Project Wonderful

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Your Official CampaignSick Pep Talk (TM)

I'm laying on my stomach on my bed at the Red Roof Inn. My comforter has a cigarette burn in it. I was supposed to go out with my coworkers, but I got stuck in 30 mins of traffic, so instead I ordered pizza hut because it is the only food that delivers here. In fact, I have not seen a vegetable that was not deep fried or covered in cheese since I arrived. My first day here, I was awake for 22 hrs during which time I left the office once to get coffee and once to get toothpaste since I had not brushed my teeth in that long...but Goddamnit if I don't love my job.

I've been thinking a lot about what to write in this pep talk, which has been requested multiple times over the last few weeks. It wasn't that I couldn't think of anything inspirational to share with you. It was that I couldn't narrow it down.

Do you realize how amazing our job is? With all the money, and the negativity and the minsinformation that goes into campaigns, it still comes down to neighbors talking to neighbors. Field is the purest expression of democracy, and it's what's going to win this campaign. Sure it can be maddening when people don't seem to give a shit, but you don't have to do this, you get to. You get to spend your days empowering people and helping them believe in what's great about our country. You get to wake up every morning albeit on 4 hrs sleep and know that what you do at work today absolutely makes a difference. And you get to believe in the power of democracy, and in your own ability to effect change, more so than the average American, because you see it every day first hand.

These are not trivial issues we're dealing with. We're talking about health care, war and civil liberties. You do your job for the people who ACTUALLY can't because they are sick in the hospital because their insurance wouldn't let them go to the doctor on time. Do your job for a 15 year old who is bullied in school for being effeminate and whose teachers have no recourse to protect him. Do your job for a 16 year old who was molested by her cousin and is afraid to seek abortion counseling because her rape might not be considered "legitmate."

If you are lucky enough to have a candidate in whom you truly believe, do your job for him. But even if you aren't, that's not always what it's about. Volunteers come into the office for the candidate, but they stay for you. You join the campaign for the candidate, but you do it for each other. No matter how crazy your boss or your co-workers might be driving you right now, there is someone on this campaign you love. You know how she takes her coffee, you mock each other's taste in music and you could pick her volunteer ask out of a line up. And you should, because campaign people are incredible. No offense to my wonderful classmates, but I feel more comfortable out for drinks with the people I've known here for three days than with the people I've spent time with for over a year. We get each other. We've dealt with yard sign activists, we've built 10,000 person events on 24 hrs notice, we've knocked on doors, looked strangers in the eye and promised them that their vote can make a difference. We are all willing to dial a phone until our fingers break if that's what it takes, because this is just that important. In what other world can I wear sweatpants to work, curse like a sailor, and have a beer with a Congressman? It's an incredibly special community that you're a part of.

And what of those volunteers? I tell candidates that when they ask donors for money that they're making an implicit promise to do everything they can to get elected in exchange for that support. It's the same bond between you and your volunteers. Everyone has that one volunteer whose story they tell over and over again, who offered to do your laundry, who cooked you dinner when you were dragging on the floor, who wheeled her chemo bag into the office to make calls. For all of the frustration that some activists can bring, I've had volunteers I met as an organizer who to this day follow me in my heart to every campaign office.

Finally, I wanted to share something that a now prominent member of the Obama campaign once shared with me.

State Director: Everyone raise your hands!
Field Staff: (Raises hands)
State Director: As high as you can!
Field Staff: (Raises hands higher)
State Director: Higher!
Field Staff: (Raises hands higher)
State Director: Higher!
Field Staff: (Raises hands higher)
State Director: Liars.

You are capable of more than you believe. It is a great a lesson that campaigns have taught me, and a good one to remember during these last couple days. This work is too important to give up now and your bosses wouldn't let you do it if they didn't know that you could. You can sleep, shower and eat on Novermber 7th. As Muhammad Ali says "suffer now and live the rest of your life as a champion."

I can't tell you how proud I am of you all and how grateful I am that you let me into your offices each day. I know you are working just as hard for me as I am for you and I promise you, win lose or draw it will be worth it.

