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Tales from 2016 GOTV: True Story

devjhhr5Yesterday was a beautiful day for voter registration in PA. I’ve been doing these events every weekend for about a month now. I live in the eastern suburbs of Pittsburgh and this territory includes some of Pittsburgh’s most diverse neighborhoods. Yesterday, I was in East Liberty.

East Liberty has been through cycles of prosperity and decline. It’s now on the upswing. Some of the typically hipster stores are there now: Whole Foods. Trader Joes, West Elm. The population is beginning to look like the future: Techies, immigrants, African Americans.

My method is to keep moving and to talk to everyone on the sidewalk, asking them if they’ve registered to vote. The response is overwhelmingly positive even from people who are already registered to vote. I get a lot of support. I’m registering on behalf of PA Dems but my schtick is non-partisan. We’ll register anyone because we have future canvassing events planned to try to persuade even the Trump supporters.

Anyway, I met an African American man on the sidewalk eating his lunch and we started to talk. He was registered and he said there was no way in hell he was going to vote for Trump and I said something flippant like, “Yeah, especially after what Trump said last night”. The man stopped and looked at me and said, “Tell me what he said”

And I found that I really couldn’t. I just couldn’t. I was so ashamed of the whole condescending, ignorant, insulting crap that vomited forth from Trump’s mouth. I just stood there and stammered and said, “Sir, I don’t want to hurt your feelings.”.

But he persisted. He wanted me to say it looking him right in the eyes. So, I gulped and told him what Trump said about jobs and poverty and “What have you got to lose??” It was awful.

Then he must have seen how upset I was so he gave me a hug.

Every conversation is an opportunity. I spend too much time behind a monitor talking through a keyboard and connecting to digital thoughts. But voter outreach is a different kind of digital diet that allows us all to be human.


Another true story: My sister is undecided. I talked to her last night and I was like, “How in the HELL are you UNDECIDED?? Isn’t this an obvious choice? This is not difficult.”

I can’t blame her entirely. People are herd animals. That’s our nature. And she lives in conservative semi-rural Central PA. Probably everyone she knows votes Republican. They might not even remember why they started to vote that way but that’s what their families and neighbors and co-workers do so, you know, vote Republican or you’re not going to have much of a social life.

Maybe I should be relieved that she doesn’t see Trump as an option for her this year. But she’s been marinated in so much anti-Hillary propaganda for so long that even though intellectually she knows there’s no THERE there, the taint of wrongdoing lingers around Hillary like a silent but deadly fart.

I gave her my best stories about Hillary from a personal point of view. Like when I got to ask her a question about infrastructure at YearlyKos in 2007. Infrastructure is one of the highlights of her 2016 campaign so I like to think I was ahead of the curve there. And then there was the time in 2008 when she set up a conference call with all of us unofficial bloggers to thank us for continuing to champion her during the primaries. Katiebird might remember because she got to talk to her while we all listened patiently- for a long, LONG time, but I digress. (I wanted to throttle Katiebird for bogarting the phone call but I’ve given her plenty of reasons to throttle me and we’re still friends.) That was before we went PUMA after the RBC meeting and we were all infuriated with the party for trashing our primary votes.

Anyway, my sister said she might reconsider if she could talk to Hillary personally. And it occurred to me that this was probably a good idea, not that Hillary can have a private conversation with everyone’s sister. But Hillary already has fans like us. We’re going to vote for her. She can put our ballots in her pocket. I won’t be upset if she ignores us for the rest of the campaign. But the thing is we line up and wait for hours to see her campaign events and we are genuinely enthusiastic and like her- because we know her and have had some experience that makes her human to us.

But people like my sister have only heard what comes out of the TV from Fox News and other media outlets that for some reason are desperately frantic to keep Hillary out of the White House and will stop at nothing to smear her reputation. They’re very good at it now. Well they’ve had 25 years of practice.

