Netroots Nation's to-do list: Get Democrats to polls in November
July 17th, 2014
09:02 AM ET
3 months ago

Netroots Nation's to-do list: Get Democrats to polls in November

(CNN) - The spotlight will shine on the 2014 and 2016 elections as some 3,000 activists from the left gather in Detroit starting Thursday.

That's when the annual Netroots Nation conference, the largest gathering of progressive leaders and activists, kicks off. And two of the Democratic Party's biggest stars - Vice President Joe Biden and freshman Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts - will give keynote addresses.

While the 2016 race for the White House will be a topic of discussion in dozens of panel discussions, the more immediate concern is this November's midterm elections and Democrats trying to hold onto control of the Senate.

The smaller, typical midterm electorate traditionally favors the Republican Party because single women and younger and minority voters - big supporters of Democrats in presidential election years - tend to cast ballots in smaller numbers in the midterms.

Putting a strategy together to motivate those on the left to show up at the polls come November is on the to-do list at the Detroit gathering.

"A large number of people at our conference are the people that are going to be knocking on doors and making phone calls, and that's often is something that doesn't happen during midterms. Certainly some of the demographics here is exactly the demographics they want turning out: young and people of color and women," Raven Brooks, executive director of Netroots Foundation and Netroots Nation, told CNN.

"An even bigger part is the reach and influence that all of the people here have," Brooks added. "It's important to get them energized and activated so they can then go back to wherever they live and energize their local community."

Progressives are a key constituency in the Democratic Party, a major drawing card for Netroots Nation.

"The folks that are coming, such as Sen. Elizabeth Warren and Vice President Joe Biden, recognize the power of this community and they know this is an election that people have to turn out for if we're going to win," Brooks said.

Biden, Warren, and Clinton

Biden has been a tireless campaigner for his party, but he's also had to balance his own aspirations, which might include another bid for the White House. That makes his first-ever appearance at the annual gathering all the more intriguing.

Both Biden and Warren spoke Wednesday in Washington at the Make Progress National Summit, a gathering of young progressives.

"I'd like to think I did my part for marriage equality," the vice president said in his speech, touting his early support - even before President Barack Obama - for legalizing same sex marriage.

But Biden may have a tough time winning the support of some on the left if he does decide to launch a 2016 presidential campaign.

"There's a lot of good will towards Joe Biden and respect for his legacy," said Adam Green, the founder of the Progressive Change Campaign Committee, a group that strongly supports Warren and boasts an email list of nearly a million people.

But Green went on to tell CNN that "Someone who's been in the Senate and White House for around 40 years probably is not best equipped to have their finger on the pulse of the rising economic populist tide in America. I think there's going to be a search for some fresher voices and people more looped into our movement."

Warren has been traveling the campaign trail the past couple of months, in support of fellow Democrats running in 2014. But she's said numerous times that she's not running for the White House in 2016. But that didn't stop a group titled "Ready for Warren" from launching a Facebook campaign and Twitter feed on the eve of the conference to try and convince Warren to change her mind.

The group plans to make a splash at the conference.

"At Netroots and beyond, we're going to show Warren what huge momentum she has if she were to jump into the race," Erica Sagrans, the group's campaign manager, told CNN.

And they'll find a very receptive crowd at Netroots.

"There's certainly a contingent that are hopeful and actively trying to do things to create the conditions to let her say yes to that," Brooks said.

Hillary Clinton, who is in the middle of a book tour for her new memoir "Hard Choices," isn't attending Netroots Nation. She was invited but Brooks said her team "declined is because she's not out on the political scene."

The former secretary of state's seriously considering another bid for the White House, and if she runs, as many expect she will, Clinton would instantly become the overwhelming front runner for the Democratic nomination. But she may not the overwhelming choice of many of those attending Netroots Nation.

"If you go back to the 2008 campaign, our group was pretty split between Clinton and Obama," Brooks said, referring to the historic battle between then-Sens. Clinton and Barack Obama for the Democratic presidential nomination.

