Time for work

It’s November 8, the day after. We won a lot of races. My candidate (the one I never identified so my occasionally radical and scandalous views would not be attributed to her) won by 54% to 46%, so I fulfilled my pledge to spend my unemployment working for someone whose Progressive credentials were unimpeachable.

And come election day, because so many of us chose to spend this year working for the greater good, we have fewer lesser evils to vote for than if we had just sat on our butts complaining.

But some very good Progressives lost. We still need them to be there for us as winners. We need to make them winners. The way to do that is not by waiting until a few months before a general election, but by starting to work for our folks right now.

One of the problems I found in the campaign I was working for (and I suspect for most of the rest) was that creating well-designed and implemented systems to make a campaign run smoothly cannot be done in the heat of the campaign, but absolutely must be done months (maybe years) before, while everyone can think calmly about what they need, and make good decisions.

So we need to start now to get ready for next time.

If you have been issues-oriented before, but haven’t connected with the party, start getting acquainted with your local township committee organization and see what they are up to, and how you can help. A few Progressives could have a provound effect on the small organizations that are typically starved for help. Howard Dean’s 50 State Strategy (running a candidate for all major races and never let the other side get off easy) is likely the reason why we now have a majority in the House of Representatives. So connect up with Corey Dillon and Corey Platt, our permanent staffers for the Missouri Dems, and see what they will need for next time, and be ready to get started now while we have the leisure to brainstorm new ideas, now techniques, new technologies with enough time to fix mastakes before we are in campaign crisis mode.

So start now.

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4 Responses to Time for work

  1. Jo Etta says:

    By well-designed and implemented systems, are you talking about computers?

  2. Jeannette Ward says:

    Certainly there are large issues to be addressed, but there are also small changes that can make things run more smoothly. For example, I worked phone banks first for McCaskill then for MO Dems. In the first case I was calling Dems to urge them to vote but also to ask them to help the effort. In this case I left messages when no one was home. The messages included a phone number to call if you wished to help. The next day when I called that number myself I discovered that the phone number I had left at about 160 places only worked if you dialed 314 first, otherwise you got a “not working number” message. Since all the calls I made were to 314 numbers and most of us understand you don’t need to dial the area code if you’re in the area, it is likely that those who called back thought the number I left (which included the 314) was wrong. In the second case I was calling a second round list with a “come out to vote message” trying to contact people missed on an initial call. This list should have been screened for wrong numbers in the first round and those numbers eliminated. However they were not and I had twice as many wrong and disconnected numbers as I did on the first list. These 20 calls attempted needlessly wasted time that could have been used more profitably. When I complained about it, I was told they didn’t have the people to clean the lists before reprinting. I suggested they just use the original lists which were already hand-coded for wrong numbers. Little things but they can add up to decreased effectiveness.

  3. numen says:

    Jo Etta:
    Well, partly yes, they need to use compouters better (or maybe they just need to start using them…). But they need to design how they do things. Right now, people do things just the way they were shown by someone else in the heat of the campaign. There is little thought of actually designing a workflow…because they didn’t start until there was too much work to be done to be able to afford to rethink things, redesign, and develop anew.

    Fortune 500 companies (where I spent 25 years) have had hundreds of years (and lots of money and time) to design sysstems to accomplish projects. And what they learn is preserved and sent on to future projects. But political campaigns are typically run by 20-somethings who are learning how to run one of their first projects. They are always reinventing the wheel, but with less time and money available. And what they learn is lost when they get a “real” job and don’t document and pass on what they learned.

    This is where us of the high-techie unemployed could be invaluable. We have the benefit of all that project management skill and experience.

    What we need is to find candidates (and campaign managers) with the foresight to bring us in when the campaign really ought to start–two years out.

  4. […] Tom Chapin says that the way to avoid crisis mode in elections is to start planning now: […]

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