Over the past two years, I have written literally thousands of political postcards. I've written to politicians. And I've written to voters, all over the country. My friends have been collecting vintage postcards for me, which has added to my pleasure in this endeavor.
In the weeks before the midterm elections, I travelled up to Nevada with a group of volunteers from Indivisible East Bay to work with Issue Voters of Northern Nevada. Nevada is an unusual state, in that the voters are equally divided, with one third being republican, one third being democratic, and one third being registered with another party. Our campaign sought to activate these non-partisan voters, and get them to vote.
Over the past year, these two groups of volunteers contacted non-partisan voters, to find out which issues they cared about the most. This approach, known as Deep Canvassing, wasn't about promoting a particular cause or candidate. It was about helping the voters find candidates who aligned with their values.
With the insights gained from hours of conversations, Issue Voters of Northern Nevada created simple handouts that showed the actual voting records on the particular issues that Nevadans mentioned again and again. They also made easy-to-understand documents, explaining the complicated propositions on the state ballot. They sought to help voters draw their own conclusions about which candidates and issues would best represent their values.
And then an army of volunteers hit the streets of Nevada. We knocked on thousands of doors, and spoke with huge numbers of registered non-partisan voters. We asked them if they had questions about the election, and let them lead the discussion. We respected their independence, and never told them who to vote for.
Of course, we hoped they'd vote for the progressive candidates and issues. But we knew these voters had to make their own decisions. It was a huge gamble.
In the end, the gamble paid off.
In the end, an even number of democrats and republicans voted in the mid-term elections, each casting 44% of the votes. It was the non-partisan voters who decided the election.
Nevada was the one state (so far -- come on Arizona!) to flip a Senate seat from red to blue. Jacky Rosen beat the incumbent senator, bringing the number of women in the US Senate up to 24. Furthermore, Nevadans elected Steve Sisolak as their governor, defeating a dangerous far-right candidate.
Participating in this effort with such wonderful people has been a truly gratifying experience. I may be just one little snowflake, but I was part of a vast blizzard. I may have been just a tiny drop in the ocean, but I was part of a steady blue wave.