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Sunday, August 31, 2008

Because Importing Hordes of Young Volunteers Worked So Well For Howard Dean in Iowa in 2004

posted by on August 31 at 13:47 PM

Slog tipper Jason writes…

The idea is that there are (a) underemployed, overeducated young people in blue states that want to get to battleground states, and there are (b) rich, old people who have too many frequent flier miles or want to help the campaign in a personal way. We connect these two groups so that rich people can buy young people plane tickets to the swing states and the young people can work like slaves on the campaign.

So Jason helped start in order hook young people with free time up with old people with frequent flier miles.

Hm. I’m thinking it might be better if the Obama camp recruited red-state volunteers in actual red states. Because, you see, Karl Rove’s flying assmonkeys—experts at stoking cultural resentment—would be delighted to see hordes of earnest young 20-somethings from blue states descending on red states. Hell, they’d be delighted to see a trickle, which they will portray as a horde, in an effort to discredit indigenous red-state volunteers already working on the Obama campaign.

Instead of leaving Seattle or Boston or SF to canvas the rubes in Wyoming or Indiana or Florida, it might be better idea for those underemployed, overeducated young Obama supporters in blue states to get a second job—even a crap one—and donate whatever money they make to the Obama campaign, which could turn around and spend their money on ads and field offices and identifying and recruiting volunteers in red states.

Anyone want to check and see if is available?

But, hey, if you simply must “travel for change,” please don’t all wear orange hats, okay?

RSS icon Comments


I could not agree more. The Youthful Orange Hat Brigade bugged the hell out of my 35-year-old liberal ass in 2004, I can only imagine how poorly they played to older moderates and conservatives.

Posted by DOUG. | August 31, 2008 1:57 PM
2 thilly! I agree with you, for once. It is simply stupid to think some kids from elsewhere are going to convince red staters of anything.

Posted by calvin | August 31, 2008 1:58 PM

When Fox and The Washington Times can't think of a substantive criticism, they fall back on snide mockery of idealistic, privileged youth. Which is a clue you're doing something right.

If the Obama organization is asking for people to travel, they probably know what they're talking about. They've been right so far, while every other campaign is floundering.

Posted by elenchos | August 31, 2008 2:48 PM

Thanks for the semi-positive review, Dan!

I got off the phone with a Nevada regional office an hour ago and they're in dire need of people. They seemed happy enough with our work.

If someone is going to turn away a canvasser at the door because they're from California, we're not going to get that vote no matter what. But if we have a thousand extra citizens on the street registering voters (the deadline is approaching) we can effect some real change.

Posted by Jason Prado | August 31, 2008 3:07 PM

I'm a very (very) liberal 50-something, and if the fresh-faced arrogant proselytizing pipsqeaks showing up at my door profoundly piss *me* off (and they do), I can only imagine how much they'd piss off conservatives.

Posted by Old hippie | August 31, 2008 5:22 PM

I agree, orange hats are ugly.

Inspiring young people to get involved in politics however is always in.

The thing is, canvassing is not about convincing people to change their candidate. That hardly ever works. What it is about is identifying your supporters and making sure they have accurate voting information and get to the polls. And that can make a several percentage point difference, at least according to the campaign. So check out The most almost-fun you'll have today.

Posted by Alisa Whitfield | August 31, 2008 5:24 PM

Christ on a cracker Dan, your an idiot. Let's abandon the strategy that secured the nomination for a candidate that was virtually unknown versus the biggest brand name in American politics and re-defined the way campaigns are run now that we are in the home stretch. Just because you think that the best way to win elections is to write checks and smarmy slog posts does not make it true. Shut up, drive to a battle ground state and knock on some fucking doors. That is only way we are going to win.

Posted by ActuallyworkingtogetObamaelected | August 31, 2008 5:44 PM

Good point - people with time and energy but without cash shouldn't go to SUPPORT red-state volunteers and bridge the gaps between red and blue states.

No, instead they should use that time and energy on a job to donate to a campaign that's raising more money than any in history.

And I'm surprised you didn't mention another reason the Republicans will love to see blue-state volunteers pouring and/or trickling in...

...tender fresh meat! Most party hacks have already molested-out all their local activists.

Posted by Alex Brant-Zawadzki | August 31, 2008 5:56 PM

Oh Dan, I would expect no less delightfully snarky a reply (I grew up in Seattle and am still an avid reader.) What we maybe failed to emphasize is that:

a) our url is (our bad or yours?)

b) We don't just send old people, but anyone with enough time off to and dedicate their vacation to something they care about. Let's be honest, the sad truth is that often these people are not my young peers. Many of our volunteers are over-excited and over-50.

c) We focus on the purple battleground states, and go after the undecided or unregistered voter; giving them information to get to the polls and make the better choice.

We agree that trying to change the minds of red state supporters is not the most useful thing, but getting people who are already obsessively excited about volunteering to the places where they could make the most individual difference is worthwhile, and a good use of my young-over-educated time.

Posted by Mesa Schumacher | August 31, 2008 6:16 PM


We'd rather not moderate your comments, but off-topic, gratuitously inflammatory, threatening, or otherwise inappropriate remarks may be removed, and repeat offenders may be banned from commenting. We never censor comments based on ideology. Thanks to all who add to the conversation on Slog.

Posted by Dan warmonger Savage | August 31, 2008 6:16 PM

Surely there is enough work on the campaign in the battleground states for both home-grown Obama supporters and visitors from away. Your point is well taken, Dan, but the idea is a good one and it can't hurt.

Posted by RainMan | August 31, 2008 6:53 PM

Most red states and more importantly purple states have very blue cities or at least college campuses. Out of towners would do well in liberal parts of red states pushing registration even if they can't change minds.

Posted by allierenee | September 1, 2008 12:43 AM

I wore an orange hat! Don't blame me, I just volunteered and they gave me a hat and I canvassed. And it was freezing cold in Iowa so the hat was hard not to wear. Who knew I'd lose the election?


Right now the Obama army is focusing on voter registration. People like you if you register them to vote. They hate you if you knock on their door in an orange hat. It's that simple.

Posted by Phoebe | September 1, 2008 3:15 AM

#12 is exactly right. St. Louis, MO, case in point, and where I'm going on Tuesday. St. Louis, if you recall, is where the late ballots put Obama one toe over the line[sweet jesus] in the primary. And they still have a ton of unregistered people there. And by people I mean African American people. And yes, I am racial-profiling.

Posted by Phoebe | September 1, 2008 3:22 AM

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