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I'm asking nicely.  By the time you're done with DKos today, I want you to click that link.

If you're on this site today, the chances are good that you have some free time.  You'd like to use it to chat with others about politics and policy, about what Democrats should be doing and are (or aren't.)

That's great.  I enjoy that as well -- love it, even.  But that's not why we're really here.

This isn't, at root, a debate society.  It's a community that exists to facilitate action.

We're here to elect more and better Democrats.

I want to ask for thirty minutes of your time -- time that you can leaven with rest breaks while you chat on Daily Kos.  Maybe it'll take an hour.  If you get hooked on it, you might want to spend more time.

I'm asking you to make twenty calls to NY-20 today.  If you want to, consider it paying your DKos dues.

Twenty calls.

That doesn't mean talking to twenty people.  There will be wrong numbers, people not home, no-answers, maybe even some quaint busy signals.  You will probably be leaving a lot of answering machine messages.  Then again, some of the time, you may reach some living human beings who are trying to decide whether they will support Democrat Scott Murphy for now-Senator Kirstin Gillibrand's old seat in NY-20 or whether they'll vote for the name they've more likely heard, carpetbagging Republican leader Jimmy "Disco" Tedisco.

Or they may, like many people, be inclined to support the Democrats but don't even realize that there's a special election coming up on March 31.

Tedisco has more money.  The Republican Party was very generous to him.  But Murphy -- if people like us do what we can -- has more people.  They have to hire people to do what people like us -- if "us" includes you -- will do for free.

The difference in this race -- just like the difference could have been in the LA-04 race last December that we lost by a mere 357 votes (!) -- is virtual phonebanking.  People from all over the country decide that, why yes, they would like Senator Gillibrands seat to go to another Democrat, they would like to drive one more nail into the coffin of modern crazy conservatism.

Talk is cheap.  Phonebanking is pretty cheap too -- if the people who talk about needing more and better Democrats in Congress act on their professed beliefs.

Once again, I quote mindoca's comment from two days ago:

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!

Get it?  This district is too much to reach in a short time by canvassing.  If we're going to win, it's going to be by phonebanking.

If you're willing to sign up and phonebank, let us all know in a comment below.  We can trade stories and encouragement and by our examples encourage others to join us.  If you're willing to pledge a certain number of calls, we'll encourage you to get there.

If you want some more reasons why you should phonebank, please read my diary from yesterday.

Here, once again, is the link you need to make calls.  Ready ... aim ... dial!  

Originally posted to Doane Spills on Sat Mar 14, 2009 at 09:01 AM PDT.

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Comment Preferences

  •  I just spent 35 minutes (13+ / 0-)

    making 20 calls.  The DCCC has a good list here -- not too many wrong numbers.  I've identified a number of supporters and encouraged them to tell their friends to come out and vote in what will likely be a low-turnout election.  In one case, a Democrat was not yet aware of the election; I fixed that problem.  I've left a bunch of messages, which are like robocalls but better, as they have the personal touch and show the recipient that average people are interested in and motivated enough to get involved in the campaign.

    The bad part is: after making 20 calls, I am now ranked #3 among all callers on the site, and one more call would put me in second place.  After only 20 calls, I should have a much lower rank.  With your help, I will.

    I'm a delegate to the CA state party convention in April and this morning (Pacific Time) is my training and orientation, so that's it for me until later today.  I'm shooting for 40 or 60 calls today -- 100 if I have the time.  Imagine if everyone who reads this diary did the same, today and tomorrow.  We would be the X-factor that the Republicans could neither control nor counter.  If that sounds good, sign up to call!

  •  A note to the DCCC (7+ / 0-)

    if anyone from there ends up monitoring this diary.

    The page is pretty well set up, but it's easy for people to miss the voicemail text.  I would consider moving it to the right side of the page, perhaps in a box with a blue background, underneath the "failed to reach" text in the red background.

    More importantly, you have no button for people to click indicating that they have left a voice mail.  Maybe you don't need one, but it's confusing for callers to figure out what to do when they're done.  I clicked the "Not Home" button, but it seemed odd to be clicking that both for people who did and who did not receive answering machine messages.  If you want people to do so anyway, please add an instruction "[CLICK 'NOT HOME' BUTTON WHEN DONE]" at the end of the suggested text.

    I'd also consider adding "Thank you for your time; we hope that you'll come out on March 31 to support Scott Murphy and that you'll tell your friends to do the same; goodbye." at the end of the answering machine text.  I think it makes a nicer sign-off.