So, if you’re out there Hillary, consider a small, intimate event in a place like Central PA with a dozen or so undecided Republican women. My sister says she’ll take your call. You know how to reach me.


55 Responses

  1. Voter outreach events are wonderful. They can be a bit difficult for me since I’m more of an introvert, but there are some very fulfilling moments to be found.

  2. Thank you RD for all the work you do. A true activist…through and through.

  3. What a terrific post.
    Your story about finding it so difficult to quote Trump the African American man put a lump in my throat.
    It was revolting to hear Trump tell all black people that their lives are in the shitter, so why not grab on to the next available Turd.

    • Seriously. It was revolting to hear that and even more revolting to have to repeat it. I felt like washing my mouth out with soap. {{shudder}}

  4. have her watch c-span or youtube speeches.

    • She’s not really into that as much as I am. She’s more of a social animal.
      Btw, I’m not advocating that Hillary change her message or compromise with Republicans. I think that most people will actually like what she stands for once they can get past the inoculation against her. But more interaction would definitely help. Like I said, we’re already there and not going anywhere. Might as well try the undecided.

  5. A heartfelt piece. And I appreciate and envy your ability to personally interact with voters in a crucial swing state. I am in California, so unless I fly out to another state, I can’t do that; and even if did, I would not have the innate grasp of the area and the local issues that a resident would have.

    It’s discouraging that your sister, who undoubtedly is intelligent, has been so brainwashed by the right-wing propaganda and by the media, that she will only vote for Hillary if she gets to talk to her personally. We know that both of those forces are going to be spending every day trying to propagate and disseminate relentless attacks on every aspect of Hillary’s existence. How many votes can they influence? A vote for anyone other than Hillary costs her, because it is one less vote. It seems so innately obvious to me; I don’t understand how someone who is not a neo-Nazi, would take the risk of Hillary not winning.

    • I see it as a huge opportunity for Hillary even if it’s not feasible to talk with individual voters. Smaller groups, less distraction than a rally, that might do the trick.

  6. In 2008 I put all my support behind Hillary including my hard earned dollars. I felt it was time for a woman, and she was smart and experienced, therefore, a good fit for the job of president. I was so sorely disappointed that she was pushed aside that I changed parties. The bright spot in this is that during that time I, for the first time in my life, really started to pay attention and became aware of talk radio and blogging (yes, just then) and alternative viewpoints of various kinds and different sources for news. In the years since 2008 I have spent nearly every day listening and learning, and what I have gathered is that HRC is one of, if not the, most corrupt politician in American history. I thought her husband was a great president. Turns out he was a disaster. This is the first time I have come back to this site in about five or six years and I can’t believe intelligent people still carry a candle for her. I just don’t get it.

    • If Ashy has been listening to talk radio and reading sites like Blightfart, no wonder Ashy doesn’t get it. That’s what happened to the people who once congregated here and now meet over at the Fever Swamp. They exposed themselves to right-wing propaganda without their mental deflector shields turned up to 11, and got brainwashed. 😮

      I hung out at the subtler right-wing sites such as No Quarter for a while, too, but somehow I realized [ackbar]“IT’S A TRAP!”[/ackbar] and escaped, praise the Ascended Madoka. :mrgreen:

