|As per yesterday, my questions are in bold and underlined. The rest is Hinojosa's own words. I've added some bold for emphasis. I can't say this enough -- I really appreciate Judge Hinojosa taking the time to talk with BOR so extensively.
As chair, how would you address field organizing from the state party level?
"What I think needs to happen is that the state needs to develop a permanent structure of training trainers across the state in Texas, and has to make that part of what we do every day.
Let me give you an example. I was in San Marcos, where the SDEC members invited a bunch of people for a really good training session on VAN and some other field organizing issues. Two very good SDEC members -- JC Dufresne and Jackie Soliz-Chapa -- put together this training session, and it was very helpful for the people out there. We have to put together a training program for our field efforts that is developed by the party and used in each of our Senatorial districts. It needs to be an ongoing process all year long, every year, not just two months out from the election.
Dallas County followed a five touch program in the last election cycle. Despite the Tea Party tsunami, in Dallas County they won every countywide election. They lost State Rep seats, but they won County Judge, and won every single judicial race because they used a system of contacting the base five times with a combination of door-to-door contacts and phone calls. Yes, it's a lot of work. Yes, it costs money. But, it produces results. And if you run coordinated campaigns, then those campaigns can take money raised by individual candidates and stretch it out. You're able to make more contacts, and reach people in an effective way.
I was in Castroville recently. They have, in Castroville and Medina County, not a single Democratic elected official. Not one JP, not one Constable, not one County Commissioner. Over 50% of the population of Medina County is Hispanic. However, there was no strategy for turning out the Hispanic vote there. No one helped the local Democratic party do that. They want to work, they're motivated. Medina County alone has 70,000 people, but there are are 150 Medina Counties out there, and when you add it up, instead of losing our elections in Medina County 75%-25%, we might not be able to win all of the elections, but we can drop those margins down to 60%-40%, and when you add that up we can start winning statewide elections.
This is one of the big questions, how do we turn out the Hispanic vote? We did it in parts of Texas, like Dallas County. We did it in Colorado. We did it in Nevada when we saved Harry Reid's ass when he ran this last time around -- because we got the Latino community engaged. The party, in developing their field strategies, has to put all of these things together. Regional training programs. Ways to assist communities in turning out the Hispanic vote. Focusing on the Asian-American vote, because they want to get involved and become a major part of the party.
One thing I'm not naive about is that it's a massive effort and it requires a whole bunch of work. It's going to require a lot of change. But we're getting our butts kicked, and we need to make a decision that we will either continue to allow that to happen, or else we need to start looking at things differently.
There's one other thing that I think is a big problem: our message. We're so afraid of alienating the "Independent" voter that we haven't spoken about the issues that are important to our base. In the state of Texas, I believe that a large percentage of the people who call themselves "Independents" are actually Republicans. We're not going to persuade them in our direction. Let's message to our folks instead. Our folks want to hear things like 'Republicans cut public education by $4 billion dollars. Let me show you how it affects your kids. This is what it does to our classrooms.' Let's talk about what our traditional American values are: we believe that the key to freedom is education. The Tea Party has cut public education by $4 billion dollars. They're ensuring that we are not free, because we don't have the opportunities to pursue all that America offers us.
We need to be messaging to our base, in a strong, frank manner, and not be afraid that we're going to tick somebody off because we've said some tough things about Rick Perry and Greg Abbott. I mean, how often do we blast Greg Abbott, where we tell people what he's all about as the Attorney General of the State of Texas? All of the Republicans who run this state have made a devastating mess of government. Texas deserves better than the mess these clowns have provided for us over the last twenty years. The messaging must be strong, tough, no holds barred. And if people get angry about it, well this is hardball Texas politics."
One of your biggest challenges is going to be money. To do these things -- these are great plans and really important things that we need to do -- that's going to take staff, and staff costs money. Tell me about your fundraising experience and what you think we can do to fund a legitimate statewide organization.
"Fundraising should have a strategy to it. I see fundraising in Texas as having three parts: fundraising from large donors, party events, and recurring online donations. When you fundraise to the small donors, you need to figure out a way to encourage the small donor to want to give on a regular basis, because they see their money is going to produce results."
[During this part of our interview, Hinojosa spoke extensively about the need to engage in list-building activities, and the importance of sharing a message that the base wants to hear in order to increase majority builders. He noted the effectiveness of NPR's fundraising push that equates the quality of the programming to the ask to supporters to give $10 to keep it going. He made clear that not every email should ask for money, and that the base has to first be inspired before they'll open their wallets. I will spare everyone the detailed explanation, but it's clear that he knows what techniques we need to pursue to develop the party's ability to communicate with the base, and eventually convert them into small-dollar recurring donors.]
"I don't think donors want to donate to keep the lights on. Donors want to donate for specific projects, and see an end result. Put together something concrete, put a price tag on it, and go to donors and say, 'Ok. This is what we want to do, this the money we need, this is exactly what it will be used for, can you help.'
You go to an business investor, ask for $100,000 for your business, the investor's going to say, 'show me how it's going to make money.' He's not going to give you money to keep the lights on in your business, he's going to give you money if he sees that business is going to grow and produce a return on his investment. Donors are the same way. They're not giving because they want to throw their money away. Donors are giving because they want to see structural political change in this state. If they don't see that end result in your plan, they're not going to want to give."
More tomorrow. To read part one of our interview, click here. To read part three of our interview, click here.