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Yesterday, after a few hours canvassing, I wound down the day at the Warren campaign phone bank location, making calls to remind supporters to GOTV. Standard operating procedure of a grassroots campaign. I met a woman who had been there since 1pm, who had made an astounding 12 pages of phone calls that day. She told me this was her first time ever doing any campaign work of any sort for any candidate. “Really?” I asked her. She had actually gotten a phone call invitation to the rally with Elizabeth for last Friday (she would have been in that crowd of the above photo) and had attended, and promptly signed up to work GOTV. I was pretty astounded, but not surprised, by her committment.
I’ve met an awful lot of people who have never touched a campaign before in their lives during the weeks and months leading up to this weekend. Like another woman from Chelmsford, my canvassing partner yesterday afternoon, who was also a new face in election campaigning.
Elizabeth is the sort of candidate money can’t buy - both literally, but also figuratively. She’s intelligent and full of substance, inspiring, optimistic about what we can accomplish, and genuine. All protests from Republican ads to the contrary. And when people hear her speak, or have a chance to meet her, they can see it.
On the canvassing circuit, I’ve talked to a lot of undecided voters over the last few weeks. There are still a few out there even now. Something they cite a lot is their disgust at the parrying back and forth over the airwaves - they don’t know who to believe, and they are sick of being “spun” to. For my part, I’ve told the truth about the ads Brown has run against Warren - that they are very misleading, and many of them outright lies, using victims of asbestos and others to twist truth into unrecognizable falsehoods. There’s not a lot of time to go into details, but I tell them what I can of the background behind those ads. But I am beginning to believe that ads - all ads, from all candidates - should be banned from TV. They are not helping people make good decisions about candidates, they are only confusing, particularly when you throw third parties into the mix (which, thankfully, in our Senate race, don’t exist, thanks to the People’s Pledge).
Make the people hear from the candidates directly. Replay segments from debates in full. Networks need to stop making tons of cash off of our democracy - turning it into a demock-racy. Anyway, this is a tangent…
The fact remains, though, that Warren’s campaign is historic in more ways than just the possibility she might be the first female Senator from MA. I can feel it when I am volunteering, but it’s also evident in the numbers.
Her campaign officials say they expect to have 24,000 volunteers working for them on Tuesday roughly 10 in each of the state’s 2,174 precincts to get her supporters to the polls. That would be by far a record number in Massachusetts. In the days before the election, they expect to knock on one million doors and make two million phone calls.
It has 48 field offices and 74 paid field organizers, including several veterans of Hillary Rodham Clinton’s 2008 presidential campaign. On Saturday alone, they made more than 370,000 phone calls and knocked on more than 123,000 doors…
Having been involved in the Democratic party apparatus since the Governor’s race in 2006, I can tell you that the Warren campaign is deeper and wider than any statewide campaign I’ve ever even imagined, let alone worked on. Couple to that the state Democratic party’s “Coordinated Campaign” where the party is working together with down-ticket races and pooling their resources, and the breadth and scope is enormous. Never before in all the grassroots I’ve worked has there been a thorough “poll checking” process, at least in this city (maybe it’s done commonly in Boston). Poll checking is when you have people at every polling place, checking supporters off a list as they vote, so that when you print canvass and phone lists for the afternoon and evening shifts, you’ve struck off all those already voted so you are not wasting your time. You need a LOT of bodies to enable poll checking, as well as implementing the right technology to get the information into the system as quickly as possible. That’s on top of the bodies you need at the phone and walking the streets, and the ones doing visibility and data entry and other jobs.
In the Times article linked above, the Brown campaign tries to turn sour grapes into wine:
At a Brown rally here on Sunday, former Gov. William F. Weld, a Republican, cast the race as a showdown between “man versus machine.” He said that just as a machine was working to get Ms. Warren elected, a machine would tell her how to vote. “The machine never rests,” he said.
If by machine you mean people like the woman I met last night, who had never once stepped foot into a campaign office in her long life, but did seven hours of phone banking in one day, or my new Chelmsford friend who, despite recently coming off a horrific injury, was walking the streets talking to voters for hours on a Sunday afternoon. If by telling Warren how to vote, you mean as constituents who are so motivated by their convictions and by the ability of this candidate, Elizabeth Warren, to fulfill their hopes and dreams that they would sacrifice hours and days of their personal time to volunteer for her, then yes, guilty. Guilty as hell.
Fired up, ready to go. THIS is how we should be electing people. Not with money and ads and robocalls. But with people power. I’m ready to get to work. Are you? Volunteers are still needed. Sign up here.
PS - Senator John Kerry will be at the Lowell office today at 5pm, 73 E Merrimack St, Lowell. That would be a good time to stop by and sign up for some hours tomorrow!
Lay it out there, folks.
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