Now go! Leave it all on the field!

Campaign Love,

Friday, October 26, 2012

Surprise! You're getting a surrogate!

Hypothetically, let's say you get a call with 24 hrs notice telling you a high level surrogate has finally agreed to stump for your campaign. This happens a lot this late in the cycle. It happened to me in 2010 when we had just 3 days to plan an event with the President for 10,000 people. Where do you start? What do you do? Here is a list of questions to ask yourself and reminders about protocol when planning a big event with a little notice. Note that some of these things can (and ideally should) be determined way ahead of time so that when the call comes you can start calling through the appropriate lists right away.

Where will ADA seating be available and what is the protocol?

Where are people entering? How will you get them signed in?

Is there adequate parking? If not can you arrange a shuttle?

Do you need/where will you get bunting, flags, etc?

Will there be a clutch? If there is a clutch will it be for donors, politicos or supervols- and who will you include?

How will you designate people for the cluth or VIP seating area? (Special entrance? A list? A ticket?)

Who needs a personalized phone call from the campaign to let them know about the event?

Who will introduce your surrogate? Who else will speak?

Will there be entertainment, if so who?

Will there be a convocation or pledge of allegiance? If so, who will lead it?

Who will be allowed on stage with the surrogate?

What is the make up of your district/universe? How will you ensure that shots from the event reflect that universe?

If the event is ticketed which organizations and politicians will need tickets for "their people"?

What will be the contact number/email for the event? Who will check the voicemail?

Make sure that the outgoing voicemail has pertinent information for the event.

Who will have your candidate's cell phone the day of the event?

Where will the media be? Who is your media contact?

Make sure to ask the surrogate to make a GOTV sign up ask at the end of his/her speech.

Will you have a sign language interpreter?

Do not allow outside signs into your event for both safety and political reasons.

Where are the bathrooms?

What to bring
Yard Signs
Directional Arrows
Signs for ADA seating
Sign In Sheets
Sign UP Sheets
Donation Envelopes
Placards and/or Home Made Signs

Let me know how it goes!

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Some Awesome Women Candidates You Should Know About

One of my great passions is women's political participation, something that I have not be able to devote enough time to of late. You may remember when I wrote about Mindy Myers, I promised to highlight some positive role model female candidates this election cycle.

Why women you may ask? Did you know that women make up 52% of the American electoral yet just 17% of Congress? Not only that, but women are shown to be responsive to constituent communications, more likely to reach across the aisle and more likely to address issues that disproportionately affect women, like human trafficking, breast cancer research and reproductive rights.

But there is good news! Thanks to an unprecedented number of female candidates this cycle, we have the opportunity to increase the number of female representatives in Congress to an all time high. As readers will likely remember, when women run they win at the same rates as men. Huffington Post offers a fabulous map of all the women up for Congressional election on Nov 6th, but I've chosen to highlight these three.

b>Tulsi Gabbard, Democrat, Hawaii 2nd
Gabbard is an Iraq war veteran and the youngest women ever elected to a state legislature. At 19, she founded her own non-proft focused on Hawaiian environmental and community health issues. On top of all that, Gabbard is Hindu and a first generation immigrant from American Samoa, bringing some much needed diversity to Congress.

Tammy Baldwin, Democrat, Wisconsin
Baldwin is the first woman elected to Congress from the state of Wisconsin. If elected this time she will be the first openly gay person in the United States Senate, as well as Wisconsin's first female Senator. As a Congresswoman, she voted against the invasion of Iraq and fought for the passage of the Affordable Care Act and sponsored legislation to provide access to early education programs for underprivileged families.

Grace Meng, Democrat, New York 6th
I'm just yanking this one from Jezebel because they sum it up perfectly. "The 36-year-old Chinese-American former public interest lawyer has spent her career in the New York State Legislature doing the opposite of declaring a War on Women. She supported a law that would have required all New York universities to provide emergency contraception to any student who requested it and supported a bill that would have required health insurance companies to cover prescription formula. She's also called Rush Limbaugh on his bullshit when radio's loudest fart said some racist stuff about Chinese President Hu Jintao."

