What I want you to know about working on a political campaign

What I Want You to Know is a series of reader submissions. It is an attempt to allow people to tell their personal stories, in the hopes of bringing greater compassion to the unique issues each of us face. If you would like to submit a story to this series, click here.  Today’s guest post is by Anonymous.

After a long day of talking with people in an office, making calls, and advocating for a candidate, I’m still going. I go to bed tired and wake up tired just so I can do another 14+ hour grind seven days a week. It is possible I might get to see my wife and child for about an hour if I’m lucky. I want you know that the people who work on campaigns are… people. This is our job and we have lives and families outside of that job.

I would like you know that the job we do is to try and make you care about the future of our shared community. I say this because you don’t. Otherwise we wouldn’t have jobs. That isn’t meant to be mean but it is simply the truth (at least in the US). In a presidential year the general election sees only 67% of registered voters vote. That is just registered voters, not those eligible to vote if they wished to. In off-year elections, it drops to roughly 33% and primaries are worse.  

I would like you know that we hate all things about election season that you hate. We hate negative ads. In reality though, some of you really like negative ads and it fires you up to work and advocate (much more so than positive information about the candidate). Others it drives away from voting. If you are leading a cause, wouldn’t you want to embolden your supporters and frustrate those against you? Of course, so that is why ads are negative… because they have more impact than the positive ones have. In the last 50 years there was only one positive ad which produced a sustained effect and that was Reagan’s “Morning in America” ad.  

We hate calling you at supper time or going door to door on a Sunday. I would rather be watching football too. However, we do it then because we know you are home. I would like you to know that it hurts us when you cuss and scream at us. We are just trying to get you to be involved in something that directly affects your life. We are people, we have emotions and we are ultimately doing this because we care. 
Since, you aren’t civically motivated we have to pump out ads, calls, mailers, and door hangers. This means a campaign has to have money. I would like you know that we hate the money wasted on these things. Most of this stuff only yields a 2-4% response. We know it’s a waste but other than mandating voting it is the only way we have to try and motivate you to be involved.  
I would like you to know that most of us aren’t corrupt or money driven. We pick the races we work on and normally we are believers. We would love you know our candidate how we know them without all gimmicks. However, that type of candidate will never win because the public will ignore them. We hate that a candidate’s message and viability is reduced to the size of their checkbook. I would like you to know that at the end of the day all I want is to make our shared community a better place for my family. I do what I do to provide for them and I miss being with them. Families are the first casualty in the political world. So next time you hear a voice calling you at supper time, please remember that we are people just like you.




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