By Al Giordano
Jeremy Bird of Organizing for America conducts an online training on “the ten basic steps” for this coming weekend’s nationwide door-to-door canvass, meant to build vocal public support for the President’s budgetary initiatives on Education, Energy and Health Care:
1. Pick your canvass locations strategically. Conduct door-to-door canvassing in a neighborhood with many doors near each other, or at high traffic public areas. Walk every door (unlike during the 08 campaign, canvassers won't be working only off of voter lists), and also at grocery stores, public transportation stops, sporting events, fast food restaurants… If location is not working, move on to a nother place. Have backup places.
2. Approach people with a positive attitude. Smile. "In Virginia we found people very receptive to our message and they were ready to engage."
3. Share your own personal story. Nothing is more powerful than your story. Let them know what’s at stake for you.
4. Explain the reasons for the pledge: Energy, Education, Health Care.
5. Share the organizing plan: "We’ll be organizing all year around these key issues." Organizing for America is building a presence in every neighborhood, nationwide.
6. Make the hard "ask" and secure their signatures.
7. Make sure their information is complete and legible. "Let them know that we won’t share their info with anyone."
8. Ask them to volunteer with Organizing for America locally. "We are building local power."
9 "Let them know where to find us." (At barackobama.com.)
10. Tally your results and enter your data. In one hour in Virginia, the training canvass signed up "dozens of supporters... Data entry will allow us to communicate with the people you talk to today."
Organizing for America conducted a test drive last weekend in Virginia’s Seventh Congressional District (that of US Rep. Eric Cantor, now Republican Whip in the House). Last November, Republican John McCain won the presidential vote in that district with 53 percent of the tally, but Barack Obama’s 46 percent measured a full eight points higher than those of Democrats John Kerry (who received 38 percent in ’04) or Al Gore (who got just 37 percent of the votes there in ’00). In the video, above, Bird – architect of Obama’s watershed South Carolina primary and Ohio general election victories – utilizes volunteers from that test canvass in Virginia to walk viewers through the ten steps.
One can find or start a canvass in one’s town or city via this link.
The goal is to collect signatures of everyday Americans - along with their contact information - on behalf of this pledge:
I support President Obama's bold approach for renewing America's economy
I will ask friends, family, and neighbors to pledge their support for this plan...
Energy — Transforming America's economy to run on clean and renewable energy in order to create new American jobs and industries
Health care — Comprehensively reforming health care so that families, businesses, and government are relieved from the crushing costs that impede economic growth and prosperity
Education — Reforming and investing in America's education system so that citizens are prepared to compete in a global economy
This is about doing a number of things (the ol' "walk and chew gum maneuver") simultaneously:
Organizing for America seeks to raise up a grassroots army to push Congress to approve the Obama budget (in which more spending on energy, health care and education are major initiatives), and also for future difficult legislative fights like the Employee Free Choice Act and, later, immigration reform.
This is also the kickoff for the field organizing flank for the 2010 Congressional elections.
It’s also significant that the canvassers will go door-to-door to every house, rather than relying only on voter lists or targeting members of any party or demographic. That indicates that it’s also the beginning of the 2010 voter registration drive; an effort to politically engage significant numbers of people who are not yet registered to vote (and you can be certain there will be follow up to register them before November 2010).
It goes without saying that no incumbent president or political party in power in the United States has ever attempted to bypass the media and old guard party machines to construct a grassroots people-to-people outreach and organization even close to this magnitude. Not that this is unexpected. But now it’s beginning, for real, step-by-step, one door at a time. And as each doorbell is rung, the canvasser will know that thousands just like him and her are doing the same job simultaneously.
Knock, knock, America.