Brooks added that when it comes to Clinton's standing among progressives, "I do feel like there is a lot of love, and detractors as well."

The PCCC's Green said that Clinton has a lot of questions to answer before those on the left will support her.

"Hillary Clinton has made her views on social policy and foreign policy well known, but hasn't yet addressed many core economic populism issues, such as Wall Street reform, expanding social security benefits, or reducing student debt. A lot of people want to assume good intentions when it comes her her, but have some very tough questions about whether she will stand with Elizabeth Warren on key economic populist issues," Green told CNN.

While Clinton won't be in Detroit, an outside group that's urging her to run in 2016 will be there in force. Several members of Ready for Hillary will be at the conference, holding a session on how grassroots activists have changed the political landscape, and hosting a party for Netroots Nation attendees.


Filed under: 2016 • Elizabeth Warren • Joe Biden • Michigan • Netroots Nation
soundoff (48 Responses)
  1. Rick McDaniel

    Those seeking to overthrow America continue to plot against our country.

    July 17, 2014 09:15 am at 9:15 am |
  2. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    Rick McDaniel

    Those seeking to overthrow America continue to plot against our country.
    -----------------------------------------------------I agree.
    That is why it is imperative that Democrats and Independents get to the polls in November.

    July 17, 2014 09:27 am at 9:27 am |
  3. Lynda/Minnesota

    "Pawlenty, who now serves as chairman of the Financial Services Roundtable, suggested a lack of political consensus among the traditionally Republican-friendly Wall Street community ... "

    Oh, darn. I didn't get the chance to stop by the Pawlenty article to give a shout out to our former governor. I so wanted to let him know that things have improve drastically in Minnesota since he's been away and is no longer raping us in fees and all the other "little" fiscal Republican policies he enacted (although I'm finding that once those policies were put in place, those same policies will hit us for decades).

    So, he's become a finance lobbyist? Who'd have thought, eh?

    July 17, 2014 09:32 am at 9:32 am |
  4. Rudy NYC

    Rick McDaniel

    Those seeking to overthrow America continue to plot against our country.
    -----------------------------------
    Just to be clear on this, folks. Rick's talking about the people who have been openly discussing revolution, secessoin, hating the federal government, and "taking our country back." Those people are who he's talking about.

    July 17, 2014 09:35 am at 9:35 am |
  5. Rudy NYC

    "So, he's become a finance lobbyist? Who'd have thought, eh?"
    --------------------------
    It's a perfectly natural job for a Republican. You get paid for being told what to say.

    July 17, 2014 09:37 am at 9:37 am |
  6. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    Lynda Minnesota
    I didn't get the chance to stop by the Pawlenty article to give a shout out to our former governor. I so wanted to let him know that things have improve drastically in Minnesota since he's been away
    -----------------------------------------------------
    Hey! Don't you know that "passive agressive grandmas" are not supposed to have a sense of humor?!
    Good one my friend, and good morning...yes?!
    Lol!

    July 17, 2014 09:44 am at 9:44 am |
  7. Wake Up People! Many Rivers to cross.....

    This is just what we need. Democrats need to take a page from the GOP play book and become as rabid and power hungry as they are. The GOP will do anything to gain power and control, it's time the Dems grew a spine and a pair. Start sticking together. Do not let the GOP split you. And get out and vote!!!!😊😊😊

    I wish I could see VP Biden while he's here in town. 😍😍😍 He's one of my faves.

    July 17, 2014 09:46 am at 9:46 am |
  8. Lynda/Minnesota

    "Putting a strategy together to motivate those on the left to show up at the polls come November is on the to-do list at the Detroit gathering."

    Works for me. I actually think that Warren and Biden CAN pull the voters in, which is what is worrying GOPerville. Thus their own willingness to side with Warren over Clinton.

    Psst .... GOPerville. Be careful. Be very careful when gloating.