    • Well, let me explain it to you. I don’t watch or listen to most media outlets on cable, networks or radio. I prefer to read a variety of sources. And I read them because it’s easier to spot how subtle use of words can manipulate the reader. That’s harder to do with audio sources and almost impossible with TV where the choice of images can profoundly influence how we perceive news.
      That’s the main reason why we don’t see eye to eye. I don’t trust the vast majority of news sources. That includes CNN and MSNBC.
      The second reason is the investigations always come to nothing. After all these years and $$$, no one has been able to find so much as a parking ticket. This is indisputably true. And it’s not for lack of trying. The GOP has looked absolutely everywhere and put her under oath numerous times for a variety of “sins”. She has not broken any laws. She has not lied to investigators. And if you think that 110 misclassified emails out of 55000 is “extremely careless” then you’re probably one of those people who freaks out about cancer studies too. I can’t help you there. You’ve got to figure out for yourself if you want to believe certain authorities more than others or whether you will buckle down and learn to analyze data like a scientist does. I’m lucky that I can do that myself even in a limited capacity after working in an R&D profession for 25 years but I realize that not everyone has that opportunity.
      Nevertheless, we can probably both agree that the simplest explanation for something is probably the correct one. If I were to believe everything the media said about Hillary, I’d have to believe she spends an inordinate amount of time conjuring these twisted plots on Benghazi and whitewater and the digital communication network. Then she spends an equally inordinate amount of time covering her tracks. But she always gets caught but no one can ever get her on anything. Damn, she’s just that devious. But also stupid. It’s a wonder she can be left alone in a room with sharp objects.
      Or she really is just doing her job and trying to keep her personal email out of the hands of the media that is not entitled to them and there really were only 119 emails out of 55000 that were misclassified and as much as the Republicans would like to get rid of her obce and for all, she hasn’t done anything illegal.
      Until I see proof that all the time and money spent in these investigations and innuendos have yielded real corruption I’m going with door number 2.
      She’s as clean as a whistle. She been vetted better than any candidate we’ve ever had, and gosh darn it, I’m voting for her. She’s wicked smart.
      You can do what you like. Your vote is your own. And the blogosphere is a big place. You can completely ignore us, we don’t mind. Really.

      • I’ve been listening since 2008, so I couldn’t possibly site everything I’ve heard, and I didn’t flip my opinion overnight. It happened gradually as I’ve heard about the various problems she has become embroiled in. I don’t need to list everything as it’s in the public domain already. I will posit this- if there is smoke, more smoke and on and on and on, that begins around the dawn of her career and continues up to today—in full force, sooner or later one has to assume there just might be a fire. She is a smart woman and an attorney and knows how to two-step a legal problem. No other woman in public life that I’m aware of has been hounded like this. So, it can’t be so much about gender. You choose to give her a pass on the classified e-mails. Why does she get a pass when others go to jail? Taking responsibility for something doesn’t mean anything anymore. There should be consequences, but in her case, there are none, unless you consider saying “I’m sorry” a consequence. I’m sure there are many people sitting in jail who feel sorry. No the Democratically run administration did not find cause to go forward with prosecution on their presidential nominee, but the optics are pretty bad. Her husband meeting with the AG on the tarmac. He’s a smart man, maybe they just talked about the weather, but surely he understood how that might look, what that might mean to some. That doesn’t seem to bother him. I listened to Comey’s testimony in full and I heard him make it clear that she really can’t be trusted to handle state secrets properly. He said, “It is up to the American people to make that choice”. I mean, how much time do you have? She claims to support the LGBT community on the one hand, yet accepts huge donations from the Saudi government—one of the most oppressive to women and gays. And I don’t want that sexual predator husband of hers back in the white house. You seem to be very committed to her. Fine, but I’ll say one last thing. As a scientist you know that when you run an experiment and are too desirous of a particular outcome, that tends to skew the result. Thank you for allowing me to have my say.

        • Can you prove any of that?

          Please note that sites such as Blightfart will not be counted as “proof”. 😛

          • Bill, let me just reach over and push my “E-Z prove button”. I’m not in a position to prove anything. I’m really talking about a stench in air. (And please, no more cheap shots from you on that:) And I only go to the site you mention above to check on what Milo is up to. I like what he has to say about speech policing, especially on the college campuses.

          • Hey, waitaminnit…Joffrey, is that you? 😆

        • OK. You had your saying.

          You are not going to convince -with your sayings, anybody here.

          Please take a walk

        • You’re referring to confirmation bias. You haven’t been reading this blog for a while so you didn’t see what o wrote about Hillary when she decided to run this time.
          But what does it matter? You’re not winning any converts here. Stuff that bothers you either doesn’t bother us or we are very skeptical. So, don’t let us stop you from trying it out on someone else. Somewhere else.

