Ground Truth by Eric Keller
In the Army, there is an intense interest in knowing what is out there. This is why scouts were invented, to determine exactly what lies ahead and how hard will it be to get there. This means scouts give commanders what we call, "the ground truth". They try to determine what obstacles exist, what forces are there, in what array, and how strong they are, so they can report the ground truth and the commander can determine how to win the battle.
First, the hard ground truth in Anderson County. The last off-cycle election for State House Representative was 2014 where John Ragan ran unopposed to win the seat. He raised (in 2017 dollars) $103,105 which he did not need after beating his primary opponent. In 2016, Anderson County had 29,866 total voters. Donald Trump received 19,201 votes and Hillary Clinton received 9,010 votes with Trump winning 64% of the total vote. We can assume that a presidential election year will turn out about 30,000 voters. On an off-cycle year, like 2018, we can assume the voter turn out will be much less. In fact, 17,757 voted for the governor's race with the Republicans getting 75% of the vote.
This is hard. You are the commander equivalent in terms of your vote and your political resources. Your political resources are time and money. As any good commander would do, you want to put them in a winning battle. Otherwise, you would not engage. So, I have told you some ground truth. But there is more to come.
This is also ground truth in Anderson County. The Anderson County Democratic Party more than doubled its membership since Donald Trump was elected, almost tripled it. The various Anderson County Women's March Huddle groups and Indivisible groups are still active as they begin ramping up for the fall. People in Anderson County now realize how precious healthcare access is and how the Affordable Healthcare Act worked better than the Republicans claimed.
There is an undeniable energy for Democratic ideas. Radio ads are sent every working day to the folks in the county. Phone calls are made to encourage members. Listening groups are created to hear about the concerns of the people all around the county. New technology allows us to better understand our county and to better serve the people here. We are on the move.
The math is simple. We need 50.1% of the vote to win in any particular election in Anderson County; whether the race is for County Mayor or for Federal House of Representatives, that is what we need. Trump's administration madness in destroying healthcare, the environment, and a just economy combined with the Democratic ideas of racial equality, healthcare for all, and economic justice will give us at least 50.1% if we pull together and deploy our political resources.