    @ Rudy: "Rick's talking about the people who have been openly discussing revolution, secession, hating the federal government, and "taking our country back."

    They ARE consistent. Might be why they continually howl the same garbage 24/7. They've got nothing else to run on.

    July 17, 2014 09:49 am at 9:49 am |
  9. Name JK. SFL. THE GOP HOWDEE GOWDEE SHOW with special guest ISSA the CLOWN

    In November, your going to be voting for the democratic or republican AGENDA, not really for THEIR canadate. The GOP of opposing EVERYTHING the American people support in all the polls and THEIR EXTREMEST TEAPARTY views and INCOMPETENTS or the democrates sopporters of healthcare ,tax reform , imagration reform soc sec , Medicare , medicad and infersturture repairs, the GOP tries to IMPOSE THEIR will on the American people EVEN though THEY LOST the last TWO presidential elections. They are HURTING the American economy which has been their agenda for the LAST SIX YEARS. Time to show these GOP FOOLS who won the 2012 elections and KICK OUT these GOP BUMS in November , just show up to vote and it will happen!!!! The GOP is to incompetent to be in our goverment for years to come. Vote dem in November for the best AGENDA TO MOVE our country forward!!!!!!!

    July 17, 2014 09:58 am at 9:58 am |
  10. Lynda/Minnesota

    Hey! Don't you know that "passive agressive grandmas" are not supposed to have a sense of humor?!
    Good one my friend, and good morning...yes?!
    Lol!
    ----------

    Uh-oh. Coffee on the keyboard.

    Yeah well. He's been trying to float that fodder for months now.

    July 17, 2014 09:59 am at 9:59 am |
  11. rla

    We have seen the progressive change thing and it was a failure- Getting the welfare crowd to the polls is not a good thing but the above article is about nothing else!

    July 17, 2014 10:06 am at 10:06 am |
  12. judy / iowa

    I wonder if netroots has ever had a visit from the IRS?

    July 17, 2014 10:17 am at 10:17 am |
  13. Ol' Yeller

    "bill

    I see the 3rs graders are out in force today. Just stick your heads back in the sand and pretend everything is ok. The lier in chief will take good care of you."

    From:
    Jealous First grader held back for failing spelling and civics (14 times)

    July 17, 2014 10:21 am at 10:21 am |
  14. simple logic

    Oh bill, now I've been working overtime since he turned things around, I was laid off in early 09, first time in 20 years, are you to suggest things were better under bush, you were around when we were losing hundreds of thousands of jobs a month, just imagine how ignorant you sound, actually suggesting we were better under a president wbk started wars, killing thousands, to make himself even richer, who's head is in the sand, all economists are now saying we are in fact doing much better and that's what the gop hates, you might want to figure out where you are on the wealth scale, then figure out who actually is trying to help you. You rwnj kill me like giving the 1% more money they took 95% of all wealth the gop tells you they need more incentive to hire, exactly what % will it take let me help you 100%,, then you do what they say, when they say, how they say sounds fun right?

    July 17, 2014 10:22 am at 10:22 am |
  15. Snuffin Ozbutte

    Those damn US Citizens are preventing the waves of Undocumented Democrats from illegally crossing the border!

    Also those damn pesky voter ID laws are also preventing the Undocumented Democrats from voting!

    No worries... We still have ffollowers like Melowese Richardson to carry the vote = Vote early! Vote often!0

    July 17, 2014 10:23 am at 10:23 am |
  16. Lynda/Minnesota

    "That is why it is imperative that Democrats and Independents get to the polls in November."

    I agree. And am equally impressed that Adam Green is now advocating getting progressives out to vote. It was a different story in 2010, when poutrage was his thing ... doing little to motivate voters to vote.

    July 17, 2014 10:23 am at 10:23 am |
  17. Lily

    Not a single DEM is going to repeat the mistake of 2010. The lesson was well learnt. Come November 2014, no one is going to sit home without going to the voting booth and exercise the POWER they hold.