We will talk, much MUCH more after the election. In the meantime go vote for some (qualified) women!

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

My Favorite Mistake- Why I am Way More Excited to Vote for Barack Obama in 2012 than I Was in 2008

I want to share you guys on a little secret: I actively disliked Barack Obama when he ran for President in 2008. As a Democratic operative for a Senate candidate in a swing state, I even turned out voters for him, but I didn't like the guy. Don't get me wrong, I still voted for him. I'm not a self/poor/gay-hating feminist. But unlike the vast majority of my contemporaries, I was the proverbial voter holding her nose in the voting booth.

I'll be the first to admit, some of my reasons for disliking now President Obama were petty. I had spent 11 months in Iowa working for his opponent (John Edwards) in the caucuses. To work those kind of hours in that kind of climate (particularly for that kind of candidate) you have to believe that anyone else securing the nomination is tantamount to armageddon. In part because of the attitude and inexperience of certain staff members with whom I interacted, and in part because of my lingering sadness and confusion over John Edwards losing the primary and the subsequent scandal, I found his campaign condescending and difficult to work with.

Even after Obama's inauguration, I remained skeptical of his liberal credentials and his penchant for compromise. I was worried that he was more smoke than substance. I’ve always been more of an LBJ than JFK kinda girl.

But there was another reason I was wary of Obama’s 2008 campaign, and the candidate himself: Hope. The fervor and enthusiasm that accompanied Obama’s 2008 campaign is the stuff of legends. Hordes of activists my age and younger knocked doors, made phone calls and attended rock concert-esque rallies with the belief that this man could single-handedly change the way we do business. As a career Democratic operative, I worried that Obama could not live up to this promise and that the result would be a generation of disappointed and disenfranchised voters.

Despite having missed out on the fun (and career opportunities) of supporting the President in 2008, I view my former skepticism as a tremendous gift. I can look with clear eyes (and full heart) over the past four years and say this President has met and exceeded my wildest expectations.

I could talk about 800,000 jobs created and 32 consecutive months of private sector job growth, and all of that would be true. But I don’t really work in the private sector, and by dint of what I do, any Democratic nominee would contribute to my job opportunities. Let’s talk about what matters to me, as a voter.

1) Health Care. Devotees will remember that I’ve had a rare life threatening illness since I was 17. Had I not been on my parents’ insurance when I started feeling symptoms, I very easily could have died. Without quick diagnosis and access to specialists, I could have lost my vision, had a stroke or needed to have a limb amputated by the time they figured out what was wrong with me. I know this because there are people in my Takayasu’s Arteritis facebook group who were diagnosed too late because they couldn’t afford to go to the doctor or their HMOs didn’t provide them access to tests and doctors familiar with my disease, knowledge that is never far from my mind. Needless to say, this is an intensely personal issue for me. My President has successfully passed the first meaningful health care legislation in my lifetime, ensuring that no little Nancy is afraid to go to the doctor because her family won’t be able to afford ensuing health care costs.

2) Equal Rights. My first internship in politics was at Gay Men’s Health Crisis, an AIDS advocacy organization in New York City. It was the summer after John Kerry lost the 2004 election and spirits were extremely low. Every day I would go up to the lunch line (we served free lunch to clients who could not afford both food and the rising costs of medication) and try to get our clients to call the Speaker of the New York State Senate asking him to block a bill that cut funding for Medicare, a program on which many of our clients relied. Every day my requests were met with the same responses. “I'm sick and I'm gay. The government doesn't care about me.” or “It won't make a difference. There's nothing I can do.” It was there that I first fell in love with organizing. When I finally convinced a client to make a phone call, a light went off in my mind. He would not have made that call without me. I wasn't just giving him the opportunity to speak out on one issue, I was showing him that there was someone listening on the other end of the phone. I thought about my clients when Barack Obama made history by coming out in support of equal marriage. I thought, “See? Your President sees you, he cares about you.” I wept. It wasn’t just because some of the most important people in my world are gay and I want them to be able to get married (although they are and I do.) This could be any group. Gay marriage is a civil rights issue and my President is on the right side of it. I feel safer and prouder to be an American knowing I have a President who takes the concepts of equality, liberty and the pursuit of happiness seriously.

