Friday, January 30, 2004

How to win delegates for Dean on Feb 3

For those of you in a state with a primary on Tuesday, February 3rd, there’s still time to help Howard Dean win delegates. Remember that he doesn’t have to win the state to get some delegates.

Here’s what we as individuals can do right now to nominate Howard Dean. It doesn’t take Joe Trippi or any one else to lead us. We care about this country, and we don’t need the money, the staff, and the TV ad to make a difference, much as they may help.

Joe Trippi first saw a grassroots campaign in 1980 when my mother was running one for Ted Kennedy in Santa Clara County, California, and Joe was a student volunteer from San Jose State University. She had no paid staff, and no one from the national campaign was telling her how to do things or giving her any money or any supplies. And there was no TV advertising. She won that county (250,00 population) for Kennedy. And I’m going to share with you how she did it, step by step here. This is a distillation of how campaigns used to be run before big money took campaigning away from the people. But for February 3, read on.

Just get a friend or relative to help you. Or find another Dean supporter in your area using the tools on DFA. It’s best to work in pairs, one on each side of the street. This saves time and keeps you safe. On Saturday and on Sunday go door-to-door. Ask if these are any registered Democrats in the household. Speak only the registered Democrat. Identify yourself: "Hi, I’m _________. I live here in our town (or down the block or whatever.) I’m a volunteer for Howard Dean and I wanted to ask if you plan to vote on Tuesday." Stick out your hand when you introduce yourself. You want to get the person to tell you his/her name. Smile and be friendly. After all you’re a neighbor. Carry a little notebook and write the name down. Than ask if the person is planning to vote for Howard Dean. If the answer is no, don’t waste time arguing.

If the person is undecided put in a few good words for Dean.

Examples: "As governor of Vermont, he got health insurance for all the children and prescription coverage for 1/3 of the seniors. He’s the only one who has produced real results in health care coverage.


"He’s campaigning on the money of people like you and me. His average contribution is $77, not the thousands of dollars from the fat cats that are funding the other candidates and have controlled Washington for too long."


"Howard Dean is a fighter. He came out of Vermont to battle the big guys. They’re trying to bury him. The media has distorted everything and attacked him nonstop. But he’s in there fighting hard for you and me. The other candidates are funded by special interests even if they talk about the people."

Get the idea? Keep it short.

If they mention "electibility," point out that record turnout in Iowa and New Hampshire proves that anyone can beat Bush, and we should vote for someone who is really on our side.

If you get a question about where he stands on an issue, tell the voter the Web address or give them a piece of literature. Of course, if you know the answer just tell them, but don’t get into a discussion. You need to keep moving to find the Dean supporters.

If the voter is favorable to Dean, try to get a phone number. Just say, "I’d like to give you a call on Tuesday, just a reminder to vote." If the voter is strongly favorable, try to get him or her to finish walking door-to-door the street you’re on!

If you get some names of people who favor Dean, when you get home look them up in the phone book. Monday night call them no later than 9:00 p.m. to remind them to vote.

On Tuesday, go to vote after 4 p.m. At your polling place, ask to see a list of who has and who has not voted in that precinct. Most polling places provide such lists. If yours doesn’t, start calling your pro-Dean voters about 5 p.m. to see if they have voted, need a ride, need a babysitter, need directions to the polling place. Without being offensive, get your voters to the polls.

If your polling place keeps a list of who has and has not voted, check to see if your pro-Dean voters have voted yet. If not, get on the phone, just like in the above paragraph.

If the weather is too rotten for you to walk your neighborhood door-to-door or you’re too rural, try a table at your indoor mall. Download some Dean material, make a sign tonight, and get over to that mall Saturday morning. Call the mall management today and get permission. In some states the courts have ruled that malls are the equivalent of public streets and therefore malls can’t prohibit political speech — which is what you and your Dean sign are. But don’t get into an argument about this or break any local laws. Now is not the time.

Don’t be discouraged if you meet a lot of apathy or ignorance. Remember that only about 1/4 of those who are eligible to vote actually register and vote. In fact, that’s what we’re trying to change! It may take longer that this one campaign but with the Internet and each other we can do it.

We've come this far. We've found each other. To paraphrase from Lord of the Rings, even the least of us can change of the course of the future!

Monday, January 19, 2004

Iowa's done. What does it mean?

I would have loved for Dean to have won Iowa.

But this is actually fine.

Gephardt is gone and with him goes his strategy of distortions, fear-mongering and extremely negative attacks. Negative works on it's target, but it also comes back to bit the hand that delivers it. Gephardt leaving the race is great news.

Kerry is pumped up to take on Clark in New Hampshire. This is good news for Dean. Will Kerry go negative on Clark? Where does Kerry go after New Hampshire?

Edwards is pumped up to take on Clark in South Carolina. This is also good news for Dean. Will Edwards stay positive? What does Edwards organization look like beyond South Carolina?

