Conference Call with Democracy For America Members

November 3, 2004

On Wednesday evening, Governor Dean held two conference calls with Meetups around the country. The following is an edited transcript of the 8:00 pm call.

Howard Dean: Thank you everyone for getting on the call. Today there was some bad news from the national point of view and we would like to thank the Kerry/Edwards campaign for fighting in this tough race. This wasn't about what we did wrong, but what they did very well. But we've had some good news at the grassroots level, like in Colorado where Suzanne Williams won a state Senate seat.

John Lynch and Brian Schweitzer both became governors in New Hampshire and Montana respectively. Lori Saldaña won her seat in San Diego. And Peter Buckley and Tom Potter both won in Oregon.

These are real victories that happened because of the work that we did. We will start from where we began and keep fighting. We can lick our wounds until Friday.

Democracy for America groups around the country did their jobs this election. Even the candidates who lost had great races, like Samara Barend in New York and Richard Morrison coming within 10 points of Tom DeLay. We'll grieve, lick our wounds then come back fighting for what we believe in.

Thank you all, it's been a long, tough two years. We are all fighting for a better country and we need to take a look at why we didn't do better. We got out the vote and had excellent turnout. They just did better. But we never want to stoop to their level.

While this was a tough night for the Democratic Party at the national level, signs are good at the local level. We need your help to keep up this momentum—we don't want to lose it again. Invite your friends and family to join Democracy for America. In the next few months, we'll be building a new foundation. I want to again, thank you very much. I am mad, but not discouraged. One day, sooner rather than later, we'll take our country back.


Rochester, NY Meetup: Samara Barend's workers thank you, Governor Dean, for your efforts. She won Monroe County by 11 points. Given the negative publicity of Diebold and the discrepancy between exit polls and real totals, what was the hurry in conceding the race?
HD: Actually, Ohio only uses Diebold machines in 4 counties. We were successful in our efforts to stop them from becoming more widespread, so they didn't use them. They are used in Florida, but not Ohio.

Democracy for NYC: We have 75 people here tonight! How do we take control of the DNC?
HD: The DNC is at a crossroads. They have questions to ask themselves.

Democracy for New Hampshire: Hello, Governor Dean. We were successful in 6 out of the 13 races that we endorsed. Going forward, do you want us to work from within the party or remain on the outside during the next 6-12 months?
HD: This depends on your local situation. In your case, in New Hampshire, you have a good relationship with the local party. Other states may not. The local DFA group can be useful as an adjunct to the local party, yet still independent.

Democracy for Texas (Austin): In Austin, we have registered almost 80,000 new voters, increased the democratic margin by 12 percentage points over 2000, picked up one house seat, one constable seat and one judgeship. If we can mobilize the grassroots, then DFA groups can do this all over the country. But as long as we write off races in the red states, we'll never change their outcome. How can we get nominees to take winning red states seriously?
HD: We need to make sure—you saw me do this in my campaign—that the next presidential campaign goes to all of the sates, not just those where we think we can win electoral votes. This is particularly true for races like city council. Our turnout could be enough to win a few races.

Democracy for Iowa: We're here to continue to help, we appreciate what DFA has done for candidates in Iowa. Our idea is to have an anti-inauguration event on Thursday, January 20th—a large activist event and we hope others consider doing this.
HD: Thank you.

Portland, Maine Meetup: We have over 30 enthusiastic folks here tonight. We did great work yesterday, and retained our majority in the House and Senate, won tough races and kept all 4 electoral votes. We went from battleground to true blue, Bush worked hard to earn that vote and we didn't let him have it. It is our goal to keep DFA networks alive and help our folks find their niche.
HD: Maine is a special place, you continue to keep that network together! People are exhausted, but we'll be emailing just to keep talking. We're going into a critical time when people are tempted to drop off, but we need to be thinking of two years from now and four years from now.

Portland, Maine Meetup: What do you plan for yourself, going forward?
HD: Democracy for America! This organization has great grassroots all over the country that are dynamic, loyal and quick to act.

Portland, Maine Meetup: Can we organize around blocking Supreme Court nominations with our national network?
HD: It's good to act in conjunction with other groups, but we can't just decide to block a nomination without knowing much about the person. We hope to use the DFA network as a resource for a lot of action.

New Hampshire Meetup: Tell us about your anticipated travel schedule over the next 3 months. Are you still traveling?
HD: I don't have my schedule in front of me, but I know there are upcoming visits to California, New York, Dartmouth, Detroit and Austin. During the holiday months I won't be traveling as much as before, but everywhere I go, meeting with DFA folks is a priority.

Democracy for NYC: Some say we lost this election on values. How we can change that?
HD: Out party does have values, but we don't generally talk about them. Values like standing up for people who need help. Republicans always bring up gay rights and abortion, but they never bring up doing for things for people outside the mainstream, the poor and disenfranchised.

HD: Thank you all very much, I really appreciate it. This has been a tough two years. Get a little rest and go out and keep trying!

Posted by Tara Liloia at 12:46 AM

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Originally posted on Blog For America.



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