(’76 Editor) My column yesterday, two posts below this one, didn’t have room for several important quotes from sources I talked to. I will add them here. First, as a valuable reference, don’t miss Isaac Smith’s comprehensive bibliography of published material about the Colorado Democracy Alliance and related groups. It’s a sort of election transparency primer, which Smith has authorized Centennial Institute to release for the first time. Election Transparency – A Primer
Naturally I approached Adam Schrager and Rob Witwer, since they literally wrote the book on this whole thing. Schrager declined to comment for the record, other than referring me to a buzz in the left blogosphere last month about what is being called “the Western Firewall,” a Democrat–saving difference from the Rockies to the Pacific. But when I put this question to Witwer—“How did the 2010 election results verify or modify your analysis of new political realities as presented in The Blueprint”?—he replied as follows:
The 2010 elections show that all the advertising in the world doesn’t add up to much if the infrastructure isn’t there to support it. Campaign finance reform all but killed political parties, and the infrastructure they once provided is now being outsourced to nonprofit organizations. Colorado Democrats figured that out earlier, and have implemented it more effectively, than their GOP counterparts.
Here in Colorado, Democrats withstood the national tidal wave and saved the top two prizes: the U.S. Senate and Governor’s seats. They also held on to their majority in the state Senate. 2010 was never going to be a good year for Colorado Democrats, but with superior infrastructure and a relentless ground game, they minimized their losses—and pulled off an upset or two in the process.
To win in the twenty–first century, you need a thriving network of nonprofits to build the kind of infrastructure necessary to sustain a succesful political movement.
All the TV ads in the world won’t help if your side doesn’t have a political infrastructure in place. TV just isn’t enough anymore, and heavy spending on ads quickly reaches the point of diminishing returns. To win, you need a network of coordinated groups to provide a social media presence, thorough opposition research, a campaign of non–stop pressure on the mainstream media, databases full of detailed information on voters, and an army of door–to–door vote–getters.
On the CoDA side, mastermind Mike Huttner would not go on record either, asking me to work instead with Kjersten Forseth, who recently took over for him as interim executive director of ProgressNow Colorado, the granddaddy of all infrastructure groups. I’ll quote my exact query as put to her by phone and then by email, to show how specific I was inviting her to be—and then her admirably robotic, terse and utterly uninformative reply. These people are drilled!
Andrews: On page 208 of “The Blueprint” by Schrager and Witwer, they quote Mike Huttner as saying: ‘I believe Colorado’s progressive infrastructure will work as a buttress