3) Meritocracy. There’s this myth that liberals want to move toward a socialist society where everyone’s the same and makes the same amount of money. Nothing could be further from the truth. I am a huge advocate for personal responsibility and frankly,a snob. I firmly believe that there are people who are smarter, more talented and more driven than most of society and they deserve to have more, better stuff. What I don’t believe is that all of these people are magically rich, white, cis-gendered men. Meritocracy means equality of opportunity, not equality of result. My President passed the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, doubled funding for pell grants and established a college tax credit to ensure that the true cream rises to the top and our country can continue to lead and innovate.

4) 9/11. I didn’t realize how much September 11th had affected to me until I spent a September across the country from New York. While seeing a plane crash into the twin towers was shocking and terrifying to anyone watching, New Yorkers experienced the immediate fear that we knew someone who was down there. I was a Senior at High School at the time and I remember comforting a girl I had never met before who was sobbing hysterically because her father worked downtown and cell phone towers were down so she couldn’t get in touch with him. Where were our parents and grandparents? My father, who grew up in the city, couldn’t bear to hear it discussed in public for weeks afterwards. While I found it crass to celebrate Osama Bin Laden’s assassination, especially with the knowledge that it could never bring people back who had died, his death settled something in me that I hadn’t even know was unsettled. It reaffirmed American supremacy in a way I found deeply comforting. My President shot the boogy man and signed the First Responders bill.

5) The war in Iraq. Have we all forgotten that this President ended the war in Iraq? A war that should never have been started in the first place? A war that was an international embarrassment? My President followed through on his commitment to end the war, saving countless lives to say nothing of money that could be spent on education and health care.

As you can imagine, its very difficult for me to relate to someone who is not excited about voting, and this year in particular. If you are one of those people who was fired up about the President in 2008 and isn't feeling it this year, I urge you to show up at a campaign office and see if you don't get inspired. I could scare you by asking you to consider what a President Romney would mean for women, gay people, and the working class, but the truth is I shouldn't have to. Our President has done so much in these past 4 years to move our country forward that his record stands on it's own even without comparison.

If after all that you still resent our President for not living up to whatever ill defined expectations you may have set for him 4 years ago, I'll make you a deal: I voted for him when you were guzzling kool aid, even though I was dragging my heels to the voting booth and the sounds of the man's voice made me viscerally nauseous- so please return the favor. I'm confident that gamble will work out just as satisfyingly for you as it has for me.

Fired Up and Ready to Go,


Sunday, October 21, 2012

Straight from the Horse's Ass's Mouth

Check out this Anti-Todd Akin add from progressive Super PAC American Bridge.

“Todd Akin’s remarks on ‘legitimate rape’ are just a starting point for his extreme views,” American Bridge spokesman Matt Thornton said. “We figured there is no better way to show Missouri voters that Akin is unqualified to be a U.S. Senator than to let him speak for himself.”

A very powerful idea if people actually open the mailers and listen to them. The advantage of campaign mail being that unlike ads and emails you HAVE to see it when you take your mail in. Speaking of which, did you know the US Postal Service is running a campaign (pun intended) to increase the number of political mailers as a way to boost its revenue stream?

“The USPS recognizes MailPOW leaves an impression that POWers voters from the mail box to the ballot box. We’re thrilled and honored that the USPS is promoting our talking cards,” said Crystal Martin, the entrepreneur behind the product.

Can't wait to see a study in the impact of these cards.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Get Outta My Dreams, And Into My Binder

By now, most marginally politically savvy people are aware of Mitt Romney's bizarre comment that he had "binders full of women" when he was Governor of Massachusetts. For the record, if I were not going out on the trail to do GOTV, I would totally be a binder for Halloween.

