Bell Curve The Law Talking Guy Raised by Republicans U.S. West
Well, he's kind of had it in for me ever since I accidentally ran over his dog. Actually, replace "accidentally" with "repeatedly," and replace "dog" with "son."

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Sweat for Change

This past weekend, Bell Curve and I, along with another friend, went to Nevada to spend a day working on the Obama campaign. We drove to Las Vegas and began work at 9am. There were several hundred Californians assigned all over Las Vegas this weekend for this day in the "Drive for Change" campaign. We three went to some obscure neighborhoods in South Henderson and each walked alone on individual beats for several hours in the hot, hot sun. We had lists of Democrats and undecided voters whom we were to try to contact by knocking on their doors. We then tried to encourage the Democrats to vote early, giving them information, and to persuade undecided voters. I had a 20-minute talk with an undecided voter who concluded by saying he was mighty impressed that the Obama campaign had called him and come to his door. "McCain must just take us for granted," he said. While wearing my campaign gear eating a burrito at a Chipotle, I was accosted by a young man who told me he had just moved from Pennsylvania and wanted to know how to vote absentee there. I told him there was still a week to register in Nevada, got the paperwork, and signed him up. Then gave him the list of all the places (at supermarkets etc.) where you can vote early in Las Vegas starting on October 14th. Another voter in the bag.

The Obama campaign believes (we heard this repeatedly) that every 12 door knocks will result in, on average, another voter going to the polls for Obama. How this number was arrived at, I cannot say. But it was a good day for us. I knocked on 80 doors. If each Californian was responsible for turning out just three or four more votes, that would be a couple thousand votes gained that day. With Kerry and Gore losing Nevada by about 20,000 votes each, we know it matters to be a tiny cog in the wheel for a day.

And the Nevada organizers were gleeful at the crowds. All these people drove five hours to canvass voters, each spending at least $100 each for the trip, food, etc., not to mention two days of their lives. I understand our subgroup in S. Henderson of about 16 volunteers did more work in a day than they had accomplished in the prior few weeks with the 2-3 volunteers they can normally get. This is what the "ground game" is about. Our sweat. McCain doesn't even seem to have such a program, nor is he likely to find that level of enthusiasm. The hope also is that the tight cognressional and assembly races in Clark County, Nevada, will also swing on these GOTV efforts. A similar campaign is organized for Northern Californians to drive out to Reno and Washoe county in the North.

I felt like I have finally been able to do something more than just donate money. Beer tasted really good Saturday night.


USwest said...

Great work!

This weekend, my mom came to visit. She is 84 years old. We watched the debates with my mom treating it like a sporting event, "go on, get him, Obama! Don't let him get away with that!" She has never ever allowed anyone to put campaign signs on her lawn. But after the debates, she asked if we could stop at the local Democratic HQ so that she could get some signs to take home. So we did. For starters, they have a GREAT location, where many tourists and locals pass every day!
And, guess what? They didn't have any signs or other swag- buttons, stickers, etc. They told me that they run out every weekend! But we could put ourselves on a waiting list for the signs.

Amazing! So mom is going to call the HQ in her local area to get signs delivered. My WWII mom is voting for an African American candidate without reservation or any regard to his race! Wow have we come along way!

Raised By Republicans said...

My 69 year old mother is hitting the phone banks for Obama and her Democratic candidate for Congress in Ohio. She says there are always people coming into the office for the Congressional candidate asking for the Obama office because they want to volunteer.

Now, they've got her working the front desk sometimes and she hands out early voting materials to everyone who comes in - especially students and minority voters. has a running diary about going from local office to local office for the Obama and McCain campaigns around the country. In their installment about Western Colorado, they gave a more detailed explanation of the 12 doors rule of thumb.

bell curve said...

Here's a link to the article RbR mentioned. I didn't get to read the study, but it's good to see confirmation of those numbers.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for doing what you did for all of us. I hope it helps soften the damage done by Clinton and Biden over the weekend...Obama is getting eaten by his own! How could Clinton say something as ignorant as "almost unlimited potential"...and Biden, with the Roosevelt on TV in 1929 comment? Are you kidding me? these guys have got to stop it!

The Law Talking Guy said...

BC - I read the study briefly. It is about local elections with low (25%) turnout. I am not sure its conclusions hold up in national elections where the doorknocker is not just reminding the voter of the very existence of the election.

Still, even if it's 1 for 30, that's worth doing.

Dr. Strangelove said...

Good job, you two. I am quite impressed. That's hard work.

USWest said...

I love Biden, but his mouth is known to get him into trouble. That is a problem. He has so much up on Palin. But if he keeps running out at the mouth, he will find himself sequestered in his hotel room.