Wednesday, 7 November 2018

Guest post from a victorious canvasser

I'm so proud of Susan Scheid, my good friend from the blogging world - yes, true friendship is possible here and we've met up on this side of the pond. She's been canvassing tirelessly for 41 year-old lawyer and first-time campaigner Antonio Delgado, who's just been elected as Democrat for New York's 19th Congressional District with a narrow (49.8% to 47.6) win over one-term Republican Rep. John Faso. That's Delgado above above applauding staff member Kirstin Horn in the first of three photos supplied by Sue. Sue has been sending regular bulletins about the campaign, but preferred to keep her wonderful blog, Prufrock's Dilemma, clear of politics. So this morning I asked her if she'd let me run one of her missives over here, and she said yes. 

So here it is, the last before the election, from 3 November. Sue pictured centre below between Kirstin (right) and Kirstin's mother.

Today marked the start of GOTV canvassing. The goal is to canvass every single person who has said s/he would vote for, or was leaning toward voting for, Antonio Delgado, and then to make sure, on election day, that every single supporter gets out to vote.

Last weekend, which marked the last round of canvassing before the final GOTV sprint, the Delgado campaign canvassed 40,000 doors—the most doors canvassed by ANY Congressional campaign IN THE COUNTRY. This weekend, from early reports, volunteers came out to canvass in droves. My launch site had over 100 volunteers show up; in nearby Pawling there were close to 250. That’s only 2 of almost 40 launch sites in the district—and these two sites are in a deep red area of the district.

Here are some vignettes from the canvassing trail today:

W (42 M D) reported that he, his wife, and their son will all be voting Democratic down the line. He’s got a rock solid, clear, specific voting plan: “We’re dropping off our dog for surgery at 7:30AM, then we’re going straight from there to vote.”

C (73 F D): I spotted, on the way to the door, that both cars in the driveway had bumper stickers saying 'Vote as if your life depended on it.'  I’m suspecting they’d been put their by C’s daughter, as C said, 'My daughter would be very upset if we didn’t get out to vote. Thank you for your work.'

C (66 F D): C was the mom of another mother-daughter team. When she answered, she said, 'Oh, we’re just on our way out to canvass!' Her daughter came up beside her, beaming. 'I’m so excited to be going canvassing! How is it going? What’s it like?' I let her know I was sure she’d have a good time, then C chimed in and said, 'Oh, we’ve got to get going! We don’t want to be late!' And out the door they went, just behind me, both brimming with excitement.

J (56 F D): J told me she’d been canvassed recently by some young men supporting Delgado, and she was thrilled to see them out there. She wasn’t sure they were even old enough to vote (pictured below, Delgado with volunteers, many if not all of whom are still too young to vote), yet there they were—because they know it’s about their futures. She urged me to speak with her next-door neighbor. 'He isn’t home, but she is—they’re elderly, and such nice people.'

Ordinarily, as J’s neighbors weren’t on my list - and because at GOTV time, particularly, efficiency is paramount - I wouldn’t stop at an unlisted door. I made an exception in this case, as I figured the neighbors would be chatting, and I wouldn’t want J to think I’d ignored her. Well, the neighbor was just as J had said, and then some: 'We’re both registered Republicans, but we’re only voting for Democrats right now. We have got to get Trump out. I keep trying to tell my neighbors who voted for him how disastrous this is. But, you know, some people are just stupid.' (When I got back to the launch site, I reported the address so these two votes could be added for 11/6 GOTV.)

I (43 F D): As I drove up, a little boy stood in the window, arms crossed, looking me over with a stern face. His Grandma, I’m pretty sure she was, answered the door. 'I‘s out for a walk. But I’ll be sure to give her your literature'. She was smiling, and as I turned to go she said, 'Good luck.' I smiled back and said, 'Yes, we all need good luck now, don’t we?' As I got in the car, preparing to go, the little boy took up his station again to watch me from the window . . . only this time, he was smiling.

And then there was P (63 M D), who said, simply, 'I’m a Delgado guy.'

