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Democrats & Progressives need to play defense and bring people back to the democracy table.
Some election takeaways, short news round-up, and upcoming events
I know the elections didn’t go in our favor, but let this loss serve as a catalyst. When Trump was re-elected in 2016, I was disappointed — as I’m sure most of you were — but it was the reason why I got so heavily involved in local politics and eventually put me on the path of running for Tallahassee City Commission.
Apathy serves us no use. Turn whatever you’re feeling into passion instead. Passion and love are going to keep us engaged in the fight for accountability, transparency, and justice. Let’s buckle down and continue to push for change, despite the victories of the Mayor and DeSantis.
⬇️ Scroll down for a short round-up on local news, upcoming events, and mini-takes on the election.
🗳 Election Takeaways: The ball is in their court. Democrats & Progressives need to play defense and bring people back to the democracy table.
The Republicans secured a supermajority in the State Legislature and Mayor Dailey’s win will continue the 3-2 majority on the City Commission. This matters because pivotal issues, like abortion rights and gun violence, will be decided by one side that has most or all of the power.
Nationally, the youth vote has been hailed as the key to Democratic successes in the midterms, but unfortunately, we didn’t see that in Tallahassee. FAMU’s voter turnout was 35% this election, almost 25% lower than it was in 2018.
The Florida Democratic Party is receiving critique, and rightfully so, for their poor performance in the midterms. This is the first time since post-Civil War Reconstruction that both U.S. Senate seats, the entire Cabinet and Governor’s office will be in GOP hands.
Critics are blaming this massive loss on the Dem’s poor strategy, messaging, candidate choice, and lack of voter engagement/excitement. The Democrats, and Progressives, will continue to lose ground if leadership continues its unwillingness to pass the baton & listen (or at least fund) the people who actually do the work.
But there were some wins!
Rep. Anna Eskamani (District 47 in Orange County) easily won her re-election bid and a long-time Louisiana Public Service Commissioner, Lambert Boissiere, was pushed to an unlikely runoff by a progressive challenger, Davante Lewis.
Reminder: This was the first post-COVID general election. We can’t ignore COVID-driven population shift, rising working-class fatigue, and incivility. These factors played a role in the election, as we’ve seen locally:
2018 - Dem +27.7%, 2022 - Dem +15.0%
Note: this map is a work in progress/preliminary
If things don’t change, we’ll see Tallahassee-Leon County trend red because there’s no appetite for the “voiceless” to participate in our elections or help reshape our democracy.
🗳 Good news: An Ohio City paid $800K to wipe out almost $200M of medical debt for its 300,000 residents
This week, Toledo City Council approved $800,000 to purchase the medical debt of Toledoans, creating roughly $160-240 million in debt relief. This relief was funded from the American Rescue Plan Act, President Joe Biden’s economic plan geared toward providing emergency funding and relief for those recovering from the pandemic.
This is the change we need in Tallahassee. And is something that could happen, but not without fighting for it. Tallahassee received $42M in ARPA funds and 0% went towards debt relief, despite my summer-long campaign to make that happen. If other Commissioners are able to deliver results for their residents, we have to continue to push our Commissioners to do the same.
🐍🏹 Voter turnout on college campuses rose to over 30%, thanks to the help of our mini digital campaign to boost voter turnout.
Last week, I was working with a former campaign member, Zion Lampley, to increase voter turnout on college campuses. The easiest thing we could think of was posting daily voter turnout reports to start conversation and raise awareness. It worked!
On November 1st, voter turnout was at 6.42%. On Election Day, it was 34.73%.
We got HUNDREDS of shares, mentions, and even got reposted on a top Instagram account. We also received an indirect mention in the Tallahassee Democrat. A student said, “the reason why I decided to do early voting was specifically because I saw that the voting numbers on FAMU’s campus were low”.
Below is just a sample of the engagement we received:
We did this without any funding, without any help from the Democratic Party or local Progressive leaders, and with very few resources. We relied on our friends on social media to share information and keep up the conversation.
The biggest thing we learned during this short campaign is:
Students won’t vote unless they understand the importance. While canvassing students, students said they don’t just want to hear “go vote”, they want a face-to-face forum of people.
Political & civic engagement groups are not talking to college students enough, especially outside of election season. Their presence has disappeared on campus. That was NOT the case when I was a student. We have to maintain a connection between the college campuses and the greater community. Students have been & will continue to be the path forward.
📄 November 9th City Commission Meeting
Notes coming soon. But here’s a transcription. We’re going to try to send out a meeting summary by Wednesday. If you’d like to help, let me know!
November 12 - FAMUly Roots Festival, 1pm - 6:30pm
November 14 thru 18 - Tallahassee Startup Week
November 15, 11am - Grand Opening of Lafayette Gardens, a truly affordable housing complex in Tallahassee
As I mentioned last week, I’ll be spending more time trying to get Open Tallahassee off the ground. It’ll be a data-driven digital publication, focusing on real, local issues, reported on by citizen journalists.
If you are interested in joining this effort, either by writing, consolidating/tracking news, or sharing your perspective on local issues/politics, please let me know! I’ll be planning an interest meeting in the coming weeks.
Enjoy your weekend and stay safe!
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