BDTC Meeting Sept 28th 2023
In Attendance: Linda Levin-Scherz (Chair), Michael McNamara (Secretary), Debbie D., Robert
McGaw, Marc Sacks, Jeff L.S., Mike Crowley, Ted Dukkas, Joanne C., Richard W., Dan Barry,
Elizabeth Goss, Dan D., Dick M, Frank F., Peter G., Ruth S., Kathy Q, Anne Q., Victor Shi
1) Linda L.S. introduces Debbie D for phone banking
a) Debbie D. talks about phone banking and organizing a big team in 2012. Then
they had over 300 people make at least one phone bank for Pres. Obama. That
was way more people than just the membership of the BDTC (Belmont
Democratic Town Committee).
b) It started slow, with social networking, and signing up people to do phone banks.
Then, we got down to it, and began doing phone banking to key swing states and
canvassing in New Hampshire. She notes this was much better in person than
during 2020 when COVID had resulted in everything being done over Zoom.
c) She notes that this election is ALL about Democracy! We should start building a
team now, that way we can start small, getting ourselves fired up and ready to go.
d) It is all about building up that team spirit/Espirit de Corp. Getting that experience,
in person, and working together to share our effort to save Democracy.
e) Doing this together all in the same place builds trust and we have a fun
f) We could use people to bring refreshments, as well as offer a place to set up our
team of people. And most of all, we need to have phonebankers!
g) Debbie D. asks for others who have phone-banked to tell the group about their
experiences. Michael M. notes that it was fun, and we all worked together and
joked and built a team that would cheer each other on.
2) Victor Shi (Biden Youth Advisor)
a) Elected as the youngest Biden Delegate in 2020 to the DNC at 17(!!)
b) On MSNBC, and CBS, as well as writing opinions for The Hill among other
c) Has an active social media presence on Twitter (now know as X).
3) Linda L.S. notes before we go further, Kim H.J. is a great advocate for the town and is
the head of the Human Right Committee in Belmont. She notes she was unable to attend
tonight due to the death of a family member. But she wanted to nominate her to be a full
member of the BDTC. Seconded by multiple others.
a) Mike Crowley noted that she is a great and talented person and brings a much-
needed perspective to our committee that is not as representative as it should be.
b) Michael M. notes that she is a big advocate for Henry Tapia’s family after his
tragic murder and has worked hard to push for a memorial to him. She has also
displayed political savvy when dealing with the Select Board to push them to act
and kept up public pressure and advocacy.
4) Victor Shi (Cont)
a) Great to see a multi-generational coalition in Belmont. Key to reach out to
different age groups. Older folks should reach out to younger folks and offer help
when it comes to where to vote, talking about the issues, and working on other
key details (voter requirements, candidate positions, how to be more involved,
different advocate groups to get more involved).
b) Often Democracies die quietly, not violently. People feel helpless and give up or
get discouraged. Or politics degrades and social organizing falls apart. We need to
reach out to folks and bring people in and help organize them
5) Questions and Answers (Cont)
a) Jeff L.S. notes that his first vote was for a third party and in his youth, he felt so
disgusted with politics and frustrated that his beliefs were not being represented,
that he voted for a third party. He wanted to see what Victor Shi thought about
talking to young voters who feel frustrated with Biden or feel his age might come
into play when it comes to appealing to younger voters.
b) Victor Shi notes Biden is quite active, and had traveled, in secret, to Ukraine to
support Volodymyr Zelenskyy, and public walked side by side with him in a plan
that took a lot of effort and skill. He also had traveled to Europe to meet with U.S.
allies and has been actively traveling around the country. Also, Biden has passed
major legislation on Clean/Green Energy and millions of good paying jobs for
folks building solar panels and Electric vehicles right here in America. He is
dealing with one of the most pressing issues for young voters. Also, he has fought
for student debt relief, and even after the Supreme Court struck the wider relief
down, Biden has still worked to get student debt relief to those students scammed
by for-profit colleges and low-income students.
c) Also, Victor Shi notes Republicans also are a good foil, as they don’t even believe
in Climate Change, and would do nothing to help protect the planet.
