I always hate writing articles like this, because I don’t like pooh poohing other people’s work. Any effort for the cause is appreciated, and I’ve learned over the years not to look a gift horse in the mouth by critiquing volunteer efforts.
But my skepticism of rallying as a tactic is still alive and well. It’s not that it doesn’t work, but in order for it to work you have to turn out numbers that make politicians stand up and pay attention. For DC, that’s a huge number that have to turn out, and it’s harder to generate numbers in DC than it is in other places. Making a DC rally a success takes a lot of organization and money. If you’re depending on people to get there on their own, you’re probably not going to turn out the numbers needed to really put the scare on lawmakers. Making a rally or march on DC work is a gargantuan effort, and it takes a combination of top down and bottom up organizing if it’s to truly be a success. You can joke all you want about Bloomberg buying a bus and boxed lunches, but that’s how it’s done. The reason Bloomberg’s outfits struggle with rallying is they lack the bottom up component that is necessary for making it successful. Our error has traditionally been assuming that bottom up is all you need. It’s not. It’s a lot of work from the other end too.
So if you’re not about putting out that effort in both directions, the rally is an exercise in growing your list. That could be important, especially in the battles ahead both internal and external. But even if list growth is the goal, is a DC rally really the thing to accomplish that? That’s the big daddy. You need a lot of organization and money, and November 2 is awful close.