        • Keen new astro-turfing tactic. Go to a pro-Clinton web site and say, I really am a gung-ho Clinton supporter … but gosh … aw shucks … insinuation … insinuation … just thinkin’ out loud here … aw shucks … insinuation … blah blah.

          Get lost.

          • Also. Interesting that these kinder, gentler astroturfers start showing up on pro-Clinton web sites within days of Trump’s Russian connection being replaced by an obvious ditz who, one supposes, was hired to bring the kinder, gentler woman’s touch to the campaign.

            Patronizing much?

          • I’ve started to suspect that, too. That’s why I asked if Ashy was Joffrey (the name I gave the Lefter-and-Smarter-than-Thou troll who popped up here a few months ago).

    • Listening and learning from what sources? Cite specifics for the accusations you have made. What corruption? What disaster?

      I think you will be pleasantly surprised by what a great president Hillary will be. Go to hillaryclinyon.com and study. Follow her podcast. Your 2007 instincts were right. She was a politician briefly as Senator–elected twice but served as Secretary of State–not a political role. What corruption can you substantiate in her one political role–or personally, for that matter? She’s attacked because she could do further good for the country, but won’t be benefiting the rich with more tax cuts or trickle-down “economics.”

      • Part of my response to your comment is in my comment to riverdaughter. Corruption allegations have dogged the Clintons for a very, very long time. Why do you assume she will not be benefiting the rich in some fashion when she is supported by the rich?

        • “Corruption allegations have dogged the Clintons for a very, very long time.”

          A well-organized, extremely well-financed smear campaign has also dogged the Clintons for a very, very long time. Hence, I simply assume that smear campaign to be the source of the corruption allegations.

          If the media ever find a real Clinton scandal, a large number of us will not believe the media. “The Boy Who Cried ‘Wolf!'” and all that.

        • The rich will benefit no matter who sits in the White House.

          At least Hillary Clinton is a responsible adult, which is more than I can say for the only other candidate who might win.

        • What corruption or corruptions specifically are bothering you? I don’t know of any, but would like to know what your concerns are? Have you heard any about the other candidate running for the same office?

          What media do you follow? What books have you read that give you the idea that the Clintons are corrupt? Would there be any motivation from the Right Wing Republicans to foster the idea that the Clintons are corrupt?

          Remember the Whitewater faux scandal? Totally concocted by the same New York Times that endlessly featured on the front page Judith Miller’s bang the drums for the Iraq War.

          The Clinton bashing seemed all too unreal for me, but did sell papers. To find out what really happened, I read Pulitzer-prize winner James B. Stewart’s Bloodsport: The Truth Behind the Scandals in the Clinton White House. There’s no there, there; but I did end up admiring the Clintons even more.

          What is amazing is how many people investigate themselves and see through the slime screens. The people I admire, admire the Clintons.

          Fortunately, I don’t have cable TV. Too much noise and fuzzy facts and “celebrity.” It is mostly screaming interrupted by ads for medicines that people who took care of themselves probably wouldn’t need. I have a stronger genetic propensity for diabetes than average, but monitor my diet and exercise so haven’t been afflicted.

          • What concerns me is a continuous narrative of walking the grey area of the law. Right now there is talk of “pay for play” through the Clinton Foundation. Bloodsport is the book I started with, but I did not feel admiration when I was finished. I listen to a combination of talk radio to the right and to the left so that I can try to ferret through the bias on both sides. The mainstream media is so controlled, I listen to it for the “first layer” of information only. Have you read “Media Monopoly”? It’s not about the Clintons, but is worth reading. My lefty sites are HuffPo, Politico, Salon, Daily Beast, Young Turks, and others; righty sites are Drudge Report, Infowars, Michael Savage, Limbaugh, Dr. Paul Craig Roberts, and others. If there is some site I should see, let me know. I’ll check it out.