6) Linda L.S. asks about messaging, how do we get more folks to talk about or see Biden’s
record of success on millions of new jobs, and environmental clean energy, and
infrastructure, judges, et al?
a) Victory Shi notes that this is a key point! We as Democrats need to highlight
Biden’s successes. He passed Broadband access for underserved areas and passed
major reforms on Green Energy and infrastructure. And Biden understand that,
having a new political post to reach out to “new media” that younger and more
diverse folks follow. Like Snapchat, Reddit, Tik Tok, and magazines, like Vogue
and The Cut.
b) Also having trusted people, like us at the BDTC, who are informed and
passionate, to have conversations with people. Even just small ones, even with
folks we strongly disagree with, we might open some minds, if we talk and listen
over a period of time (some Republicans might realize that Trump is increasingly
moving away from them). We are the flame.
c) Q and A (Cont)
i) Michael M. asks about Polling reliability, and younger voters. Are Biden’s
poll #’s low in part due to young voters? Are they just frustrated by the
limitation on his ability to help due to the Supreme Courts striking down
of Student Debt Relief and other political goals unrealized? Could some of
these low poll #’s be a bit of a mirage, as these voters likely will not vote
Republican, but are just expressing frustration with Biden?
ii) Victor Shi notes polls do matter, but we need to keep in mind that young
voters do support Biden. This generation, especially the Gen Z and the
Gen Alpha are very liberal and support Biden’s policies on the
Environment and other key issues. Biden’s poll #’s are not where we want
them to be among young voters, but they are up 10 points from last year.
iii) Victor Shi notes this election will be close, even if we think, how can it
be… Young voters, when they have a choice, pick Biden, which is
comforting. There are still age concerns, and some of that is polls ask the
age question first, which can affect the results.
iv) Victor Shi notes that an X factor might be VP Harris, as young voters,
People of Color (POC) and women really are drawn to her and her
d) Q and A (Cont)
i) Robert McGaw GOP once told who to vote for, vote in lock step. But
when Democrats are told to vote for someone, they nitpick and often end
up hurting their own candidate with self-defeating doubts. We need to
rally around Biden. It also is very frustrating to see folks, Dems and also
those in the media criticize Biden on his age but not Trump who makes a #
ii) Victor Shi notes D’s need to message better and use phrases, because
Republicans are often better at it. For example, MAGA (Make America
Great Again) or other messaging that often sticks and Democrats need to
get better at messaging and use good counter phrases.
e) Peter G. asks what are you studying in college? And what do you think about the
state of Higher Ed?
f) Victor Shi says he is an American Studies Major and English Major. Also, he
notes Public Higher ed is still too expensive, and Biden is trying to fix that.
7) Dick M. notes income inequality is why our politics has gotten so crazy. A sense of
economic loss has embittered folks with a sense of falling backwards.
a) Victory Shi agrees we need to keep an eye on how Biden’s economic policies
help poorer areas of the U.S. and brings jobs back that pay well. As well as those
in Red States.
8) Michael M. Notes that Republicans have attempted to yank Trans Healthcare away from
Trans kids and adults. And are passing laws that could arrest doctors for proscribing
Trans affirming care and forcibly De-Transition Trans Americans against their will and
against medical advice and care. This is existential stakes for this election!! And folks are
already becoming refuges in our country fleeing states that are forcibly De-Transitioning
Trans kids and adults and threats to their safety.
a) Victor Shi notes he couldn’t say it better.
9) Anne P. notes we need a slogan, “Save Democracy” or “What has Trump ever done for
you?” We need humor and a bit of a light touch to reach voters.
a) Victor Shi notes that Biden is leaning into that. Biden has a habit of cracking
jokes and making fun of himself and Trump. Also notes he’s used internet memes
of “Dark Brandon” a Biden alter-ego to raise funds and poke fun at Republicans
10) Marc Sacks asks about White Nationalism; noting one Right-Wing Congressman is
working to ban a freedom of belief group that works to allow Military members to
alert/express concerns over forced or coerced proselytizing by Christian Nationalist. This
Congressman would ban any military member from talking to this group unless they had
express permission from the Joint Chiefs. This is completely and utterly unconstitutional.
a) Victor Shi said he had never heard of this case! He seemed very interested and
wanted to get more information.