Dean has the money and the troops to campaign in every state. We believe in Dean because of his stand against the war, his deep understanding of the health care crisis in this country, his vision for children, the way he ties environmental policy to foreign policy, and a hundred other reasons.

So why didn't Iowans get the message about Dean. I talked to hundreds of Iowans in the last week. They were on total information overload and many of them had just shut off the noise. Everyone's message sounds good. Politicians always tell everyone what they want to hear. Sometimes, however, a doctor will tell you things you don't want to hear.

None of us expect Dean to win every contest. Any more than we expect our favorite baseball team to win every game. So while there is a lot of disappointment out there, there is also hope and determination and commitment.

Sunday, January 18, 2004

Update from Iowa

Update from Iowa City.

Kris Allen called from the Dean rally. He’s not there yet, but the place is so packed that the stormers were asked to go to another room to make room for Iowans. The energy is through the roof.

They spent the day knocking on doors. It’s 10 below with wind chill. Kris says that her group knocked on 500 doors today and that 9% of the people they talked to are going to caucus for Dean. Given that typcially only 3% of Iowans usually go to caucus, that is outstanding. Iowa City is very liberal and someone told her that a Democrat can’t win Iowa without winning Iowa City. She also reports that the Iowans are exceptionally nice.

She hasn’t seen any other campaigns out walking. Dean apparently has at least three times as many people in the state as anyone else. She also has the feeling from the people they’ve talked to that Kerry is going to do better than Gephardt, but that the whole thing is going to be tight. She will call tomorrow night as soon as the campaign has any results. Since they have some one at every precinct with a cell phone, this could be earlier than the media.

Monday, January 05, 2004

Calling Iowa

The invisible primary is over. The voting has started.

The best way we can help Dean this month is by reaching out where they need us in Iowa, New Hampshire and beyond. Last night I spoke with a guy on the ground in Sioux City, Iowa. It is too rural there for canvassing to be effective. The rural parts of the state are where Gephardt and the others have an advantage. Dean could sweep the cities and still lose the state in the rural areas, because it is precinct by precinct.

Right now DFA is asking for letters to rural Iowans, but these guys desperately need phone banks to identify likely caucus goers. He said it was 3 degrees, and a lot of these people won't go to their caucus without a little encouragement. DFA just needs to find two or three additional people per precinct and make sure they go to the caucus. They provide the script and the names. These are not "telemarketing" type calls. They only take a couple of minutes each. I am going to do this next weekend.

If you can't go to Iowa, please join me in making these critical calls. This could be the most impactful thing any of us do. We can't lose Iowa, not after everything we've done so far.

Thursday, January 01, 2004

Happy New Year. Time to get back to work.

The big ag industry in PA, as elsewhere, is busy trying to make sure there are no roadblocks to the establishment of large, contract "farms" - i.e. "factory farms". These are corporately owned, huge concentrations of animals, where the "farmers" pork on contract for the vertically integrated chicken/hog/dairy corporation. Al Franken has a particularly graphic description of these in "Lies and the Lying Liars..."

Maybe these operations have a place somewhere in some form, but we should have a say locally about what kinds of operations we have in our neighborhoods. If you live in Pennslyvania, please ask Gov. Rendell to NOT SIGN the piece of "stealth legislation" that got passed on the Friday evening of Dec. 19 - HB 1222.

The bill is supposed to be an amendment to title 42 - something about judiciaty and jucidial procedure. 2/3 of the way through there is a section "Adding a section to read #8550.1 Unauthorized enactment of enforcement of local ordinances governing normal agricultural operations" which basically says, if your Twp brings an action against any ag operation, the Twp has to justify that position in court and pay all attorney fees and court costs. This is the same as putting the kybosh on all resistance to these large operations because a Twp will not want to risk the financial consequences. The bill passed and is on the governor's desk. you can call, fax or email him. It will only take a second. (My emailed comments to him are below.)

Independent farmers and consumers are all in this together to try to maintain an iota of control over our food supply and integrity of democratic process in our communities! Thank you!

Toll free phone 1-800-932-0784
Local phone 717-787-2500
Faxes (all 717 area code) 787-4590; 772-8284; 787-8614

My comments:
Dear Governor,
Please do not sign HB 1222 because it contains a section of "stealth legislation" effectively eliminating local township regulation of agricultural operations. This section, inserted into the middle of HB1222, is unrelated to the purported main issue of the bill.

This clause is a rehashed version of proposed legislation sponsored by proponents of "factory farms" who wish to see no public debate or influence over their operations. This same verbiage has already failed twice when standing alone and openly debated in pprevious bills. These "farms" are actually on par with industrial installations both ecologically, socially and economically. Townships and citizens should have the right to a voice, including unrestricted legal recourse, should these installations have, by their view, undue negative impact on local quality of life.