As you may or may not know, in addition to my MPA, I am getting a Certificate in Gender Policy (because I want to be Amy Gardner when I grow up.) When considering any public policy, I can't help but view it through a gender policy lens and Tuesday's debate was a doozy. Audience member, Katerine Fenton, asked this question about workplace inequality, “In what new ways do you intend to rectify inequalities in the workplace? Specifically regarding females making only 72 percent of what their male counterparts earn.” Interestingly, Fenton has outspokenly rejected the label of 'feminist' and remains undecided, but I'll let you unpack that kettle of fish on your own.

Let's discuss the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act. Lilly Ledbetter itself is not what gives women the right to equal pay, that would be the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Lilly Ledbetter states that the statute of limitations "for filing an equal-pay lawsuit regarding pay discrimination resets with each new paycheck affected by that discriminatory action." In other words, it doesn't make it illegal to pay men and women differently for the same job, it makes it more feasible to do something about it.

Right now in the United States, women make 77 cents for every dollar that men make.
"But," you may argue, "some women choose to take time off to care for children. Women are less ambitious than men. Women choose to work in different fields." I would challenge some of those assumptions. How do you define ambition? How are women socialized not to exhibit ambitious behaviors, or to choose alternate fields? Most concretely, even when women do try to fit in the male model they are not rewarded in the same ways as men. (Brilliant catalyst study that I highly recommend to anyone interested in these things.)

Second,they can adjust for these differences. (Don't worry they got a man to do the math.) Even when every single discrepancy is accounted for; race, class, children, education, job title, job function, etc, women still make 5% less than men across the board. So, not supporting or being non-committal about legislation that allows women to do something about this (like say, Mitt Romney is) is pretty ludicrous. (LUDA!)

Now, let's talk about something that Mitt Romney said about women in the workplace, that, hold on to your underpanties, I actually sort of agree with:
"I recognized that if you're going to have women in the workforce that sometimes you need to be more flexible. My chief of staff, for instance, had two kids that were still in school. She said, I can't be here until 7 or 8 o'clock at night. I need to be able to get home at 5 o'clock so I can be there for making dinner for my kids and being with them when they get home from school. So we said fine. Let's have a flexible schedule so you can have hours that work for you."
Romney has gotten a lot of flack for the implication that women's first responsibility is in the home, but flexible schedules and job share are actually recognized and respectable policies to help patch the "leaky pipeline" of women in the workplace. It's something I could imagine myself taking advantage of when I become the world's most politically active housewife (move over, Bill Clinton.) Can men or childless women take advantage of these policies? Sure. But let's call a cat a cat. It is mostly women with familial obligations requesting these policies and mostly those women taking advantage of them. It would be fabulous if more men were to take advantage of these policies in dual earner households, since as one of my Professors is fond of saying "it's not going to be 50/50 at the top until it's 50/50 at the bottom." But, it is not a Governor's place to tell families how to divide household responsibilities (after all, we're talking about the party of small government) nor do I think it is healthy to expect him to deny the societal pressures that hinder women's ability to advance in their careers. So while he phrased his answer and explained the policy ectremely poorly, I'm going to go ahead and assert that the policy in and of itself is not sexist.

What I loved about President Obama's answer was that in addition to addressing the Lily Ledbetter Act (which he signed) he pointed out that healthcare and birth control are economic issues for women. (Killed it.) Speaking of birth control, let's address Mitt Romney's ridiculous solution to gun violence in our country:
But let me mention another thing, and that is parents. We need moms and dads helping raise kids. Wherever possible, the — the benefit of having two parents in the home — and that’s not always possible. A lot of great single moms, single dads. But gosh, to tell our kids that before they have babies, they ought to think about getting married to someone — that’s a great idea because if there’s a two-parent family, the prospect of living in poverty goes down dramatically. The opportunities that the child will — will be able to achieve increase dramatically.

