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View Diary: How to be effective about contacting your senator: What Really Happens When You Call? (144 comments)

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  •  one footnote to all this (none)
    Legislators don't change their mind simply to be nice.  And most of us aren't writing such brilliant letters that the sheer force of our prose will sway them.

    Instead, each call or letter is an implied threat - if you do the wrong thing, you may lose my vote, and those of others like me.

    Ultimately, the threat is only good if you make good on it.  Calling or writing is just a small portion of making good.  You also have to:

    • tell friends about the issue, so that the implication that every call is worth 10 votes, every letter worth 100, holds true;
    • find out afterwards how your legislator voted;
    • tell your friends how your legislator voted;
    • take the issue into consideration when you vote.

    I get lots of action alerts from one organization in particular, which will go nameless.  But they have never followed up and told me how my legislators voted.  So there is absolutely no chance that any of them pay any price for their votes.  That kind of letter/phone campaign is completely useless.

    On a different issue, I think this is why campaign reform doesn't go very far.  Lots of us moan about it, and even write letters about it, but few are actually willing to vote a Democrat out of office (and this goes for Republicans too) because of their actions and votes on campaign reform.

    •  from a former senator's mouth... (none)
      I was told by a former senator (very prominent) that you must tell your senator/congressman that they will NOT get your vote if....etc.

      He said they pay attention to this.  Don't imply the threat, actually threaten, in a matter-of-fact manner.  

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