    Thanks for doing your part, DCCC; now I hope we'll do our part.

  •  I will try to get on in a bit (5+ / 0-)

    and call 20. I love it when people actually DO rather than WATCH democracy. It makes me smile.

    Good On Ya for putting your words into action Seneca Doane.

    The meaning of life is to live it.

    by COwoman on Sat Mar 14, 2009 at 09:09:26 AM PDT

  •  I'll do a short shift, Seneca (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    AlanF, Team Slacker, dakinishir

    btw, I fixed your "phonebaking" tag - though it would be cool if we could bake the phone lines in NY-20.

    Let the great world spin for ever down the ringing grooves of change. - Tennyson

    by bumblebums on Sat Mar 14, 2009 at 09:15:20 AM PDT

  •  I'll do it but ,not today. (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    AlanF, Team Slacker, Seneca Doane

    First nice Spring Day here (about a mile outside 20th , alas).
    First Day in two weeks I haven't been sick.
    Going for a walk ASAP.

    Will try tonight or tomorrow night.

    "We fight, get beat, rise, and fight again." General Nathanael Greene, Continental Army, April, 1781.

    by faithnomore on Sat Mar 14, 2009 at 09:39:52 AM PDT

  •  My preparation before starting (4+ / 0-)

    I wanted to have something to say before making calls. Gillibrand's ad was not very full of content (Murphy created 1000 jobs -- what kind, and how?). Went to Scott Murphy's site and watched his ads. Okay, I get it. Murphy has created jobs in green energy and the internet (how, I don't know -- can anyone clue me in?), and he supports Obama's stimulus plan. Tedisco refuses to say whether he supports the plan, and he's been called on that refusal by, among others, his hometown newspaper. Murphy supports SCHIP and stem cell research. Okay, I still don't know a ton about him, but enough to try some calls.

    If you can tell us why Murphy is good and Tedisco is bad, you will add a lot of value to this diary. And I think you are right on target in identifying how DK readers can be useful. You stop short of saying "Stop chatting and start doing something!" but the message is clear. I would argue that, sadly, DK is, fundamentally, a debate society rather than an action site, but fortunately, there are people like you who make worthwhile exceptions.

    Okay, I'll try making some calls. Let's see whether I can make it to the #2 spot!

    Thanks, Seneca.

    Interested in interviewing your favorite progressive talk radio host? Join our diary group! Click my name to find my address, then send me a note.

    by AlanF on Sat Mar 14, 2009 at 09:40:21 AM PDT

    •  Thanks for the thoughtful reply, Alan (4+ / 0-)

      I appreciate your coming out and helping.  But your post did provoke a thought: we should keep an eye on what we're doing when calling, and what we're doing on the phone may be much less, much simpler, much more routinized, then what we're capable of doing.

      I've enjoyed, at times, debating with people I call -- for example, here -- and occasionally, as here, spending insane amounts of time with a single voter.  But generally, doing that is neither necessary nor advisable.  We're involved in a wholesale business here.

      The message we have to get out is simple:

      There is an election on March 31.  Scott Murphy is the Democrat.  Vote for Scott Murphy.  He will support Obama.  We need your vote.

      That's enough to win a vote.  If there's an undecided voter out there, it may take more time to win them over, but in that case they can be sent to the website or called back later (once one is armed) for a longer discussion.  If someone asks me "what jobs?", I'm likely to refer him or her (with feigned excitement at their interest) to the website; the website is there for the more detailed retail push.  Here, given that even at our best we will probably make it through only a small portion of the DCCC's list, the idea is to identify supporters for GOTV, get them aware of the election and (ideally) notifying their friends about it, and move on to the next call.  It's a brutal economy, but that's how it works best.

      There are some brilliant people here and it's hard to think of ourselves, as excellent debaters, as mere cogs in a "reaching voters" machine, but that is what we become.  It should be enough: like Woody Guthrie's guitar, "this machine kills fascists" (or, in this case, at least "radical conservatives.")

      •  You're right for the most part (4+ / 0-)

        but without those 10 minutes of prep on my time, I felt like a fraud, even if no one called me on it. Now I feel like I have (slightly) more information behind me than I'm relaying to callers, which is how I want to feel.

        Interested in interviewing your favorite progressive talk radio host? Join our diary group! Click my name to find my address, then send me a note.

        by AlanF on Sat Mar 14, 2009 at 10:10:39 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Fair enough (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          AlanF, bumblebums, Team Slacker

          I just want people to know that they don't have to be that prepared to make calls.  By far most of the conversations you have are simple; the rest can be passed along to someone with more relevant knowledge.

