I started off just supporting Bernie’s policies, never having been involved in politics or campaigns whatsoever. Then I donated. Then I made a couple of phonebank calls, then volunteered in a campaign office. Up until this point, I’ve been having great conversations with people from all sides about college, health care, minimum wage, etc. But those conversations were pretty much inside of my social circle, my life, my bubble. As I continued to volunteer, I, in turn, started talking to people outside of that bubble – which I hope you’ll ask yourself – how often do you? I ask because, for me, that’s when everything changed.
Canvassing really works, and it is the one way we can circumvent Hillary’s one true firewall: The corporate news media/NPR.
For starters, you will not get into arguments with Republicans or Hillary people. You are trying to locate Bernie people—and the list the campaign gives you will do a very good job of identifying who you need to talk to. You stick to the list. If you find someone who supports Bernie you make sure they know where to vote and when to vote.
The only other people you deal with are people who are planning to vote in the primary and are undecided between Hillary and Bernie.
For everyone else, it is “thank you for your time, have a nice day.” We are going to need those Hillary voters in November, and we will depend upon the independent voters because that is a massive source of votes for Bernie.
In the 10 days I canvassed with my wife and we probably hit around 750 houses in a variety of neighborhoods in and around Madison. Our youngest daughter, age 20, also went out and canvassed on her own.
You leave literature for people who are not home.
We talked to hundreds of people. Many were pro-Bernie and were always very supportive and energized to see volunteers out and about. It reaffirmed their commitment to vote. We got a few people to start volunteering as well. Bernie supporters are terrific people, and from all sorts of backgrounds.
We spoke to several dozen undecideds, and it generally went well. I think what we did brought a few folks over to Bernie.
Here is the catch—Because we had so many canvassers in the state, that if everyone also influenced just a few people to vote for Bernie, in combination it had a large effect on Bernie’s 14 point victory.
We also learned something striking—there are two great predictors of whether someone supports Bernie or Hillary. One is age. Bernie got 82 percent of the under-30 vote in the Wisconsin primary and from my experience canvassing I am not in the least surprised. My wife and I only met one person under 35 who was for Hillary. There were maybe 50 people under 35 for Bernie.
The other is class. I do not think it is too much of an exaggeration to say the Bernie-Hillary split along class lines is almost as striking as the split along age lines. You’d almost think this was a race against Mitt Romney, not Hillary, based on what we experienced. When we canvassed working class and lower-middle class neighborhoods, Hillary had almost no support, and Bernie had a lot, across all age groups and demographics. As the house values increased, the support for Hillary began to appear and grew larger. But even in the wealthiest neighborhoods we canvassed, Bernie held his own.
We spoke to several Republicans who somehow ended up on our list who were often quite impressed with Bernie, and gave a sense they might be interested in him on November if the Republican nominee was someone they did not like, which was a distinct chance.
Before we canvassed we heard lots of our friends who said they wanted to canvas, but they always came up with excuses not to do it. It is easy to find reasons not to canvas. My wife and I are incredibly busy and could have produced an excuse that everyone else would have bought. But we knew we could not allow ourselves to do that. We have a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity here and we cannot take it for granted. We all have to make time to canvas. Everything rides on it.
We had a couple stay at our house for the weekend before the primary so they could spend two days doing wall-to-wall canvassing. They were PhD students from Ames, Iowa and they were natives of India. They had canvassed for Bernie in Iowa, and then had canvassed in Minnesota as well. They really inspired my wife and me by their commitment to Bernie and the political revolution. Jeez, they were impoverished grad students from frigging India laying it all on the line for Bernie!
So please, if you have been thinking about canvassing, take the plunge. Now. Right away. You will sleep very well on April 19 and April 26 knowing you did everything you could, and it will give you an unrivaled view of what is happening on the ground politically, one you can never get from the corporate news media/NPR.
It is an entirely different world, where Bernie is becoming very popular when people learn about him. Canvassing will recharge your batteries like nothing else.
Bernie Journey: This is the story of a 23 year old college student who started off with $10 in her pocket and is now funding hundreds of people to travel state to state and canvass/volunteer for Bernie.
4 short days ago I received a call from the Bernie campaign office to see if I could make a trip to canvass for Bernie in Ohio. I had $10 in my bank account but was determined to not let this stop me. So I started a fundraiser account and raised over $3,000. Then it hit me. I knew I could make a change.
I contacted my local Bernie campaign office and there were many people that wanted to make the trip but couldn’t afford it. I teamed up with the entire office/local volunteers and the #BernieJourney was created! I completely funded the trip for over 50 volunteers. We knocked on thousands of doors, swayed lots of voters, and even were able to reach out to people from other states to start organizing offices/events in their city/college (and yes, even those who want to host meetings in their dorm rooms). Additionally I am donating prepaid gas gift cards for those who would like to canvass but can not afford gas and others who would like to travel state to state with us. (Please contact me if interested). I also worked with Uber to hand out free coupon codes to get people to the polls! Trips to Pennsylvania, California and other key states are being planned.
I have been front row to 3 different Bernie rallies and have met his wife, Jane Sanders, and had an amazing conversation with her.
This is an option if you want to support Bernie with $$ but can’t donate to the campaign for any reason — this woman helps to fund and/or coordinate travel (gas, food, lodging) for volunteers who can travel to primary states to caucus. it’s been pretty successful, and we know how important canvassing is! https://www.gofundme.com/vgt7xa98
GO OFF THE SCRIPT TIME TO TIME PEOPLE, most Hilary supporters weren’t even aware of her inconsistent record. I started to tell them Bernie’s polices and how it can become reality, regardless of what the media paints. Something interesting is most of these converted Hillary supporters weren’t even aware of the corruption in politics and the oligarchy we lived in. One of them was so eager to even donate to Bernie right away, I gave them Bernie’s website for more info. Some ADVICE to Phone Bankers, treat them as if you were talking to a loved family member not a machine. Genuinely tell them simply the policies of Bernie without taking to much of their time. Don’t forget to tell them when the Debate is and give them Bernie’s official website, so they can do their own research. Good Luck and keep at it my brothers and sisters, NY is ours if we all work together! 🙂
platypushorde: It took a few months but I finally took the plunge today and started phonebanking! I was very hesitant because I’m really not a fan of calling strangers, much less calling them to talk politics. But I very quickly realized it’s really not that bad! I had a couple people hang up, a few more who weren’t home, and then an enthusiastic Bernie supporter! If I can overcome my absolute dread of calling and talking to strangers to support Bernie I hope you can too! Let’s do this!
Hey all, so until Saturday, I was like so many others here who love and are passionate about Bernie, but haven’t taken that next step to phone bank (or be actively supporting the campaign). Whether you’ve been active with the campaign or not, just give this a read. Some of you might be able to relate to my story, and either way I hope it will be inspiring to hear about new people joining this revolution!
“I live near Bernie Sanders. Although I don’t agree with him politically, for some reason I’m always impressed to see that unlike most members of Congress, who have drivers take them everywhere, he walks to work every day.”