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"If you have money to give, give what you can."  That philosophy has been one of the things that has made DKos and its fellow netroots websites a factor in campaigns over the past two election cycles.

There's a corrolary: "if you have time, you can donate that."

Donating time is easy if an election is being held in your own area.  But the netroots offers a potential game changer: now you can donate time to win elections outside of your area.  Especially when we can focus attention on a single special election of national importance, you can donate time to win that race wherever you live.

You can do so through virtual phonebanking.  You can sit at home and make calls to voters served to you one by one.

In New York's Republican leaning 20th district, which had been represented by now-Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, Democrat Scott Murphy is taking on the better known, carpetbagging, Jimmy "Disco" Tedisco.

We can beat him.  By "we" I don't mean Democrats generally.  I mean Kosters, virtually phonebanking, specifically.  We can be the factor deciding this election on March 31.

We'll do it through this link.

I post this diary today in hopes of organizing our efforts for a massive, fearsome, DCCC-attention-getting phone bank this weekend, which can be repeated throughout the week at lower intensity, repeated next weekend at higher intensity, and then repeated during the last five days of March at a maximum intensity.

In my diary of yesterday, mindoca made an important comment that helps to explain why our efforts are so critical:

I'd like folks to know that this district is huge and scattered all over the place (can you say gerrymandered?) and large swaths of it are rural, so...

phonebanking is absolutely critical to our success.  In other words, it is not easily canvassed territory, and wouldn't be even if we had months instead of weeks, so please get on the phone!


That's critical.  This is the sort of area that you only reach via phonebanking.  Our opponents often have more money than we do; that will likely be so here as well.  What we progressives have is more people.  Our people beats their money, if -- IF -- we do get onto the phone.

A comment from kath25 adds an important point:

This is so important. The more folks we call remotely, the more in-person volunteers can go door-to-door. Canvassing has a higher effectiveness rate in terms of persuading voters and turning them out. Back up the home team remotely on this one!

In other words, if we show the campaign that they can rely on our efforts, they can reploy their resources accordingly.  Team Disco can't mobilize anything like this and they have no answer to it.  They will not know what hit them.

Note also that while I'm promoting phonebanking, if you're in the area you can accept DrJeremy's invitation

Also, as I understand it, they are looking for experienced canvassers, and will provide housing, etc.  If you have some time on your hands, consider up trip.

and/or mindoca's invitation:

If you are in or near NYC there will be phonebanking from Democratic Headquarters in Manhattan and canvassing trips leaving from the city the last two weekends before the election.  For further information, contact the Manhattan Young Dems. (You don't have to be young to participate.  I'm not :-)

So many ways to save (our government)!

This is a sleepy special election campaign.  Usually, turnout in such elections is low.  The devoted efforts of a passionate group that has been aching to do more than just talk about supporting our President and our party can swing this thing.  We need to get Scott Murphy's name known and to Get Out The Vote for him.  We need to ask the people of NY-20 to support our President and save our economy.

Here's what we need:

(1) Rec this diary.  I pretty much never ask this when a diary just presents my own bloviations; when I'm writing for a greater cause, though, I want people to see it.

(2) Let us know in comments if you have visited the DCCC phonebanking site and signed up.

(3) Let us know how many calls you pledge to make.

(4) Let us know if you can be part of a sort of liveblog-style effort to give people to talk to each other, provide mutual support, provide tips on what works, complain constructively about what needs to be fixed, and complain less constructively about what needs to be vented.

(5) Let us know if you can volunteer to post a diary to facilitate the efforts.  We should have one main diary that will hopefully stay on the rec list all day tomorrow, but there can be others encouraging people to join the phonebanking campaign.  I am on the West Coast and am entertaining in-laws from Manila, so I doubt if I'm going to be up in time to post such a diary by 9 a.m. or so Eastern Time.  If someone wants a good shot at spending the day on the Rec List, step forward and volunteer.

(6) We need to gather a lot of good information, especially from the past election cycle, about "How to Phonebank."  I've written a few such diaries, as have mindoca, Elise, and others.  Ideally, we can put together an "Off-the-Shelf Instruction Manual" that we can whip out for any election like this.  If you're willing to do some searches -- not all at once, folks, don't break "Search" (which I've already done once in a diary on a different topic) -- for diaries and comments with the appropriate tags or terms, that would be very helpful for whoever constructs the diary for tomorrow.  Post your findings in comments.

(7) Please spread the word to other blogs; this ought to be a netroots effort, not just a DKos effort.

(8) Spread the word in other areas as well -- don't we want President Obama to publicly note the importance of this election?  Don't we want the DCCC to state that volunteer phonebanking is through the roof?  Let's let the world know that we Democrats have had enough of Republican obstructionism and we are taking the fate of this country in our own hands.

(9) Marketing: we should probably have a name for the effort.  Two obvious (and not necessarily good) ideas that come to mind are plays on "S Murphy" = "smurfy" (we do want to bump his name recognition, after all) and "Disco" for his Albany-poisoned opponent.  I'm thinking of "Disco Inferno," but someone out there will inevitably have a better idea -- and someone else will have some mad Photoshop skills.

(10) Follow through on your commitments and let us know you're doing so!  Take part in discussions tomorrow, bestowing and receiving praise and good feelings for our group effort.

= = = = = = = = = = =

The fact that we can win this election has a flip side: we can also blow it.  We did that once, late last year.

I have had what may be the most obnoxious sig line on this site for the past several months:

Never forget or repeat our 2008 failure in LA-04. Carmouche.

If this positive approach has energized you, great.  If you're more energized by considering the bad consequences of a failure to act, take a stiff drink (if you're so inclined) and follow that link.  In LA-04's race last year, with an imperfect but still far preferable Democratic candidate, this site by and large sat on its hands in the days leading up to the election, then gathered around and followed those election results that -- in a final, stomach-turning reversal -- showed our candidate losing by only 357 votes in a race where African-American turnout was only 15%.  I wrote this in the election results diary:

If the energy that had gone into following this diary this evening had gone into making phone calls over the past two days, Carmouche would likely have won.

I don't enjoy being Cassandra, but I hope that this is the biggest kick in the ass this site could possibly have.  We could have changed this result.  We sat on our hands.  I hope that we return to being the Daily Kos that would have changed it.

A rotten Republican representative is in office today because we, understandably exhausted after the campaign, failed to act.  If we get beaten after our best efforts in NY-20, so be it -- but let it not be because, for all we have to say here about politics, when push came to shove we did not exhibit the courage of our convictions.

I'm changing my sig line today in honor of this campaign.  Now, let's change what could be a disappointing result to one that reminds political observers everywhere that people like us, from anywhere and everywhere, can change the world.

Originally posted to Doane Spills on Fri Mar 13, 2009 at 01:11 PM PDT.


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