So we can make changes in the way our culture works to help bring people away from violence and give them opportunity and bring them in the American system.
I don't care that he mentioned "parents," this was like the world's biggest dog whistle for those trampy, irresponsible unwed mothers, particularly black ones. (For more on Romney's dog whistle strategy, click here.) Let's pretend for the moment that this was not a contemptible attempt to evade the fact that Romney does not support laws addressing gun ownership for the mentally ill, which it totally was. You know what would reduce the number of single parent households, Governor Romney? Subsidized birth control, sex education, safe and legal abortion, and adoption for gay couples. So I'm assuming you must support all of those, right?

As a post-script, I want to talk about one more thing that did not happen at the debate but did happen of the debate and made me want to unsubscribe from society. @5hannnnnon (who has since deleted her account) tweeted: "Obama shut up you nigger. You're a liar. Your brother lives in Kenya where you were born. #Romney2012” and somehow of all the hate-filled ignorant tweets taking place that night, this one got retweeted all up and in the internet. Later she clarified "Omg people calm down I'm not racist. I just hate Obama.” Oh, okay, I didn't realize that ASS OUT BIGOTRY was how we dealt with discourse in our country, good note. So clearly, this girl is a horrible person (although you have to applaud her correct usage of your/re.) But then I go on her twitter page and there is a SLEW of tweets saying things like "I WILL RAPE YOU!!!!!," like A LOT OF THEM. WHAT? So we deal with policy arguments with racism and racism with sexual violence? These are America's voters, kids.

Ask Nancy: 20 Questions for a GOTV Director

I'm not gonna lie, I really like it when people ask me for advice! I especially like when they ask me for advice about GOTV because that, ladies and gentlemen, is my jam. Yesterday I had a conversation with a strapping young man with whom I had GO'dTV before. He is running GOTV on his own for the first time and he wanted to know what questions he should be asking himself. I knew he had been through enough campaigns to know about volunteer recruitment, staging location roles, etc, but needed to hear details that might slip through his fingers. Behold! A list of twenty frequently overlooked questions you should be asking yourself when planing a campaign-wide GOTV operation:

1)Who will be staffing my candidate on election day? (Should be someone he trusts and likes a lot who can keep him on time, keep him calm, make sure he eats, but will dutifully check in with and take instructions from the campaign.)

2)Who is responsible for answering the phones in the office on election day? Campaign staff and Team Leaders can't be taking attention away from their jobs, but someone needs to answer when voters call asking where to vote (and a myriad of other questions). This person should be a trusted and strict friend of the campaign who can restore order under chaos and be comfortable directing traffic.

3)If there are family members/activists who will need a role on election day, but who you do not want running a location or in the headquarters, what will their role be?

4)Who will be allowed in the boiler room?

5)Who is authorized to talk to the press on election day?

6)When is my candidate going to vote?

7)When am I/is my staff going to vote?

8)How will we get volunteers/resources/food between staging locations? (Van, drivers, gas cards?)

9)What unions/organizations/electeds are endorsing us, can they give us bodies or lend us staff on election day?

10)What are endorsing electeds doing on election day, can they stump with or for your candidate?

11)What is our election protection plan?

12)What is the phone number to call if a site does not open on time?

13)Do we need to hold a training for poll watchers?

14)Do our poll watchers need credentials?

15)What is our system for getting numbers back from the polls on election day?

16)Who has phone numbers for the other candidates (in God forbid case that your candidate needs to call and concede)?

17)If we will have a paid canvass for the first time during GOTV, how will they pick up their paychecks after the election?

18)What happens if we run out of phone lines?

19)Do my staging locations have internet access?

20)Where and when will printing for walk and phone packets happen?/Do we have ink?

Wednesday, October 17, 2012


These are the things that make me cry friends. Priceless.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Ask Nancy: Coordination

Hi Nancy! First I'd like to say how much I appreciate your open source approach to your tumblr. Operatives across the USA rely on you for a place to vent their frustrations and be entertained. My question is about coordination. Do you have some best practices? I could really use some advice. THANKS!


I do! I would like to spend more time on this subject but in the interest of cleaning out my inbox and responding to all (or most) of the queries here is the quick and dirty of my rules for coordination.

