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"America has two great dominant strands of political thought - conservatism, which, at its very best, draws lines that should not be crossed; and progressivism, which, at its very best, breaks down barriers that should never have been erected." -- Bill Clinton, Dedication of the Clinton Presidential Library, November 2004

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Tuesday, July 08, 2003


volunteers win elections, not candidates

posted by Aziz P. at Tuesday, July 08, 2003 permalink View blog reactions
There's a landmark piece at Interesting Times blog on the mechanics of precinct organization that is essential reading for anyone who has the free time to devote more time to helping Dean win the nomination. The most critical excerpt:

As so many Dean supporters are new to active politics I thought there might be some interest in a primer on precinct operations.

I encourage Dean supporters to join their local Democratic committees. Especially those living in New Jersey and Virginia. Both state legislatures, along with municipal governments, are up for election. Because these states are located right beside the nation’s media centers, New York and Washington, and because these are the only elections this year, results will be closely watched by the nation’s power elite. I can tell you, there are few things more satisfying than beating Ken Starr in his own precinct.

If you have the skills to be a volunteer webmaster for a campaign, or assistant webmaster for the local committee, that is the same as donating $1,000 to the candidate or committee. If you have data base skills, and can maintain the list of identified supporters, that is the same as donating $10,000 to the committee. That is how valuable such skills are and I encourage the digirati to donate their time and skill.

Local Democratic committees consist of precinct captains and at-large members. I want to talk about the work of precinct captains because no other individual has more impact on election results. Precinct work is year-round and driving up the Democratic vote begins months in advance. If you want to shift your precinct by November 2004, you need to begin now and devote not less than one hour a month to political work.

There's a lot more to read and I encourage anyone thinking about volunteering to take a look at the whole thing, as its critical information. I;ve received a lot of email inquiring about how to help volunteer for the Dean campaign. Remember, always let the campaign know directly that you are interested: email However, as this article points out, there is a real and desperate need for volunteers to act on a self-organized basis in their local comunities - not all volunteer efforts need to be nor should they be directly coordinated from Burlington. As Alice wrote above, join your local Democratic committee and get involved at the grassroots end to make the most impact!

(and - don't forget to donate! the Dean Nation Rally is at 46% of its goal!)


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About Nation-Building

Nation-Building was founded by Aziz Poonawalla in August 2002 under the name Dean Nation. Dean Nation was the very first weblog devoted to a presidential candidate, Howard Dean, and became the vanguard of the Dean netroot phenomenon, raising over $40,000 for the Dean campaign, pioneering the use of Meetup, and enjoying the attention of the campaign itself, with Joe Trippi a regular reader (and sometime commentor). Howard Dean himself even left a comment once. Dean Nation was a group weblog effort and counts among its alumni many of the progressive blogsphere's leading talent including Jerome Armstrong, Matthew Yglesias, and Ezra Klein. After the election in 2004, the blog refocused onto the theme of "purple politics", formally changing its name to Nation-Building in June 2006. The primary focus of the blog is on articulating purple-state policy at home and pragmatic liberal interventionism abroad.