California is the better part of “the left coast”, and what the rest of the country envisions as its own liberal utopia, with the rare conservative ducking behind a slice of avocado toast. When one thinks of how to forward the ideals of the Democratic party, the “land of sunshine and opportunity” is sometimes considered a given, overlooked like the forgotten middle child. Poor Jan.
But in the last year, one of the more nefarious characters in our newfound Trumpian reality show has emerged – Congressman Devin Nunes. The race between Nunes and his Democratic opponent Andrew Janz in the 22nd district has been heating up and bringing attention to the other reds in the golden state. This is only one of 14 congressional districts in California currently held by Republicans.
An organization called Flip the 14 was formed to promote Democratic candidates running for Congress in many of these 14 currently Republican-held districts. Flip the 14 has a comprehensive, pragmatic, action-based approach to achieving their goal. They are urging Democrats to reach out to their friends and family in person, and they emphasize the effectiveness of these methods over feel-good internet activism.
Flip The 14 offers hands-on support for those wanting to participate, with a user-friendly platform to effect change on a local level. They offer resources, scripts and practical methods to spread the message. Text banking, phone banking, postcarding, canvassing, and house parties are some of the strategies supported by Flip The 14. An explanation of these methods and how Flip the 14 can help facilitate their execution can be found on their website (www.flipthe14.com).
The organization held an event earlier this week at a location in downtown Los Angeles called The Edison. Opened in 2008, this venue was transformed by the brilliant Barbara Jacobs and team into a vibey hotspot, reminiscent of an upscale 1920s jazz club. A century ago, these underground societies were havens for the liberals of the day fighting for personal freedoms – an apt setting indeed for the Flip The 14 event. Speakers included comedienne Julianne Simitz, campaign manager Doug Linney, radio host Stephanie Miller, and Democratic crusader, attorney Michael Avenatti.
Stephanie Miller and Michael Avenatti shared a similar message. The Democratic party needs to fight harder and smarter, having made concessions in the past which have cost the party dearly. Both speakers were received warmly by the crowd who seemed to agree with their assessment and suggestion for a stronger, more vocal presence. The highlight of the evening was Avenatti’s speech about Democratic values and the ideals which bind the party. Most of these beliefs were once just good ole’ American values. Avenatti’s motto, “Make America America Again” reflects this precisely.
Avenatti spoke about how the Democratic party is divided not by values, but by strategy. What most resonated with the crowd was when he questioned whether those most vulnerable could afford for us to fight for them in a gentle manner. He also warned against underestimating the enemy and “Bringing nail clippers to a gunfight”. The audience was on board Avenatti’s general message about stepping up the fight: “When they go low, we hit harder”.
The overall directive of the evening was cohesive and clear, and the attendees seemed engaged and inspired. Democrats are simplifying their messaging and shining a light on how these issues affect their local constituents. This is attracting many political newcomers, new voters, and first-time activists. Trying times can be galvanizing, and with more at stake than ever, the Democratic party is ripe for rebirth. We won’t forget about you California.
The following congressional districts are held by Republicans, and all but four are currently being challenged by Democratic candidates:
(CA-01) Doug LaMalfa (R) vs. Audrey Denney (D)
(CA-04) Tom McClintock (R) vs. Jessica Morse (D)
(CA-08) Paul Cook (R) vs. Tim Donnelly (D)
(CA-10) Jeff Denham (R) vs. Josh Harder (D)
(CA-21) David Valadao (R) vs. TJ Cox (D)
(CA-22) Devin Nunes (R) vs. Andrew Janz (D)
(CA-23) Kevin McCarthy (R) vs. Tatiana Matta (D)
(CA-25) Steve Knight (R) vs. Katie Hill (D)
(CA-39) Ed Royce (R)
(CA-42) Ken Calvert (R) vs. Julia Peacock (D)
(CA-45) Mimi Walters (R) vs. Katie Porter (D)
(CA-48) Dana Rohrabacher (R) vs. Harley Rouda (D)
(CA-49) Darrell Issa (R)
(CA-50) Duncan Hunter (R) vs. Ammar Campa-Najjar (D)
To donate or for more information on the Flip the 14 organization, goals, and tools, please visit their website: www.flipthe14.com