1) Coordinate as early as possible (and makes sense). This will give your team the most time to figure out the growing pains that inevitably come with coordination and it's more efficient.

2) Respect and preach respect. Up and down the ticket there is no race that is "more important" than another. Because inevitably some campaigns bring more resources to the table than others, some will have more power but this is NOT an excuse to bulldoze other campaigns. I know some of you are feeling me on this problem right now. You and the other senior members of the field teams need to be able to present a united front. You need to communicate and enforce respect for each others candidates and programs. Your attitude is contagious for better or worse. If you don't treat your partner campaigns with respect, your underlings will pick up on it and your entire operation will suffer.

3) Create a clear chain of command. No one likes to feel like they are giving up control. However, it's even worse when you're told you'll be in charge of a region/office/function only to discover someone else has been promised the same thing. This leads to duplicate work and a lot of unnecessary toe stepping. There is more than enough to do during GOTV, so give everyone a role appropriate to their experience and expertise and enforce those roles, even when it's a little uncomfortable.

4) Do what you say you'll do. If your campaign is supposed to ID for up or down ticket races, it is up to you to ensure that this actually happens and that the data is shared in a timely manner. Do not accept "people don't get that far" as an excuse from your field offices. Your leadership teams need to work out a script where a second or third ID is possible and you need to communicate that shirking this responsibility is unacceptable. It makes a huge difference for trust (and therefore the success of coordination) especially at the ground level if these agreements are carried out early on.

5) Thank everyone. Believe it or not we are all on the same team. Take every opportunity to thank your partners and praise them in front of other staff and volunteers. This doesn't mean condescend each other, and it doesn't mean just lip service. Make a genuine effort to make your partners on every level feel appreciated and they will work harder for you and for your joint campaign.

Be excellent to each other!


Paul Ryan Forces His Way Into a Soup Kitchen Like It's a Stranger's Uterus

How is this story not getting more attention?

Washington Post:
The head of a northeast Ohio charity says that the Romney campaign last week “ramrodded their way” into the group’s Youngstown soup kitchen so that GOP vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan could get his picture taken washing dishes in the dining hall...

“We’re a faith-based organization; we are apolitical because the majority of our funding is from private donations,” Antal said in a phone interview Monday afternoon. “It’s strictly in our bylaws not to do it. They showed up there, and they did not have permission. They got one of the volunteers to open up the doors.”

He added: “The photo-op they did wasn’t even accurate. He did nothing. He just came in here to get his picture taken at the dining hall...”

Had they asked for permission, it wouldn’t have been granted. … But I certainly wouldn’t have let him wash clean pans, and then take a picture,” Antal said.

This story is shocking and unsurprising at the same time. Paul Ryan thinks poverty (not to mention health care and civil liberties) is a political game. He has no respect for the wishes or privacy of individuals or organizations. By forcing his way in for a photo op, he is trivializing the work that this organization does AND the conditions that make that work necessary. It doesn't register for him that these are real peoples lives. WHO IS VOTING FOR THIS MAN? Beyond despicable.

October Haze

I owe you all an apology, or at least we owe each other one. All week I have been reading my tumblr submissions thinking "REALLY? You guys are having petty turf wars? Do you not know there's an election in three weeks?" or "Stop telling me to update my tumblr! Don't you know I have A LIFE?" It's not that I don't empathize with your on the ground frustrations, nor I assume, are you unappreciative of my community building efforts, we're just suffering from October Haze. I've blogged before about Month Out Madness, the giddiness that ensues from the last weeks of an election where staffers start pranking each other and dancing in the office, but October Haze is a semi-distinct phenomenon.

The best way to describe October Haze to those who have not experienced it is like having a really bad cold, but not being able to call out sick from your obligations. All around you people are enjoying themselves, laughing, playing, making plans. Meanwhile you're on auto-pilot just trying to get through the day. You can barely taste your food. You can't think about anything other than the task at hand. When people contact you with extraneous requests or information, even with the best intentions, your immediate reaction is something like "AAAAAH!!! I cannot deal with this right now?!" Sound familiar?