          • “What concerns me is a continuous narrative of walking the grey area of the law.”

            Exactly–“narrative”. As in “myth”. 😛

          • If Drudge, Savage, Rash Limpbough, and Alex Raving Loon Jones of Infowars are reliable sources, then I am the Emperor of Japan.

        • Trump needs your vote.

    • The bright spot in this is that during that time I, for the first time in my life, really started to pay attention and became aware of talk radio and blogging (yes, just then) and alternative viewpoints of various kinds and different sources for news.

      GIGO = Garbage in, garbage out

  7. [wingnut]

    “We can’t prove any of the allegations against the Clintons. That just shows how supremely clever they are!”

    [/wingnut] 😆

  8. I was someone with PUMA inclinations in 2008 and was and am thrilled that Hillary is running. She’ll be a great president and frankly, the fact that she won’t be allowed to get away with the shenanigans that Obama has, is one of the strongest reasons that even those with caveats about her will find her a welcome change. It was Obama that compelled Hillary into Benghazi lies—Bill was quite worried at the time. Her state dept. put out an honest report immediately, but Obama gave her no choice but to back up (what he thought was) a face-saving story. Other examples abound. Now, as President, she’ll be able to do what she knows is right, and not have to kow tow to him. (Remember when Michelle said that if Hillary won the primary, she’d “have to think about” whether she could support her in the election because of her “tone”. Yet here’s Hillary bending over backwards to make Obama look good during his term.

    All that said, I think it hurts her to whitewash things the way she does at times, and it’s insulting and aggravating to her supporters. A single example pertains to the favors she did or might have done while secretary of state, despite pledging not to be involved with the foundation during that time. It’s not that favors were done that’s bothersome, it’s things like her spokesperson saying “ the agreement did not preclude others from talking to foundation staff”.

    Remember when Bill Clinton was president and they put out a list of how much you had to contribute in order to be granted various perks including sleeping in such and such bedroom? They didn’t try to deny it, it was well-known. This doesn’t have to mean anything more than that’s the way politics is today and no politician can fully escape it. (What ever happened to public funding of elections? Obama killed it.) It’s the feigning, it’s the pretense of innocence, the “Comey said everything I told the public was true” that embarrasses and nauseates me. I know I’m not alone. It’s like what the meaning of “is” is. I look past it, but I don’t try to deny it as many Hillaryites do. That’s a mistake.

    Bottom line: it doesn’t help in getting supporters to turn a blind eye to the fact that even some of her ardent supporters are embarrassed and nauseated by some of her circumventions.

    • OMG. Em predicted this person’s post just a few posts above on August 21. Bravo for your telepathic skills, Em! 🙂

  9. My reaction to hearing about the latest email kerfuffle was, “Oh, Madoka, here we go again.”

    Trump supporters and Republicans: Is that all you got? You’re desperate and we all see it now. There’s no THERE there. Flail around all you like, but you might as well get used to it: Clinton is not going to jail, and she’s not going to be burned at the stake. Your party is kaput, Citizens United is going down, Trump is going to get his a$$ handed to him, and that’s that.

    Alas, we Clinton supporters need to get used to our own uncomfortable reality: This is NEVER going to stop. The impeachment proceedings will begin on Day One of her presidency. The Republican Noise Machine is eternal, and its fevered derangement will grind on forever, eternally popping up nuisance charges one after another like mushrooms after a rain … a mad game of Whack-A-Mole … pick your metaphor.

    Some of these people are truly mentally disturbed. (Donald. I’m looking at YOU.) Others are cynical opportunists. (That would be you, Paulie.) But believe me! None of them is Ever. Going. To. Shut. Up.

    We might as well get used to it.

    • http://www.newsweek.com/did-colin-powell-advise-hillary-use-private-email-492376

      Joe Conanson on the big nothing. Turns out at least Hillary’s server wasn’t hacked, whereas Powell’s personal email on aol was. Also, all of his emails surrounding the “machinations” leading to the Iraq War are conveniently missing. Hillary’s emails were all saved for something to look through. Hope they are having fun and making good use of our taxpayer’s $$$. “Huma, where’s the fax button on this computer?”

