About 40 people attended “The Future is Blue,” a summit co-hosted by the Denton County Democratic Party on Sunday at the University Union. The event was directed toward interested leaders, volunteers and campaign teams with nearby counties’ party offices to learn what has worked in turning California blue and how to speed up Texas’ turnover, according to the county’s party website.
Eric Bauman, chairman of the California Democratic Party, said while speaking at the event that Texas Democrats should focus on local politics, talk to people about their values and beliefs and know their audiences.
“The thing about ‘blue waves’ is you have to catch them and you have to ride them,” Bauman said. “
Invited guests included Dr. Carla Brailey, the Texas Democratic Party vice chair, Mike Floyd, the Texas Democratic Party Treasurer and Carol Donovan and Deborah Peoples, the chairwomen for the Dallas and Tarrant County Democratic Parties, respectively.
Bauman spoke on his experience in politics in California, then spoke with other invited guests during a Q&A session on getting people involved in off-years, voter registration problems in Texas and making public education a priority.
Bauman, who referred to himself as “hyper-partisan,” spoke passionately to engage the audience on how California became a majority Democratic state in the early 1990s.
He said it was a combination of volunteer work from Democrats and an increase in Latino and Asian demographic during a time when anti-immigration rhetoric was shown on television.
Local candidate Andrew Morris, who is running for representative for Texas House District 64 against incumbent Lynn Stucky, also attended.
“I came because this is my district and to support the event,” Morris said. “[This event] validates what our party is doing.”
One of the key points stressed during the event was communication and follow-up with potential voters. During the Q&A session, Bauman spoke of an experiment he conducted with about 86,000 Latinos in California. Bauman said he wrote down their email addresses and consistently followed up with them on their voter registration progress.
Morris said creating relationships with potential voters, constituents, candidates and the party is a target for the Democratic Party in Denton.
Ira Bershad, the communications director for the Denton County Democratic Party, asked how the party would keep up the current momentum during non-election years. Bauman responded that years with no major elections such as congressional or presidential elections see a lower turnout for Democrats.
“You have to have a long-term game plan and know it won’t happen overnight,” Peoples said. “Make every election count. It’s not just the presidential election [and] gubernatorial [election].”
Bauman and Floyd also said there should be a focus on younger voters. Bauman stressed that there should be a focus on social media, claiming that social media usage was one of the things former president Barack Obama did to win the 2008 election.
At age 18, Floyd became the youngest person to be elected to a state Democratic Party position. Now 19, he also serves on the board of trustees for Pearland Independent School District, south of Houston.
Bauman said it is young leaders like Floyd that are the leaders of today, not tomorrow.
“If we can get college campus’ Democratic clubs talking to other campuses and sharing ideas and stories, and get those campuses resources for events, I think it can help all our candidates,” Floyd said.
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