If Montgomery County Democrats want to substantially increase their turnout in the 2018 election, they are going to have to reach out to Democratic non-voters who are disproportionately young, Latino, African American, low income and who live far from the party’s traditional Downcounty strongholds.
How can that be done?
First, this is not a job that can be entrusted to candidates alone. Candidates are in the business of winning elections, and for them, that means targeting regular voters. That’s perfectly understandable. Asking candidates to do things that don’t maximize their chances to win is a non-starter. So this is a job for the party.
Montgomery County’s Democratic Party is in some ways the envy of the rest of the state. It is large and well-financed. It can draw on lots of volunteers and activists, many of whom have substantial campaign experience. It has a system of precinct officials that most county parties don’t have. But in recent years, it has presided over declining turnout. Like any organization, even successful ones, the party can improve. Here’s how.