How to campaign effectively? That is THE question needling North Carolina Democrats right now. Who knows how to do it? Million-dollar consultants? Or the people in field work who know the ground truth about voters?
Chris was a big part of that. He connected with people like few can. But exceptional field operatives like Chris are most often students, and inevitably they graduate and move on. So we lost Chris for the next election cycle. But he landed a job as a field organizer for the Progressive Turnout Project (PTP), an "independent expenditure" PAC that spent over $6 million in the 2018 General Elections in a handful of states. Here's what they were doing on the ground, according to their own website:
"Progressive Turnout Project is a grassroots-funded organization with a single mission: get Democrats to the polls. We design, test, and execute specialized voter turnout programs targeting inconsistent Democratic voters in the most competitive districts in the country. In 2017, our trained teams flipped 10 Republican House of Delegate districts in Virginia. In 2018, we’ll bring that same strategy to competitive districts across the country."
...voters rarely care about policies. To say they vote on "vibes" is a bit reductive but is closer to the truth.The average voter is going to remember maybe a sentence about a candidate for Mayor, and maybe 2 or 3 words about a candidate for Alderman.It's a little overused but I like the voting as an expression of social cohesion model, and have found it personally to be the most reflective. We vote for the candidate that we think best supports our self identified social groups.So I vote as a transit activist [Chris is a dedicated bicyclist], a resident of Pilsen, a progressive, a veteran, etc. I promise you that less than 2% of voters are going to go so far as to look at a candidates website[....]
In other words, it's all in the candidate, and you can't fake genuineness. Unless you're prepared to knock doors and find out the current headspace of the people you need you're not going anywhere. This is why the phrase "candidate fits the district" is the hardest lesson for progressives to learn.