he ran for re-election to the Pocatello City Council. It isn't crappy at all, it's what needs to be done, so why not do it? I agree with the Kootenai Delegate--those who have done their time, so to speak, deserve to have us young ones to lean on (step on even).

A couple of weeks ago I took part in a focus group with the Bannock County Democrats and I was the youngest person in the room. It didn't bother me one bit. And even now it doesn't bother me to know that part of the reason I was there was because I don't mind the grunt work. I was happy to be in the company of long time Idaho Democrats like Sallee Gasser (who ran Richard Stallings' many campaigns) who have carried the torch.

As someone of the younger generation of Idaho Democrats, I don't feel at all ignored and find plenty of opportunities to be involved. I also don't think money is the answer to getting people involved. Most of us will do whatever needs to be done for the Party for no cost, just for the pleasure and experience of the task. And, College/Young Democrat organizations everywhere do not encompass ALL young people. We don't all identify with the groups or we don't take part. Assuming that we all do is just as detrimental to finding volunteers as simply not asking for the help.

I've always felt exceedingly welcome as a young(ish) person at events involving Idaho Democrats. In fact, that's really understating the case - most of the people there practically salivate over the young, tender Democratlets when they happen to show up.

Of course, not a lot of them do, and I know that UI doesn't currently have an active chapter of young democrats, and in my 4 years of schooling there and the three since, I've yet to connect with any sort of Democratic (big D) organization on the UI campus. I think there are a lot of reasons kids shy away from local politics - they don't own homes or pay much in the way of taxes, and I suspect a huge amount may be informed and passionate about national politics, few are of local ones. With the lack of visibility of Idaho Democrats on the national stage, it's hard to get the message across that we're here and we're working to make our presence known.

Really, I think that the "small pond" effect should be a selling point: with Idaho's small population and even smaller Democratic party, an 18 year old Democrat in Idaho has a much better chance of having an influence on the thinking of her party or her candidate or becoming a successful candidate herself than any ho-hum young Dem in Massachusetts that doesn't have the last name of Kennedy. This is just as true for young progressives in college as young progressives that never made it to college or don't want to go.

It's great that there are young people who don't mind doing whatever is asked of them, but people such as that don't represent the majority of young people. Young people want to feel important and part of the process. Sure we'll make calls, we'll count votes (the College Dems at ISU did a lot of the grunt work) but treating us as if we are only good enough for the grunt work is the problem. We are much more valuable than that.

Ask US what we want to do instead of assume we are only capable of canvassing, phone banking, and cleaning up.

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