    • I think that’s true, but if Hillary is willing to brave it, she has my undying and wholehearted support.
      Most likely, I won’t get another chance to see a woman President; a Hillary Rodham Clinton doesn’t just grow on trees.

    • The GOP-and-“independent conservative” Noise Machine is the McDonald’s of nothingburgers. 😛

  10. From Electoral-Vote.com:

    Twelve-year-old Boy Running Trump’s Campaign in Key Colorado County

    A 12-year-old boy, Weston Imer, is running Donald Trump’s campaign in Jefferson County, which is one of the most populous in Colorado and includes much of the Denver metropolitan area. Weston’s mother thinks this is good experience for her son. That might well be, but it shows how weak Trump’s ground game is. Experienced political operatives do not put 12-year-olds in charge of a major county in a key swing state. The boy said he is thinking of running for president in 2040 and would be willing to have Trump’s 10-year-old son, Barron, as his running mate.

    The local campaign manager is probably more mature, psychologically, than the candidate. 😆

    I reckon this kid will make “A”s in Civics class. :mrgreen:

  11. Not one media outlet, to my knowledge, is demanding Trump’s tax returns, his business partners’ names, or info on his business negotiations with foreign countries. The whole talk is about what Hillary should expose. No one panel is talking about what Trump should do and how many conflicts of interest he may have.
    One-sided, yes? And the Repubs and the media are getting away with it.

    • It’s sickening, isn’t it? SHE should do this … SHE must do that … SHE has to … SHE had better not … SHE needs to …

      It’s misogyny, pure and simple. They hate and fear a powerful, accomplished woman.

      I think she and her people are hiding in the weeds, just as they were with Grampa. When the time is right–and I’m thinking this will be some time after Labor Day, when the kids are back in school and the voters are paying attention again–you’re going to start hearing aaaallll about The Donald, and not in ways that the Citizens United Party–excuse me, the Republicans–would prefer.

    • Tonight, reading the bizarre comments on ourrevolution on twitter, I am reminded of Sanders not releasing his, either. And the subsequent purchase of a $600K vacation home on Lake Champlain…

  12. On a happier note, it was nice to just now hear Cher gushing about Hillary on Lawrence O’Donnell. She said that Hillary looked great and she was blown away by her speech. She said it sounded fresh and new even though she had probably given it before. (Yep). Another thing: she said she asked Hillary how she did it (every day) because she, Cher, was just dead after three days! Hillary said “I just love it.” Some of you probably heard it but it was so refreshing to hear someone talk with only admiration & amazement for H for a change. It is worth finding it when it becomes available if you missed it.

  13. You’re getting me inspired to get off my butt and start canvassing again! I remember all those little moments you have with people, even over the phone and you get to talk to them about stuff that’s impacting our lives. Gotta love activism! I miss having an activist job

  14. Hope that Hurricane Hermine (http://fivethirtyeight.com/features/hurricane-hermine-doesnt-exist-yet-but-experts-are-starting-to-worry/) lands very gently.

    On the other hand, when I first read the headline, I read it as HurricaneHermione. So I hope Hurricane Hermione lands with brutal force on November 8th.

  15. I have entered my guess on the popular vote on my calendar. I did give a 5 point spread. Don’t know if that is kosher but… I made it on the positive end of spectrum. Barring all-out war but even then it should be hrc.

  16. Anyway, my sister said she might reconsider if she could talk to Hillary personally.

    Too bad she missed this opportunity:


    A mere $50,000 and apparently all the lobster you can eat.

    • How is Julian these days? Still thinks he’s one of the Merry Pranksters, does he?

    • Propertius translated: “WAAAHHHH! I WANT MY UNICORN PONY AND I WANT IT NOW!!!” 😛

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