These Democrats feel guilty for sitting out the 2016 elections, and they aren't waiting to register voters for the midterms

Dan Henrickson rapped on the door of a stucco townhouse perched on a cul-de-sac in the north Los Angeles County suburb of Santa Clarita and awaited his fate.

As a volunteer for the Democratic Party on L.A.’s Westside, the 63-year-old information technology consultant was still getting used to the awkward art of door-knocking — earlier in the afternoon, he choked on a sip of water just as a voter opened his door.

The man who answered this time looked Henrickson and his door-knocking partner up and down as they started their spiel. He asked them a single question: “Are you Democrats?”

The man shut the door when he got the answer.

California is mostly a friendly place for Democrats, but this patch of the state — where the suburban sprawl of Los Angeles comes to an end and the Mojave Desert begins — is still a bastion for the Republican Party and the political territory of second-term GOP Rep. Steve Knight.

The Palmdale Republican won reelection by 6% last fall, but because Hillary Clinton was able to beat Donald Trump by about the same margin in Knight’s district, Democrats consider the seat to have prime pickup potential. The stakes: control of the House in 2018.

Although that election is still more than a year away, Henrickson is part of a group of liberal activists engaged in an urgent battle for voters in places like Santa Clarita. Undeterred by recent Democratic disappointments — four special election losses in GOP districts, including a very expensive one in Georgia — the California activists have taken the long-term view, focusing on districts where incumbent Republicans might be more vulnerable.

learn more