This post has been sparked by an act of vandalism that taught two young girls to fear our political process..to fear the "other side". It was something I’d thought of writing for awhile, but outrage over a senseless act has fueled our community, and so here I am to tell you about a small fraction of Obama’s Ground Game in 2012, and why we will win this election.
Around September 4th of this year, Jim Messina was quoted in Huffington Post as stating, “The Democratic ground game will make 2008 look like Jurassic Park.” Referencing the technological innovations that the campaign could bring to voter turnout efforts, Messina added: "This is light-years ahead of where we were in 2008.”*
I smiled to myself at the time, knowing what I know has been going on just in my small neighborhood, in my small southern town, in this solidly red state, since May of 2012.
Skip below the orange curly to read more....
Knoxville, Tennessee has been divided into quadrants, and those quadrants into neighborhoods. We have houses at which volunteers gather daily to make phone calls. On any given Saturday, one can walk into their local Panera Bread and find tables full of volunteers with laptops and fully-charged cell phones, calling into North Carolina. Last week, in West Knoxville alone, there were over ten phone banks.
In North Knoxville, the mailing list is hundreds strong, with new people volunteering daily. And believe me, this part of the south is Bible belt conservative. We may not have hope – this year – of turning Tennessee blue; but we can and will turn North Carolina blue and deliver that state to President Obama.
Every weekend, cars full of volunteers drive over the beautiful Smoky Mountains of Tennessee into our neighboring state. Last weekend, over 70 went. Obama supporters in North Carolina gladly open their hearts and their homes. The volunteers start walking, door-to-door, talking to people about our President – gathering more volunteers, registering people to vote. The net widens exponentially every single day. And remember, this has been going on, quietly, since last summer.
You think the North Carolina numbers are just because of the opposition’s “rolling calamity”? I would beg to differ. Slowly, but surely, the troops on the ground are going door-to-door. We are standing by our North Carolina neighbors and saying, “We can do this. You have our support. We are here for you, we support you and we love you. We will help you. VOTE!” Every single person in North Carolina who expresses an interest in the campaign gets a personal phone call and an email and is welcomed into the effort.
"According to Messina, the campaign will knock on 150 percent more doors than it did in 2008, in addition to registering roughly that many more voters than four years ago. They are also planning a multiplatform digital operation to engage voters during the convention, as well as a "dashboard" that would allow people to organize unregistered voters or those not yet supporting a candidate by using the campaign's own voter lists.”
In North Carolina, he added, the campaign had 50 field offices, while the Romney campaign has yet to open its 20th. They are doing more than the McCain campaign, so I want to give them credit for that. But they are nowhere near where we are on the ground," he said. "We are going to be the only campaign that can both persuade voters and turn out our voters because of what we are building on the ground. They just don't have what we have."
But we are not forgetting local candidates. Down-ballot candidates are invited and often show up at our phone banks to talk about their own campaign and distribute literature. One of the most infamous Republicans we hope to defeat in the near future is Stacey Campfield – he of the famous “Don’t Say Gay” law in TN, who garnered international attention when he was turned away from the local Bistro restaurant.
Spearheading this massive grassroots effort here is a tireless ball of energy named June Jones. A Community Organizer for Obama for America, in charge of nine counties, one can drive by her house at any given time and see rows of cars in the yard and driveway, colorful signs dotting the landscape. My grandson and I remarked just yesterday what a remarkable location, on a heavily-trafficked street, she had for her enormous Obama yard sign.
Today, I received an email from June with this picture below:
And this message:
"If they think I am going to back down, baby it's on!! They might have cut up and destroyed my property but they only strengthened my fight!! Bring it on!!! If you have not been in this movement with Obama for America, this should awaken you to what we are facing. We need you! It’s time to be in it to win it."
So on behalf of June and all of the Obama for America volunteers in Knoxville, TN., I say this: “If this is the best you can do, you’re in trouble. If you think taking a pair of scissors to a sign is going to destroy this ground game, think again. You have just mobilized and energized us even more than before. Our houses will be overflowing, the phone lines will be busy and the cars will be heading across the mountain in numbers that YOU cannot even begin to fathom. Because we are Democrats. Because we love our country. Because we will not resort to violence and destruction to make our case. Because we will spend every waking moment Moving Forward for a better tomorrow. And because we work for Barack Obama, and he IS the President of the United States.
Please post below if you have “ground game” in your neighborhood or town, and if you refuse to be intimidated by bullies on the other side.
And please, K&R for June and her girls.
(June invites everyone to go to www.barackobama.com and sign up to volunteer and, in the Knoxville area, contact her at JuneheathJones@gmail.com )
all Jim Messina quotes from Huffington Post
Crossposted at Democratic Underground
4:06 PM PT: The first picture was taken late Friday evening at the OFA phone bank, 9/21/12, and features June's daughter and granddaughter, who had a sleepover (and slept in their clothes). The second picture was taken early this morning, 9/22/12, for those "worried" about the girls' attire. And yes, there is a police report.
Mon Sep 24, 2012 at 4:38 PM PT: I went by to see June today. She was busy taping her monster Obama sign back together with heavy duty wrapping tape. Her plan is to place it up close to the house with a floodlight on it and a sign beside it that reads: "Property under 24-hour video surveillance" and then list the number of the police department. People from the campaign had already been by her house and dropped off more yard signs, which were quickly snatched up. As I put mine up, I was stopped by two people wanting to know where to get one.(I sent them to June!) Very exciting times !