By James H. Read
The recognized Tip O’Neill axiom “all politics is neighborhood” comes alive during this chronicle of Democrat James H. Read’s hard-fought yet unsuccessful—by ninety eight votes—bid for country legislature within the socially conservative groups of Stearns and Morrison Counties, Minnesota. learn door-knocked 7,500 families in the course of his crusade, vacationing with electorate and interesting in real discussion on doorsteps from St. Anthony to St. Joseph. without delay a memoir of a hard-fought contest and a meditation at the nation of yankee democracy, Read’s paintings contrasts the trendy media-driven political crusade, the place applicants glean their wisdom of electorate from pollsters and conversation basically flows a method, with the type of real realizing of elements and matters that could merely develop from person encounters. Face-to-face doorstep conversations, he claims, provide a candidate (or volunteer) and voter a chance to actually convince and examine from each other. In a district the place the pro-life circulation ruled politics, Read’s invitation to in truth speak about abortion and reject single-issue politics resonated with many citizens. Refusing the “red kingdom” as opposed to “blue country” view of yank citizens, Doorstep Democracy indicates the facility and significance of kitchen-table politics—people sitting down jointly to take on the problems that impact us—and proves that electorate and applicants might be confident to alter their minds. learn eventually demonstrates how conversations among electorate interested in their groups can get us past the tv advertisements, mass mailings, and sound bites to rejuvenate American democracy.
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Additional resources for Doorstep Democracy: Face-to-Face Politics in the Heartland
Dennis Molitor also worked at Champion and had recently been elected to the Sartell City Council. He was genial and soft-spoken and incredibly effective at persuading people to contribute to my campaign. Without Dennis, I would have had to spend much more of my own time fund-raising. 28 ª How I Got into This Jack Kitzmiller, who also worked at Champion, took over as local party chair when I resigned to run for ofﬁce. He created the ﬁrst good database our local party ever had and did the same for my campaign.
If you treat what you are doing as natural and necessary, most people will respond in the same spirit. And in the occasional case when someone attacks you, calls you names, treats you as Satan’s emissary to Stearns County, you simply say to yourself: “I am probably not going to get this vote. ” Every doorstep is a fresh beginning. The longer the campaign goes on, the more you enjoy the door knocking in comparison to everything else that you spend time on. Asking strangers for votes is more enjoyable than asking supporters for money, begging the press to cover your campaign (or responding to distorted coverage), replying to attack ads, meeting with lobbyists who do not care which candidate wins as long as they have access to both, trying to persuade state party operatives your campaign is a competitive one, and attending timeconsuming events where you have little chance to speak but it would look bad to be absent.
Chapter two * Doorstep Conversations I march along to the next house, careful not to endanger a vote by cutting across the lawn. I record the street address and the name if visible on the mailbox. On my way up the driveway I look for politically revealing bumper stickers, yard signs, and posters. I carry a handful of campaign brochures and a clipboard (which I try to keep inconspicuous) on which I record each contact’s sex, ﬁrst and last name if they are willing to reveal it, and an estimate of their age.
Doorstep Democracy: Face-to-Face Politics in the Heartland by James H. Read