Want To Win An Election? Learn From The Pros

Organizing For America has a long string of electoral successes, not the least of which was getting President Obama elected in 2008. They know what they’re doing and, in order to learn how to win elections, one need not look much further than the OFA for tips and advice on what it takes. Just ask Kathy Hochul who unexpectedly won in an upset the special election in NY-26.

According to Politico President Obama’s OFA had a great deal to do with her “come from behind win” and we should all – left or right – look closely at what it takes to get elections done:

OFA-NY hosted 22 phone banks in the district and in other parts of the state over the 12 days leading up to Tuesday’s election – logging a total of 23,520 calls since May 12; and about 20 percent of the campaign’s GOTV 77,000 calls – from Thursday to Tuesday –originated from OFA phone banks, according to internal campaign records.

The group also made 3,402 in-person contacts with voters out of a 53,000-contact door-knocking efforts led by local Democrats, unions and Hochul’s own field organizers.

And OFA used its vaunted email list to recruit volunteers, text likely voters and push blog posts and news stories favorable to Hochul – and whacking Republican Jane Corwin, who lost by a slim four points in a tight three-way race to replace shirtless and seat-less former GOP Rep. Chris Lee.

Phone banks, knocking on doors in the neighborhood, engaging volunteers and establishing field organizers…and sending out email and text blasts…until there’s no one left to ask for a vote.

This is how things are done if you’re serious about winning an election. Everyone could learn a thing or two from these guys.

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National Voter Registration Training and Campaign Program

Our friends at Smart Girl Politics sent out a call for donations to support their recently announced kick-off of the National Voter Registration Training and Campaign Program.

This is an excellent idea, and a great way to educate people on how to get people registered and TO the polls. Whatever else we do in this country, our VOTE is the final say any of us have, individually, about the way things are being run and whether we want it to continue or to fundamentally change.

Go check them out, and consider donating…or, heck…even signing up to take the class yourself!

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Vetting Candidates

Gazebo Speech

Candidates Matter

Most of us have done a very limited amount of vetting candidates, though of course we size them up all the time. But there is a difference between choosing among a group of candidates from their media presentation and actually vetting them. Vetting is a systematic process for discovering the strengths and weaknesses of individual candidates before offering them assistance.

The process of vetting is especially important to Precinct Committemen, who are the ultimate grassroots activists.  As members of political parties, committeemen (or precinct captains, delegates, or whatever they are called in your state) are the first line of defense in keeping the bad actors out of politics — and in identifying good public servants, as well.

For convenience I divide the key factors in vetting a candidate into Commitment, Policy, and Retail Politics categories.  In breaking down those factors, realize that they are related and often in conflict, so don’t get caught up in the categorization. A candidate sometimes will have to choose between his commitment to getting elected, to his principles and policies, and how to speak to a given set of voters on particular topics.
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