    July 17, 2014 10:24 am at 10:24 am |
  18. simple logic

    Rla, a failure, to do what? What's failing is your intellect,if your wealthy, I'm wrong, if not, you are, simple as that just like the deep red states that don't want any government, but 100% of their income comes from the government. Google wall street cheat sheet, state most dependent on the federal government, says a lot, if they ever wake up down there, you guys are gone, period. It must suck to belong to a party's whose very existence is dependent on ignorance.

    July 17, 2014 10:27 am at 10:27 am |
  19. Longtimer

    The GOP is doing a wonderful job of motivating the Left.

    Every time they strip away a woman's right to reproductive health care; every time they take away voting rights of real-live citizens; every nutjob that wants to "privatize" Social Security; every meaningless vote against the ACA; every lawsuit against the President (for daring to be relevant); every "real rape" comment; all their racial slurs; every do-nothing action; every time they support a gun nut or the NRA; every tax break they vote on or propose for the 1%; and on and on.

    No, the GOP is doing a very good job at motivating the Left. The trick will be to keep the Right's insanity at the fever-pace they have already set through November.

    July 17, 2014 10:33 am at 10:33 am |
  20. Rudy NYC

    Wake Up People! Many Rivers to cross.....

    This is just what we need. Democrats need to take a page from the GOP play book and become as rabid and power hungry as they are. The GOP will do anything to gain power and control, it's time the Dems grew a spine and a pair. Start sticking together. Do not let the GOP split you. And get out and vote!!!!😊😊😊
    =================================================================
    I'm not so sure if it's such a good idea to do that. Someone has to act like the adult in the room, instead of lying, cheating, stealing, temper tantrum throwing brats.

    July 17, 2014 10:34 am at 10:34 am |
  21. Longtimer

    Rick McDaniel

    Those seeking to overthrow America continue to plot against our country.
    __________________________
    Wasn't that your threat yesterday? The GOP took down the government for two weeks you fool! The only people undermining these United States of America are the nutjobs of the Right!

    July 17, 2014 10:36 am at 10:36 am |
  22. Silence DoGood

    rla
    We have seen the progressive change thing and it was a failure- Getting the welfare crowd to the polls is not a good thing but the above article is about nothing else!
    ----------------------
    You cannot keep people from the polls due to being poor or on welfare.
    The 15th Amendment to the Constitution allowed all races to vote.
    Southern states made poll taxes to stop non-whites from voting.
    The 24th Amendment outlawed poll taxes.
    Besides the ability to say the word "Constitution", it is amazing how ignorant of it conservatives are.

    July 17, 2014 10:38 am at 10:38 am |
  23. Wake Up People! Many Rivers to cross.....

    I’m not so sure if it’s such a good idea to do that. Someone has to act like the adult in the room, instead of lying, cheating, stealing, temper tantrum throwing brats.

    I'm not advocating lying, cheating or stealing Rudy, but it's past time for the Democratic Party to unite. Stand by one another. Stop throwing those under the bus for BS like they did AW. I also don't want them throwing tantrums but they do need to be more vocal and united. They let the GOP say absolutely anything and they don't fight back. It's time to start. You don't bring a knife to a gun fight.

    July 17, 2014 10:39 am at 10:39 am |
  24. Gunderson

    Wow!,
    More good News This Morning. Micro Soft is Laying off 18 thousand workers over the next year. That will get you excited to get out and vote! 200,000 Un-Documented overflowing the Southern Border Hey Man, all kinds of reasons to get out and vote Progressive! After all we haven't stolen nearly enough from them dirty low down conservative job creators! Ain't you excited !!! Maybe old Gunderson get rich yet !!!

    July 17, 2014 10:41 am at 10:41 am |
  25. Sniffit

    "Those seeking to overthrow America continue to plot against our country."

    Teatroll Rosetta Stone says: "A mostly brown USA is no longer the USA as far as I'm concerned."

    July 17, 2014 10:46 am at 10:46 am |
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