While I am not on a campaign right now, I am going to be starting next week, which means that all my work for the following two weeks (midterms) has been crammed into this one. I understand the gravity of I saying this, but I truly may as well be working on an election.

I'm bringing this up for a number of reasons. First, to explain why I have been off my blogging game of late. When it comes to sacrificing writing about elections for the sake of actually working on elections, that's a no brainer (although tell that to my Elections Professor).

Second, I want to give you some unsolicited advice. As I mentioned in my GOTV article in 2010, now more than ever it is important that you be calm and kind to each other. I have gotten a lot of messages about frustration with coordination between campaigns, feeling like a coworker is not pulling their weight, etc. You have SO LITTLE extra energy to expend right now, do you really want to be spending it on that? I can't tell you how valuable your ability to keep a cool head will be as we go through this final push. I'm not sanctioning bad behavior, I'm just advising you to be aware of your own.

Most of my readers have never lost a campaign and let me tell you, it sucks. It sucks more to lose than it feels good to win, but winning is less satisfying and losing is worse if you look back and think, "I acted like an asshole." So while I'm all about leaving it on the field, I urge you to do so in a respectful and constructive manner.

Thus spake Nancathustra.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Obama Big Bird Ad

I am the acme of business lately and I apologize for not updating as regularly as I would like. However, I had to share this ad with you. As you may remember Mitt Romney made the comment "I love Big Bird" during the debate to defend his policy of cutting funding to PBS.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Official CampaignSick Debate Watch Drinking Game!

That's right friends! The evening of the first debate is upon us. I have to say I am pretty excited about the smattering of attendees I'm expected at my house this evening. They include Democrats, Undecideds (I know, right?), Republicans, men, woman, Christians, Jews, Muslims, Blacks, Whites, Asians, gay people, straight people Danes, Chinese, Mexicans and my past and future secret it should be very interesting! Some of these rules are borrowed from here. But most are from myself and my brilliant friends! Look for my tweets at #Campaignsick between hosting duties and feel free to tweet along!

Official CampaignSick Drinking Game Rules

1)Every time the candidates mention a % of the population (99, 1, 47) drink that % of your drink.

2)Any time candidates mention reproductive rights or equal pay, all the women take a drink (because you’ll need it.)

3)Any time the candidates mention welfare, entitlement, Medicaid or Medicare, refill your glass with a beverage someone else brought.

4)Finish your drink if either candidate accuses the other of making race an issue in the campaign.

5)If a candidate goes over time chug your drink until the moderater stops him.

6)Toast and take a drink every time Romney tries on of his “zingers.”

7)Toast and take a drink whenever the candidates reference a former President (Bush, Clinton, Reagan etc)

8)If either candidate says “Obamacare” or “Romneycare” raise your drink. The last person to raise her/his glass must finish her/his drink.

9)Drink if Obama starts a sentence with “Now Look” or “Listen” followed by a long pause

10)Take a small sip for “small business” references, take a large gulp for “big business.”

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Ask An Election Nerd: Should I leave my current campaign to go work for another one?

I've gotten this question a lot in several different iterations and while my answer isn't very detailed, I wanted to put something out there once and for all:

Generally, I will not hire someone who had previously left a race they were on this late in the game, even if it happened in a different cycle. I think it shows a lack of loyalty and character. Remember, we work in a very small world.

I also think it is bad practice to poach someone else's campaign staff. At the end of the day we're all Democrats and no "level" of campaign, Presidential, Federal, Local, is more important than another. This is the kind of attitude that leads to messiness and resentment that lingers long after the campaign ends and frankly it's disrespectful and condescending. (That's right. You know who you are.)

That said, if you are on a non-competitive race and you get offered a position somewhere competitive, that's another story. Same goes if you have become genuinely disillusioned with your candidate or operation or if you are an intern or unpaid staffer being offered a paid position. Then by all means, go for it.

I mean really, do whatever you want. You will neither be the first nor the the last. It's just kind of a crappy thing to do unless you have mitigating circumstances as described above.

So close and yet so far!