Monday, October 13, 2008

Working to get Obama elected

A couple weeks back, I walked into the downtown Boulder Obama office, and ended up making some calls.  I meant to go back, but one thing after the other...

Then last week, an Obama canvasser came by my door (the second; but the first was just trying to get me registered).  I think he had my name off my TNR subscription.  Anyway, I told him what I told the first volunteer - I am a permanent resident, so I can't vote.  So he said - "Do you want to volunteer?"  I said, sure.

And surprise - a few days later, I got a call asking me if I was available to canvass that weekend (last Saturday).  I figured I had put it off long enough, and showed up at house.  Spent five hours walking the neighborhood (though it was a cold and drizzly afternoon) with another volunteer.  My fellow canvasser later sent me a message about a 4-h training session for GOTV yesterday (Sunday), which was also quite interesting.  And now I am going to a neighborhood-specific GOTV meeting and phonebank tomorrow.

The point is this - I walked in to the Obama office, and while that was useful, there was no follow-up to make me come back.  The neighborhood team, on the other hand, has me attending more often, and I got a call earlier tonight thanking me for attending the GOTV training, and asking if I would show up Tuesday.

It appears past campaigns relied almost entirely on the "central campaign office" model, where volunteers would walk in, be given rudimentary tasks, and that was it.  But the Obama campaign is blending top-down and bottom-up approaches to campaign organizing, that even the Right may learn from for the next time round.  That Next Right piece is a reaction to this piece in HuffPo (which Patrick Ruffini of The Next Right describes as "one of the must-read pieces of this election cycle.")

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