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The Missouri Democratic Party is doing the right thing about organizing statewide. It has launched what it calls a Neighborhood Leader program, which it hopes will expand exponentially in the next few months–from the 400 participants already enlisted as of the state convention three weeks ago to 1,000 participants as of June 1st (we’re looking that date in the face on Sunday) to 3,000 participants by September 1st and 5,000 participants by October 1st.

Neighborhood Leaders will be  given a list of fifty Democrats in their immediate area to call and invite to a community gathering. At that gathering, a representative from the state party will speak, urging those who have shown up to consider becoming a leader themselves.

Leaders will also be given a list of 100 voters in their vicinity and asked to knock on those doors and ID the party preference of the residents.  

This kind of organization should, ideally, have been going on for years, but at least Democrats are finally catching on. If the party reaches that 5,000 goal and most of the leaders do their job, a lot of good things will happen for Democratic candidates.

The information from the Missouri database that results from all that doorknocking will be available to any candidate not in a contested primary or to any incumbent. It will save candidates money by helping them target their mailings. They won’t waste money on mailers to strong Republicans, and they’ll send little or no mail to yellow dog Democrats.

The information can be used to get out the vote and after the election, as well, to organize grassroots pushes to influence legislators.

This kind of program is the way politics should be done: the trust relationship between neighbors and friends is more powerful than TV ads–not to mention cheaper. And the less money we’re required to spend, the less our candidates are likely to be beholden to corporate largess.

The DNC has its own organizing tool, as I wrote last February, and as far as I can see, there’s going to be some overlap–and thus some wasted effort. The DNC tool will be available only to candidates for federal office, but the same voter ID info would be useful both for state and federal candidates. In future, let’s hope for more coordination.

Anyway, the state party is doing what it needs to, and if you want to help, here’s where to go.