          When I got a call from an elderly Prop 8 supporter here in California this past election cycle, I was able to keep him on the phone for more than a half-hour, asking a slurry of disingenuous questions, before I finally told him at the end that I wasn't convinced.  It was great fun.  But we shouldn't let that happen to us!

  •  My local Dem committee (5+ / 0-)

    is getting together tomorrow night for a phonebanking party.  We'll be out canvassing shortly today, as well.

    Thanks for the diary, and hopefully it'll help motivate some people!

  •  Left this message on the DCCC site (6+ / 0-)

    I'm trying to make phone calls for Scott Murphy (NY-20), but the DCCC phone bank interface is awful. Even though a voicemail script is given below, there's no "left message" option. The closest thing I can choose "call back later", which is not the same thing. Presumably, a series of people will continue to call the same person and leave messages, which is a waste of time and could simply annoy the voter.

    Another number I called was a work number, which I thought was inappropriate for leaving a message. But there's no way to indicate this (no comment field) other than "Bad number".

    Finally, there's no "Refused to say". The closest options are "Undecided" and "Not interested", which are not the same thing. You especially should have an option indicating that someone does not want to be called again.

    I would appreciate your fixing this as quickly as you can, if it is possible to fix it at all.

    Thank you,
    ...

    Interested in interviewing your favorite progressive talk radio host? Join our diary group! Click my name to find my address, then send me a note.

    by AlanF on Sat Mar 14, 2009 at 10:01:00 AM PDT

  •  I actually favor the "no message" option (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Seneca Doane

    to increase call volume and likelihood of reaching live people. Any message left soiuld be extremely short, just party ID, candidate name and voting day.

    ....the only thing we have to fear is fear itself. FDR 1933

    by Tailspinterry on Sat Mar 14, 2009 at 11:34:40 AM PDT

    •  I let the campaign choose which to do (0+ / 0-)

      given that there are arguments for going either way.  In this case, they have included a voicemail text, which takes about 30 seconds.  Given that the main task here is simply including Murphy's name ID with voters, that's the call I'd make also, but I admit that it does slow people down.

  •  Count Me In. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Team Slacker, Seneca Doane

    Everybody else, just do it. Twenty calls won't take you very long. This time of day, on a Saturday afternoon, you'll get a lot of people not home, so you can just leave a message on the voicemail. It usually takes me about a half hour to make 20 calls but then again, I tend to talk pretty fast.

  •  Ok, I went over there (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Team Slacker, Seneca Doane

    signed in, made 5 calls.

    two answering machines (I didn't know I was supposed to leave a message), one "she doesn't live here anymore", one "he's dead" (though the woman I spoke to is a supporter), and one undecided.

    I felt like I was screwing stuff up so I stopped and came back here.

    May try again now that I'm armed with a little more information.

    Wish there was a beginner's guide to phone banking I could read before doing this.  Hate to think I might do more harm than good.

    Life is so difficult, how can we be anything but kind?

    by dakinishir on Sat Mar 14, 2009 at 01:03:57 PM PDT

    •  Don't worry: if you don't call people (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      dakinishir

      insulting names then it is very unlikely that you will ever do more harm than good.

      I was hoping to get people to help compile a "beginner's guide" in yesterday's diary -- there are lots of good comments strewn all over the place from the primary and general campaigns -- but I didn't get any takers.  It's a good long-term project for us to do through DKosopedia.

      The horrible truth is that for the most part, you are being a cheerful automaton repeating what the campaign has to say -- and that's OK.  In fact, more than OK, it's good!  The fact that you are a real human being demonstrating that you care enough to call makes you more important than a robocall, and it's the rare person who will give you crap.  If they want to debate policy, you just cheerfully refer them to the web page or the campaign for more information.

      As to running in to problems like "the person you called for is dead" -- which I guess would be coded as "wrong number" -- my bet is that your reaction was something like "Oh!  I'm so sorry.  I didn't know."  That honest response is, in my opinion, perfect.  You don't need to plan it, but you also don't need to suppress it or feel bad about it.  Unless it's very soon after the death, the person you spoke to has practice in giving the news.  As a well socialized results, you can trust in most of your honest reactions.

      Don't worry about not having left a message in those previous; that omission will not decide the election.  Just do it looking forward; knowing that you are making someone at DCCC who is monitoring phone calling happier about the prospect of victory.

      And, seriously, thanks for having the guts to do something you are hesitant to do!

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