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The Political Power of a Few Snowflakes: The Lesson of the Avalanche

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Rachel's Network does a nice story on the environmental strategy looking at LCV's efforts to moblize support in key states. I am concerned that the sector is dumping to many resources into the defined battles and not enough in building capacity to deal with the snowball events that swing populations.

In addition to changing its election-year focus, the league is overhauling its political tactics. Rather than investing heavily in a barrage of television advertisements and direct mailings, it plans to spend 75 percent of its campaign budget on grassroots organizing. The group's goal is to mobilize 25,000 volunteers to help educate like-minded voters and get them to the polls. Plans are also under way to organize activists on 90 to 100 college campuses.

The league's new approach, which it calls the "Environmental Victory Project," will zero in on four states where the presidential vote was breathtakingly close in 2000: Florida, New Mexico, Oregon, and Wisconsin. In each of those states, a shift of less than 1 percent of the vote would have changed whether Bush or Al Gore won the state. Of the four, Gore won all but Florida, which was decided in the courts. The league also plans to be active in three Bush states -- Arizona, Nevada, and Ohio -- where a swing of less than 4 percent of the vote would have given the Democrats victory.

"W" and Carl Rove have $200 million to play with and 6,000,000 email addresses. He has the ability to control the tempo and timing of all policy maneuvers, rules and regulations. They also can land "W" on another aircraft carrier or pull some other similar media sweetheart stunt to swamp out any the media momentum that a campaign can build. It is an amazing machine.

A heavy portion of environmental advocacy had better start focusing on exploiting those few moments when the snow becomes unstable and the movement can take advantage of the snowball effect to wreak havoc with the control that opponents are using to dismantle environmental,worker and family protections.

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