My Experiences This Fall As A New Commiteeman, And A Bit Of What I Learned
I’ve been meaning to write a post on my experiences running 2 polling places for the party this November. My neighbor and I volunteered as committee people for our district a couple of months ago, and we went into this season pretty fired up to counteract the balloons and swooning we saw from the Dem nitwits in 2008 at our polls. I made up a postcard to every registered R in our town, we had some ladies making calls and we went to all the 4Ys to get volunteers for the 2 polling places (i should mention that both had gone unattended w/o committee folks in 2010 and in the primary, so we had to start over building momentum).
Oh, I also built a WordPress area committee website for them – the first in the county I believe.
The ORCA system was trumpeted at our last couple of area committee meetings. I was skeptical because I didn’t think our group had the tech savvy to go all-mobile just yet. On the other hand, I was down with the instant-strike list aspect. Then, our area chair emailed everybody the week before to say that the project wasn’t going to happen.
Fast-forward to election day. Well, two things happened despite our sincere efforts:
One – the Dem committee had no balloons (in fact the outside greeters were positively morose compared to 08) BUT they had a couple of people inside striking names AND calling the no-shows to berate them all day long. As the day went on I started realizing that we were not firing at their level. We did get a paper strike list from the Romney campaign but our strikers were not able to move as fast given the clunky design compared to the Dem setup.
Two – while our volunteers did great and most of the people I knew and expected to come out for the red team did, We saw from the final tally that a full 250 of the 700 Republicans in one precinct did not come out to vote. In the other it was about the same, but the Dems couldn’t turn out as many slobs because our first district has a large townhome community full of renters and students – you should have seen the baggy pants crowd showing up after getting turned out by the Dem callers.
In the younger district Obama pulled it out by 3 votes! in the other he got crushed.
My takeaways at the ground level were:
a) Need to connect with those Republicans who didn’t turn out. Before the the 2014 primaries… with them we would have won 75/25 rather than a net of 60/40.
b) Need to redo the strike list/call process and install some semi-permanent volunteers in those roles so they are sharp.
c) Use the web better to establish TWO-WAY communication with our younger (and generally more on-fire) Republicans. I’m in my late 40’s and some of these kids made me feel old. They need the mobile app/tweet/text infrastructure to do their thing.
It’s my view from our local scene that the Dems managed to squeeze every ounce out of their voter network this time around. I also tend to think that they’ve topped out as the next cycles won’t guarantee the “Obama coalition”. God help them if Biden tries to run. I would look forward to that…
Stay the course. Sharpen the message. Get the troops out, join them and equip them.