I have an extremely thin record of engagement with political campaigns. There are reasons for this and none of them are apathy, obviously. I care about the outcomes of elections. I just…hate campaigns.
When it comes to donating, if I have some money in my hand that I can donate somewhere, I tend to think about non-profits that are actually providing something to real people. Are you an entity that assists in getting people food, clothing, shelter, or medical care? Then take my money!
Are you an impermanent organization existing mostly for the sake of one person’s dream of holding office and don’t offer any real boost to people in my community? Um…I’ll be over here giving my money to a food bank.
But I don’t feel like I have the luxury of being a non-profit snob right now. Some of the latest research I’m seeing indicates that voter motivation is going to be a key factor in the election, no matter who we nominate. This lady – who got a lot right in 2018 – says that it’s really about getting (Dem sympathetic) people to the polls and, to do that, we need to overcome actual apathy.
Which means twits like me need to get to getting out the vote.
I lack the emotional stamina for face-to-face interactions with a lot of strange people. When I was younger I could have managed door knocking and phone banking but these days I am too accustomed to very controlled amounts of human contact – much of which is with people to whom I am related or married – so the prospect of jumping into an hours-long shift where I have to meet supervisors, fellow volunteers, and potential voters is just too much for my frayed nerves.
But this is 2020 and text banking is a thing and OH MY GOD! You guys! It’s like Twitter but with a purpose! I feel like I have found my calling!
I signed up to join the text team for Elizabeth Warren and I can sit at my desk and engage in written language (my favorite!) with potential primary voters! There’s an online system so I have support from the campaign at all times. Managing a batch of text is about 30-40 minutes of intense work then checking back for new responses for the next couple of days.
Am I changing any minds? I dunno. Probably not many but certainly more than I would change by doing nothing. Will I keep doing this throughout the primary process? Yup. If Warren drops out, I’ll do it for Biden. If Biden falls apart, I’ll do it for Klobuchar. I’ll keep picking candidates until we pick a candidate.
I’ll do the same for the eventual nominee, too. Probably. I’d be cautious before entering into a volunteer situation with Bernie supporters. The interactions I’ve had with them have left a bad taste in my mouth but I’m also confident they will do some great work on GOTV efforts without me. I’ll work for downticket candidates instead.
All of which is to say, we have entered the age of political action for introverts. I welcome it and embrace it wholeheartedly.