Energized, Democrats explore how they'll win in 2018

WESTPORT — Although the November elections are still seven months away, nearly 50 energized Democrats gathered in the Library Public Meeting room to consider strategies for Democratic Party success in the 2018 election.

Nationally recognized political media consultant Will Robinson of the New Media Firm was the featured speaker at the April 30 event entitled, “How Democrats Can Win in 2018,” sponsored by The Democratic Women of Westport, the Westport Democratic Town Committee, and the Wilton Democratic Town Committee.

“There’s a war going on right now and it’s not something we can afford to let someone else fight,” Robinson said, noting that in light of alleged Russian interference in the 2016 U.S. election and a changing media environment, Democrats need to modernize their strategy for connecting with voters.

The right wing has more Russian bots and online activists promoting its agenda and content compared to the left, Robinson said. “Our problem is not just the bots. It’s not just the cyborg. They have a whole network of activists who post their stuff and move their stuff around, and to be honest with you, we dont,” Robin said, adding that many Democrats don’t like the contention of posting about politics, but need to begin engaging online in order to win over voters.

“Every single one of us can do something with this and communicate and talk to people because if we don’t do it, Breitbart is the one who is going to be communicating that,” Robinson said. People trust their friends more than media sources, such as newspapers, so Democrats should use social media to discuss political topics with friends and do so not just in a one-off post, but continuously in multiple posts over time in order to engage in continued conversations with friends who may have opposing views.

“I’m feeling scared but empowered,” Becky Martin, co-chair of The Democratic Women of Westport, said after the event. Democratic Selectwoman Melissa Kane concurred. “What really spoke to me was the truth that it’s really about the basics of campaigns and retail politics — getting people to engage, even through social media,” Kane said.

svaughan@hearstmediact.com; 203-842-2638; @SophieCVaughan1