NOI-T-Shirt-Pic.jpg

1 yard sign = 5.3 votes

How many grade-levels behind the Left are we in political knowledge? 

We’ve been held back so many times that we don’t even get their jokes. 

I stopped by the DC Convention Center this past weekend to hang out and learn a few things at this year’s national RootsCamp, the grassroots activism and GOTV “un-convention” for the Left.

They were selling t-shirts, and this one was my favorite: “1 yardsign = 5.3 votes”

It’s a joke . . . a snarky, in-the-know line that a huge number of energized young activists and campaign veterans on the Left would immediately chuckle at because they know yard signs are useless campaign flotsom. 

An even better line would deadpan robo-calls, which many adults who should know better think deliver as many votes as kids think Santa Claus delivers presents. 

I shudder to think of how many millions were burned this year on those “touches.”

Anyone involved in grassroots activism, or interested in getting involved, or just plain interested in not getting our rear ends kicked again, should go straight to the Left to learn things that might actually help us win policy and elections.

And while you’re poking around all the resources at New Organizing Institute, ask yourself what our political establishment, activist groups, and political donors are doing that comes even close to what the Left has been doing for years.

  1. Egg_Shen

    The guys at Coffee and Markets just had Patrick Ruffini on to discuss his trip to this conference. I think it would be great if the flagship podcast could get you or you and Patrick on to discuss this topic.

  2. Adam Schaeffer
    C

    Interesting . . . I think the podcast is a great idea!

    What most struck me was that the whole campaign culture there was thoroughly saturated with testing with experiments . . . I actually got a tentative job proposal from one org that was really keen to jack up their experimental research!

  3. Nick Stuart

    I have to absolutely agree about robo-calls (unless there’s some kind of “I gotta have ‘em if the other side has them” effect that I don’t know about).

    I also question ”live” calls, of which I have made thousands. I suspect the pols like them because they’re some kind of security blanket. I’d really like to see good research on them.

    Spend the money on direct mail and door-to-door.

  4. Brian Skinn

    My parents are die-hard fiscal conservatives and are appalled at Obama.  Still, they got enough calls from the Romney campaign (live calls, I think – we’re in Ohio) that they started complaining to me that if they kept getting calls they might start telling the callers that they would stay home on Election Day if they didn’t stop calling.  I don’t think they actually would have not voted… but how many voters of less intensity were chilled by all the calls?

  5. Kamakazi

    If you actually go to the site and learn about the tools they have created, it will scare you.  For example, lazytruth.com will truth check incoming emails real time.  Of course, “Truth Check” from the left means “Truth Clean” so you are sheelded from any truth entering your mailbox.  If I had time, I would read more but we lost this election through being out googled, twittered, facebooked using the top talents from those very organizations.  We have lost the tv/movie/news paper information battle and now the social media battle.  Until we create alternatives to all those (We have won the radio battle for now), we are doomed.  Cheers

  6. WI Con
    Brian Skinn: My parents are die-hard fiscal conservatives and are appalled at Obama.  Still, they got enough calls from the Romney campaign (live calls, I think – we’re in Ohio) that they started complaining to me that if they kept getting calls they might start telling the callers that they would stay home on Election Day if they didn’t stop calling.  I don’t think they actually would have not voted… but how many voters of less intensity were chilled by all the calls? · 2 hours ago

    Edited 2 hours ago

    I had similar calls in WI. I mean, I volunteered for Scott Walker, gave money to several GOP candidates (including Romney) surf & subscribe to several right-leaning podcasts. Why waste resources reminding me. Have these campaign consultants concluded that multiple ‘touches’ are effective or do these campaign gurus some how get paid based upon them?

  7. Adam Schaeffer
    C
    WI Con

    I had similar calls in WI. I mean, I volunteered for Scott Walker, gave money to several GOP candidates (including Romney) surf & subscribe to several right-leaning podcasts. Why waste resources reminding me. Have these campaign consultants concluded that multiple ‘touches’ are effective or do these campaign gurus some how get paid based upon them? · 8 minutes ago

    Yes, many consultants and vendors get paid by volume. Ads, for instance, which ensures of course that you get far more TV ads aired than needed. 

    And you’re right, why waste resources on a sure vote? They shouldn’t . . . that’s bad targeting.

    As far as the consultants on our side concluding anything about effectiveness, they go on little more than their gut, because we, unlike the Left, do not integrate experimental testing protocols into our activities.

  8. Duane Oyen

    I think that it would be great to have some group like organized labor out doing all the field work for us.  and by all means, learn as much as possible about the psychology and mechanics of the electoral process.

    But I still don’t think those things alter the fundamental equation.  I read a piece by Daniel Foster at national Review, where he described how he, a knowledgeable and articulate conservative who understands public policy, sat down and talked at length with two undecided Virginia voters- and failed to make headway with them.

    We have an electorate, the majority of which is low information- which really means low thought.   1) In our Twittered world,  if your proposal or theorem (e.g., who caused the financial crisis, Bush or Jim Johnson) requires more than 240 characters to explain, you lose; 2) they did not vote for Romney- because Romney promised to fix the budget, and they were afraid he would.

    How do you fight that battle?  The only way I can think of is to find a pretty and glib figurehead of the Obama school.

  9. Misthiocracy
    R. Craigen: 

    The Tea Party kicked butt in 2009 and early 2010…

    …and what did the Romney campaign do to capitalize on all those potential volunteers?  

    The Tea Party could have been the foundation of a Republican door-knocking army.  They’d already proven that they were willing to get out in the fresh air in large numbers to fight for freedom.

    Did the Romney Campaign liase with Tea Party organizers to set up field offices? Did the Romney Campaign organize massive door-knocking initiatives?

    Nope. They relied on paid phone banks, robocalls, and ORCA instead.

    Boots on the ground, folks.  Boots on the ground.

  10. R. Craigen

    Yes they’re smart.  But they haven’t got what it takes to beat a true grassroots movement.  Conservatives can’t outperform them by recycling their exhaust fumes.

    The Tea Party kicked butt in 2009 and early 2010.  They were coasting on momentum when they swamped the 2010 midterms.  The Left and media party decided they were too much of a threat and started, oh, about a thousand anti-Tea memes to discredit them.  

    None of which stuck.

    Until … the worst happened.

    Republicans, by and large, for whatever reason, made a decision to agree with the Democrat/Media establishment — the most recent manifestation of which is the conservative purges in the house.

    We lose because we let them cripple our most effective weapons.  Every time we have a winning card, they declare it beyond the pale … and we agree.

    Republicans aren’t the party of stupid.  They are the party of sucker.

  11. Brian Skinn
    Adam Schaeffer  And you’re right, why waste resources on a sure vote? They shouldn’t . . . that’s bad targeting. · 2 hours ago

    Yeah – I gave 50 bucks to the Romney campaign in, what, mid-September?  And for my money I got an onslaught of emails and phone calls, many of which were (often annoyingly stubborn) people asking for yet more money.  My vote for Romney was a sure thing, and I wanted to support his campaign — but all of those calls definitely didn’t dispose me to supporting it further.

Want to comment on stories like these? Become a member today!

You'll have access to:

  • All Ricochet articles, posts and podcasts.
  • The conversation amongst our members.
  • The opportunity share your Ricochet experiences.

Join Today!

Already a Member? Sign In