June 19, 2011

Knocking Doors in Wisconsin!

The past four days at Netroots Nation has been a total whirlwind.

I thought we'd have internet access in our hotel rooms, but sadly, no- the Hilton doesn't consider internet access an amenity. I personally think that internet access in this day and age should be viewed like access to potable water.

I've got a bunch of footage that I will be editing on the train home, and will be uploading on the DownEaster train on the way back home. I'm actually on a Union run busline provided by Democracy For America on my way back from a canvassing session in Hudson, Wisconsin in support of the recall effort against incumbent republican Sheila Horsdof.

I'm a little dissapointed with the Netroots crowd. Out of 2,500+ attendees, only 41 signed up for this canvass. Of the 41 who signed up, only 17 showed up. But with these 17 people, we knocked 1,200 doors -- the ENTIRE TOWN OF HUDSON in just under 2 hours. We are a powerhouse! Also, we had the help of a group of Hudson locals who knew the area, put together the walk lists, and drove us to our turf, which was a huge help.

Things were a little weird at a few points though-- As we were out canvassing, we were being followed by people driving black cars, and they were filming us with camcorders the entire time. I assume they are people from the Right Online conference and are going to post this online and smear us as being "outside agitators."

Forgetting the goons with the camcorders for a second, the people of Hudson were really friendly-- even the Republicans. One of our volunteers was actually invited into a Horsdorf supporter's home, something made even more hilarious by the fact the Harsdorf supporter in question was unsettled by the goons in black cars following and filming this volunteer. He asked her if the goons were with her, she said no. He mentioned that they were filming her and asked if she wanted to come inside to get away from them. And so she did, and they had a nice conversation. Another canvasser had a Shelly Moore pamphlet thrown back into his face and was told, "You get out of here! Please." You just can't beat that midwestern politeness.

I personally was surprised by how quick and easy the canvass was. If you've done voter ID in the past, you know about the 1-5 rating system. Those who are for your candidate are 1s, those who are opposed are 5s, and those who are undecided or unidentified are 3s.

On this canvass, those who were for Horsdorf were solidly for Horsdorf. Those who were for Shelly Moore were solidly for Shelly Moore. And those who were undecided had no clue about either candidate, though they often leaned towards Shelly Moore, asking "Who's the Democrat?"

While the majority of the people I talked to were solidly in support of the recall, the biggest obstacle for this campaign is twofold: First, people don't seem to understand how big a deal this recall election is. They view it as just another local race. Second, while the recall effort has solid backing in sentiment, many voters I talked to aren't sure if they're going to bother to vote in the upcoming primary on July 12th, nor in the general election on August 4th. While we may disagree with the right, we have to admire their sense of civic duty. This also lends credibility to my hunch that most of these terrible and shocking election outcomes of late are caused mostly by the fact that people on the left didn't bother to vote, because they assumed their issue/candidate would have their win in the bag.

I'm really excited about the prospects of this recall effort. Despite the fact that there are national organizations like DFA that are coming in to help coordinate things, they wouldn't matter for beans if it weren't for the strong grassroots support that's already on the ground in Wisconsin. Community after community is organizing themselves, or with the help of We Are Wisconsin and Democracy For America.

The difference in this election is going to be getting people out to vote. If people get to the polls, we can win this. If you'd like to help with the GOTV effort, you can go to CallOutTheVote.com

Your help is needed.

SOLIDARITY!