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!

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