Nobody loves canvassing. If you enjoy knocking on someone’s door and trying to sell them something, you are in the minority. (And if that describes you, then you are a beautiful unicorn and should be cherished by all those around you.)
I can’t say I love walking around every summer in the Tennessee heat, knocking endlessly and hoping that the husband doesn’t answer the door, because the husband is the one that’s most likely to be a conservative, but then also hoping the wife doesn’t answer because she’s most likely to slam the door in my face.
But I do it.
Why? A few reasons. One is that people will surprise you, and are often not nearly a cruel as you expect them to be. (I once had a very Republican older gentlemen tell me, right after dismissively shoving the Democrat’s palm card back into my hands, that I was doing a great job and should keep up the good work. He meant it.) Most importantly, I do it because I have never given up hope in a better Tennessee. But with that hope comes another, more practical reason: I do it because it works.
Anyone who has ever seriously worked on a campaign will tell you that the old-fashioned stuff still works. TV commercials, paid phone programs, social media campaigns and digital ads help you out, but nothing beats person-to-person interaction. That’s why Democrats, with all of our superior technology, still rely on grassroots canvassing as our chief means of reaching out to our voters.
I do it because I have never given up hope in a better Tennessee … I do it because it works.
If that seems weird to you – after all, you hate it when people knock on your door, and you believe TV ads make a big impact on you – you have to step back and think about it. Did you try a new clothing store because you saw a billboard for it, or because your friend told you it was great? Of course, your friend’s recommendation did it for you, right? Now change that friend to a stranger you met on the bus. The stranger is well-dressed, about your age and has a similar body type, so you know if he or she recommends this place, you are going to find stuff that fits you and you’ll like it. That interaction would probably still be much more convincing than a seeing a billboard, TV commercial, and digital ad combined. An ad is designed to sell things. A person doesn’t have to give this recommendation – they do so simply because they believe in the product, the store, or, in our case, the candidate.
When a person knocks on your door and tells you about a candidate you’ve never heard of, you are processing that person just as much as you process the information about the candidate. And if the canvasser looks enthusiastic, or relatable, or knowledgeable on the subject, there’s a good chance of making a lasting impression. Someone who receives that message might not say it right there on the door, but they are going to remember that interaction – and you hope they remember in the voting booth.
We’ve got just a few weeks left before our community heads to the polls. I hope that you will join DCYD in taking up your clipboard and heading to the doors of your neighbors. In Davidson County, there are several incumbent representatives fighting to keep their seats, as well as two key races in which Democrats could flip a Republican district. Your help could make or break a race that could be decided by just a hundred votes.
Or, to put this whole post more succinctly:
Knock doors. Make a difference.