I don’t live in Josh Harder’s District. Hell, being a citizen of the old country …. I can’t even vote … but that isn’t stopping me from spending four days on the campaign trial in Turlock this coming weekend and through to the night of ‘the sixth’ doing what I can to convince others to maximize the chance of the best candidate winning.
Two men are on the ballot for a key Congressional seat in the Central Valley. But if Democrat Josh Harder succeeds in ousting GOP incumbent Jeff Denham, women will be the ones who made the difference.
It’s hard not to think this after reading political writer Joe Garofoli’s account of the grassroots effort in the 10th Congressional district, which starts at the Altamont Pass and stretches east past Turlock. The people working hardest to organize their neighbors often are women who were terrified by the results of the 2016 presidential election.
There’s Crystal Sousa, for instance - a 35-year area resident who had never done anything political but vote before Donald Trump took office. She and a friend started a Facebook page to air their concerns. They held a protest outside Denham’s office.
More important, long-term, they spent months going patiently from door to door, hearing their neighbors’ political leanings and deeper concerns: “We knew people (from the Bay Area) would show up closer to the election,” Sousa told Garofoli. “We wanted to be ready for them when they did.”
One of those people was Beatrice von Schulthess of San Francisco, who quit her bookstore job shortly after Trump’s election because “I felt a threat to our democracy in a way that I’ve never felt in any way before.” She was in Turlock one Saturday this month along with hundreds of other volunteers.
Denham’s campaign does its best to paint this as an invasion of liberal elites, an assault on “the valley’s way of life.” But it’s deep-rooted residents like Sousa who have laid the groundwork for next Tuesday’s possible upset. Next Tuesday, we’ll know the result.
Actually - on that ‘Bay Area elite’ shit - he does know that only people in his constituency gets to vote … doesn’t he?