Hi everyone. After back-packing around India, Nepal and Pakistan – I’m now temporarily in the USA. My aim here is to learn from the Obama campaign’s ground operation. I’m also volunteering for this historic election. Hell, if and when he wins, wouldn’t you want to be here to watch history be made?
To be sure, none of the actual work in political campaigning is very glamorous. It’s repetitive, tiring and long.
First, some background. The Democrats have always been far behind Republicans in mobilising and connecting to their potential voters and supporters. Hence, they have also been far behind in knowing about their voters and connecting to them on the issues that matter to them. Karl Rove built a massive and highly sophisticated database of Republican voters during the Bush years and the Democrats still haven’t caught up.
So now the Democrats have two big concerns: first, registering new Democrat voters and getting to know them better. 8 years of Bush have certainly helped develop Democrat anger and now registered Democrats outnumber registered Republicans by about 10% nationally (but since registered Independents are a huge chunk, those are the constituency each party has to win). Two years ago the Democrats started their own electronic voter database to rival Karl Rove’s and they’ve certainly been boosted by the huge enthusiasm generated by Senatory Obama. So part of the job, our job, is to build this database – not only for the coming election but also for future elections.
This is a key point that many commentators haven’t touched upon: even if Obama loses now, the groundwork for this election has been so big and so important that the balance of power has shifted massively towards the Democrats anyway.
The second aim is to ensure these new Democrats get out and vote on election day. So far the signs are looking good. In Nevada for example, a swing state, early voting started Saturday and so far Democrats outnumbered Republicans by 3-1. In Florida, the Obama campaign will spend a huge amount of money getting people to polls on election day and encourage them to early vote because if all registered Democrats vote – he’ll win the state and thus the election.
I’ll write more about my experiences in working on the ground later, right now I just wanted to give a bit of background. Suffice to say, I already know more about the electoral college politics and election rules than most Americans I’ve been speaking too. And they’re bloody impressed I’m here just for the elections. It’s going to be a long 14 days…
|Post to del.icio.us|
Filed in: Election News,United States