This weekend me & Lauren went to a Grassroots Activist Training
put on by Democracy for America
in association with Democracy for Virginia
and DC for Democracy
The training was for both Saturday and Sunday, but we ended up skipping Sunday because we were incredibly exhausted and figured we'd gotten a lot of good information Saturday. It was a whole lot of information packed into 8 hours... hopefully all the good stuff hasn't leaked out of my brain yet. Some main things I learned:
++ We're the strange ones - we think about politcs everyday, we go to activist trainings at 8:00am on a beautiful Saturday morning. Regular people care about day to day stuff and are extremely skeptical of politics and politicians. When political volunteers want to reach out to the regular voters, we have to speak "normal" to them. Like talking about gas prices or getting more teachers in public schools, etc instead of Supreme Court vacancies or whatever.
++ There are 3 resources of every campaign: People, time and money. You can always get more people or money but you can never get more time. It's all about managing the first 3 wisely.
++ Candidates don't like raising money, because raising money is really hard & they'd rather be talking to the common man, etc. But you can't run a campaign without money - LOTS of money. Apparently a good 40-60% of your campaign money goes to tv/radio ads, and in expensive markets like Southern California, you have to get $20 million coffers to keep up with the tv ad rates. Meep!
++ We should be pushing the Absentee Ballot voting programs hardcore. In Virginia, there are 14 qualifications for getting an Absentee Ballot and virtually everyone can qualify. Best of all, 90-95% of those who apply for absentee ballots vote!
++ Recruitment is ruled by the Ironclad Rule of Half. If you need 10 volunteers, confirm 20 because only half will show up.
++ Train, respect and nuture volunteers, and don't treat them like free labor. Most important: feed them! Volunteers with free pizza are happy volunteers.
My highlights of the training:
++ Meeting Maura, who runs Democracy for VA
and posts frequently on Daily Kos
. Very cool person. Sorry we bailed on Sunday!!!
++ Hearing David Englin
, who is running for Delegate in the 45th District, give a short speech & answer question. David Englin is amazing and I wish I could vote for him. (I'm in the 36th District, alas.)
++ Getting to hear Leslie Byrne
, who's always an amazing speaker & makes me proud to live here. She's like my local Hillary Clinton... impassioned, uncompromising, uplifting and inspiring. She also pisses people off, because she holds them accountable. That just makes me like her even more. :)
++ Ooooh! Ooooh!!! Virginians, mark your calenders for Wednesday July 20th, because Tim Kaine will be having a "Young Leaders Mixer" with BARACK OBAMA
in Arlington. Everyone needs to go, because OMG Obama!