Throughout this campaign, absolutely nothing has been left to chance. Now that the final push is upon us, no one is letting up one bit. On the contrary, the extraordinarily hard work by the Delgado campaign and its legion of committed volunteers gives new meaning to the phrase 'pulling out all the stops.'

This will likely be the last 'Notes' I’ll have a chance to send out. I dedicate it to the magnificent Delgado campaign staff, with grateful thanks for all they do and are. They have and continue to inspire and ably guide us on a daily basis. As Antonio has said, and they are each living proof of it: 'If we have anything to say about this, we’ll win.'

And they did. Hall-e-lu!

Meanwhile in an alternative universe, known as friendly neighbours of Putin, Borat goes tamponing with the mid-terms:


Susan said...

David: Yours and J's support and encouragement throughout have been much appreciated, and I do love the way you framed this, ending in a wonderfully musical hall-e-lu. Speaking of music, we've just landed in NYC for a week and are looking forward to tomorrow's concert, featuring yet another piece to which you introduced me: Strauss's Don Quixote.

David said...

That sounds like a festive, fantastical way to celebrate. Hall-e-lu is the memorable exclamation of Shangela from RuPaul's Drag Race (another way to celebrate, though I think you've been resistant so far...)

honza_kl said...

Fantastic work by Susan. And the difference was just about two per cent, at the end (in fact a HALF of that in a certain referendum... two years ago)! But in a system where the winner takes all, the final result is all that matters.

David, I just hope you get a final chance to vote at least on the type of the Brexit before the hell breaks loose. For your own good... and ours. Then, this post might prove truly inspirational.

David said...

Hear, hear, Jan. The difference between us and US(A) is that the resistance is so much more strongly motivated. As has been said often over the past couple of weeks, we need to follow up the march of rhe 700,000 with co-ordinated action. But there are still too many splinter groups and politicians popping up and writing something in the media then disppearing. Well, anything can still happen. Too much is still coming to light which won't be known about (Arron Banks's dark money, for instance) until after the supposed Brexit on 29 March 2019. If it happens.

David Damant said...

I am sometimes accused of being anti-democratic but I argue that the opposite is the case. As Clement Attlee ( a socialist) said, referendums ( and a popular vote as in the States is the same thing) is the device of dictators and demagogues ( Farage, Boris, Trump). If the selection of the Republican candidate had been left to the Republican Senators Trump would never have been the candidate. MPs in the Commons would have vastly voted down any idea of Brexit. I am strongly in favour of a second referendum now as it is the only way of unravelling Brexit - and even if the new vote went the same way as the first it would defuse a lot of poison. Incidentally, do not put too much weight on the words of Mrs May on this - she can only say what she is saying as she carries out the Brexit process. It is up to others to bring a bill before parliament for a second referendum and if passed she can acquiesce

David said...

Generally I agree. As for Mrs Mayhem, she is doing a very virulent job of seeming to want to thwart the democratic process. Most of us long gave up on the notion that she had a long-term plan up her sleeve, but she remains the lesser of several evils. Which is not saying much. Tenacity is her only virtue.

Susan Scheid said...

It might be interesting for readers here to know is that NY-19 is the only “pure rural” district, in terms of density of population, that flipped to blue in the country (the district is geographically huge—the size of Delaware and Connecticut combined). It is 84% white and 42% with no higher education and went for Trump in 2016. Delgado will be the first person of color to win this district, and he won despite a relentless firestorm of race-baiting coming from the other side. When you put all that together, it is a phenomenal achievement, for which all credit goes to a tremendously hardworking and talented candidate and a powerful and nimble field operation that was able to deploy scores of us volunteers efficiently and effectively. In the month of October alone, the volunteers and staff canvassed the most doors of any Congressional campaign in the country—and that includes campaigns in many, many more densely populated areas than ours.

David said...

A phenomenal achievement indeed - of which you are very much part.

Josie Holford said...

Sue is a total champ. She was out there in rain and red weather. Thank you for posting this. And lots to celebrate after last Tuesday's election. Gleams of hope in a dark world.

David said...

Honestly, I feel very privileged to have had such regular bulletins about what it really means to canvass for your future. Must admit I find the thought of knocking on doors quite alarming - haven't done it since cub scout 'bob a job' week...