Playing for Democrats

Alexis Aria runs the phone banks in Topanga and Malibu for Democrats. Here she is shown performing on her concert harp. Photo courtesy of Alexis Aria

When she isn’t playing the harp, Scheherazade Alexis Aria, known as Lexi to her many friends, works as a community organizer for the Democratic Party, including running the phone banks in Topanga and Malibu.

Aria started working as a volunteer for the Democratic party during the Bill Clinton presidential campaign of 1992 and then for Al Gore in 2000, mostly phoning undecided voters. She went on to become a team organizer and trainer.

She won’t go to bat for any politician just because they are running as a Democrat but would more likely support a Democrat than a Republican as she considers the GOP the party of war profiteers.

Aria set up Team Malibu in 2008 and campaigned the 2010 mid-terms for Jerry Brown and Barbara Boxer. Then she established Team Topanga. “They are two separate teams, but we do a lot together,” she said.

When Joe Biden, always her first choice, decided not to run in 2016, Aria focused her energies toward Hillary Clinton.

“While respecting Bernie Sanders a great deal, I felt Hillary had a better chance to win. Now, of course, I realize I know nothing. I was shocked at the result. I didn’t hear anything during the phoning (to undecided voters) that led me to believe she would lose.”

Despite the Clinton loss and Republicans winning control of Congress and the Senate, Aria is not giving up. There are the 2018 mid-terms in November.

Like many Democrats (and some Republicans), Aria was traumatized when Trump won. She urges anyone who felt the same to get involved in the November mid-terms to help Democrats win back control of Congress and the Senate.

“Please remember well the way you felt on the 2016 election night,” she said. “You don’t want to wake up the morning after the mid-terms thinking you didn’t do enough.”

Aria says help is needed in all the California districts and every single other race throughout the nation. “There are no slam dunks! I think that we all learned that after the 2016 presidential election. We need to work hard until the polls close on any election day including the special elections.”

The way phone banks work is simple. “We volunteers gather, log in to make phone calls, and then reach out to voters. We can get involved in any campaign in California or throughout the country. And there are many close races.” Literature on the issues and some training are provided.

Even if you don’t like the idea of cold calling voters, you can help by providing a volunteer space for a few hours each week. “This could be a back yard, an unused office space, or a living room. Anything helps. But we do need a consistent place with a good cell signal where we can all gather and make calls. If anyone would like to sponsor us at the Topanga Library community room, that would be fantastic, or another suitable place,” said Aria.

Born in Iran, Aria moved to America with her parents and brother when she was 16. A Malibu resident since 2003, Aria has many talents: a concert harpist, pianist, music teacher, peace activist, truth seeker, and fashion designer.

“I’ve been a human rights activist since I was eight years old,” she said. “My mom taught me about ‘the disappeared’ in Chile and other Central American countries. She taught me to write letters and educate myself about human rights abuses.”

Aria’s parents were intellectuals who abhorred organized religion, telling their children to choose their own, if they wanted to, once they were older and had done some research. Aria chose Christianity.

“In my quest for truth, I became a vegetarian 20 years ago, which is not a Persian thing. I had pink hair from 2002 to 2008, also not a Persian thing. I wasn’t being rebellious, I just thought pastel pink — the color of peace and romance — suited me.”

Aria gave her first piano recital when she was three, by the Caspian Sea in Iran. “I wasn’t a prodigy. I just started early. I am a humble and private person who works hard and is trying to evolve.”

Aria urges everyone to get involved in the democratic process, be vocal, and replace fake news with the truth.

“The reason I volunteer is because I want war profiteers to fail. Unfortunately, I feel they won the 2016 election.”

The thing that puzzles Aria the most is that Republicans who say they are pro-life also tend to be pro-guns, pro-war, and pro the death penalty. “I don’t understand why the life of a fetus is the only life that is so important to them,” she said.

In 2008, Aria founded “Harpists for Peace,” an international group of harpists who play for the dream of world and inner peace.  

There is one thing of which Aria is certain: “If we sit idly by and say we’re too busy to volunteer two hours a week, or if we give in to the mentality that our votes don’t count, or if we leave the volunteering to others… then we will certainly not do as well as we can, in any given election. But this time around we must get involved. The work has already begun. It could even be something as simple as bringing some snacks for the volunteers. Just say hi and leave after 30 seconds. That is volunteering, and that will count,” she said.  


If you’d like to volunteer for the Democratic party during the mid-terms, contact Lexi at 310-924-1498. For more information


In the interest of fair reporting, the Messenger Mountain News welcomes perspectives from the political spectrum at large, so long as it is civil and informative to the broader discussion of the times.



Claire Fordham

Fordham worked for the BBC, ITN and Sky News in the UK and wrote a weekly anecdotal column for Britain’s biggest-selling newspaper, The Sun. She currently writes regularly for Huffington Post, The Malibu Times and the Messenger Mountain News. See "A Chat with Claire Fordham" on this website under Podcasts.

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