Friday, November 4, 2016

Ground Game vs Air Attack

When I was a kid,  football was my favorite game. I was too little to play running back or fullback, but was fast enough to play receiver.

There were the coaches, adults, authorities, at my schools who would say, "When you throw the ball, three things can happen and two of them are bad."
I knew I would never play for them. All they would do was run the ball, usually up the middle.
Of course, when coaches arrived who knew how to use the passing game, those dinosaurs who did not believe in passing were quickly forgotten.  They simply were mired in old thinking and in sports, you have a final score. You win or you lose, so you can judge the truth of certain propositions.

Politics is like that now.  There are those in the know who claim the ground game will serve to propel Hillary Clinton to the Presidency.

I hope they are right, but I suspect they are like those old time coaches who just didn't have enough imagination, even nerve, enough willingness to risk.

I have been doing "ground game" for Hillary, canvassing, and I'm here to tell you: It looks pretty ineffective to me.

On a good day, we go to 40 doors and only 5 or 6 will even answer the knock or the ring. Most people at home on a weekend are annoyed, not inspired by a visit from a canvasser. Those who do answer saw our Hillary pins and answered because they are voting for her and it's like a group hug. About half, which is to say 3 or 4, are not going to vote for Hillary and try to end the conversation as quickly as possible.

We do not persuade anybody to vote for Hillary who would have voted for Trump.
Even if we did and even if you multiply the number of people we persuade by the total number of canvassers, we have changed only, at best, 100 minds, and God only knows how many of those will actually act on their new found embrace of Hillary and vote. How many later talk to their husbands who say, "What? Don't you know Hillary is a Crook?!" and so the visit changed nothing in the end vote.

There is a second reason to canvass: to be sure people actually go vote. Again, I can't see any data which shows a visit from a person they did not know, even if that person is a neighbor, really gets that voter to the polls.  I'd love to see a study showing comparisons of comparable neighborhoods where one was canvassed and one not and the outcome of how many voted from each. Of course, what you really want to know is how many voted the way you wanted them to vote.

I'd love to believe Politico and all the conventional academics who think people power can overcome the loud voice on the TV and the air game of a Donald Trump.

Having labored in the trenches, however, I don't believe the ground game makes a difference.

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