Calling your Congressperson: Why it matters

By Executive Director Ryan Thornton

People almost constantly tell you to call Congress, be it a UC Dems Facebook post, or President Trump telling people to call their representatives. But, the question most people (including myself) ask is why does it matter. But, after half of a summer interning with Senator Tammy Duckworth, I can explain both what happens when you call and why it matters. What happens: When you call a representative’s office, you will pretty much all the time be speaking to an intern. These interns will listen to your opinion, ask for some combination of address, zip code, and name, and then copy down your opinion or mark it down on a tally sheet (or sometimes both). What is important to remember is that they are interns, so they honestly won’t be able to answer any of your very narrow policy questions nor does it matter whether all you say is, “Oppose Trumpcare” versus a ten-minute spiel. The interns will duly take down your opinion (so long as you are a constituent) and add to the tally, so make their lives easier by keeping it short and sweet.

Why it matters: This may seem somewhat pointless; if all I am talking to is an intern where I am just a number on a sheet, why bother. The answer is that with every number, the representative knows that that person isn’t just one constituent, but someone who cares enough about politics to call (and therefore vote) and also someone who takes the time to call so their vote could possibly be won. This is the reason why so many senators have come out against many of the failed Trumpcare plans, and why Senator Duckworth starts out her week by looking at the previous weeks call numbers. So although you may be a tally on a sheet, the effects you have on policy and on representatives votes can be great.

DNC Still Taking It’s Sweet Time to Learn Something

The pitiful wisdom of 442 DNC delegates was on full display this past weekend, as a majority of Democratic operatives and officials voted down a corporate money ban that would have reinstated former President Barack Obama’s 2008 ban corporate PAC money donations to the DNC – his pledge to return the party back to the people instead of corporate interests. You can thank former DNC Chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz for quietly lifting the ban back in February 2016, allowing lobbyists and corporate PACs to continue fanning the flames of neoliberalism. Thanks, Debbie. Read more

This is Why We Can’t Have Nice Things

Imagine a world where after a contentious primary season, and a devastating general election, the Establishment and the populist wing of the party had agreed on a candidate for the party’s figurehead going forward. Congressional leaders endorsed this candidate, along with over 750,000 proud Democrats. Labor got behind them. The Democratic Party was united, tanned, rested, and ready to rebuild and take back Congress in 2018. Read more

The DNC Chair “Election” Doesn’t Matter But Thanks for Your Concern

I worked for the Office of the Chairwoman at the Democratic National Committee, and there really wasn’t much to do during my time there. Compiling daily clips was a consistent task that may have just been busywork, and I had a desk right next to the offices of the CEO, Chairwoman and other important people. While the office was understandably mired in, well let’s call it controversy, it was still the office of the Chair who would, at least in theory  manage the efforts and direction of the Democratic Party on all levels. The position of Chairwoman or Chairman of the Democratic National Committee has been distorted and disproportionately propagandized by the media to be some lofty or powerful office with real control and leeway. The reality, at least from the perspective of an intern for that very office, is quite different. Read more