Today was another day on the road with RFD and FO. Today we had a morning meeting with the senate district whip for my district, and then we drove out to Boston to Headquarters. I entered a big stack of canvass data, cut about 40 turfs (that’s laying out what areas people are going to canvass door-to-door, and it’s involved and fiddly), and made a little over 100 calls in two hours.
There were a few snafus. First, when I was cutting turfs, the program decided that my turf was in the middle of the ocean off the coast of China. I tried logging out and back in and using three different browsers, but it kept putting my turf in the ocean. Finally I just gave up. And then, right in the middle of call time, my cell phone died. It was working fine, fully charged, and I got up to go to the bathroom. When I came back, it was dead as a doornail. Won’t even turn on. But I made the rest of my calls on what might be the only land line at HQ. And even with all that, I managed to make as many calls as FO did, and he was using two phones. Also, several of the campaign staff told me I have a perfect phone voice and dealt well with angry people. When I was in college, I worked for a company that did telephone fundraising and surveys, so I was forced to grow a thick skin. Even when people yell swear words at me, I just hang up, say “Ooookay then,” and dial my next number. I don’t take it personally anymore.
After call time, we all went to the intern party at a bar and grill near HQ. “Intern party” is a bit of a misnomer: the party was attended by the campaign staff, one of the interns from my region, and me. This is the third campaign staff party I’ve been to, and at this one I felt way less awkward and tense. I think a lot of it is that I’m finally starting to get to know the staff in person rather than just via social media. (There was literally a conversation that went like: “Hi, I’m S.” “I’m Hope, nice to meet you.” “Oh, I know you! I retweeted a bunch of your tweets.”) It also helps that I already knew the field director before I even signed on with this campaign. We worked together on the presidential election in 2012 and a special election in 2013. There were still a few moments where I felt like I laughed too loud or said something too weird, but I didn’t obsess over them they way I often do. I didn’t say a whole lot, but I was engaged, not shut down.
I can’t remember if I’ve mentioned this before, but RFD keeps saying that when my state rep retires, I should run for his seat in the state legislature. The first couple times, I thought he was just kidding, but he’s repeated it enough that I’m starting to wonder if he’s at least partially serious. It seems pretty off-the-wall to me. I mean, what qualifications and record do I have to put on literature? I don’t even have a real job, and “I’ve worked on a bunch of campaigns” isn’t a great record because people think they don’t want to vote for politicians. (What they really want is not to be reminded that the person they’re voting for is a politician.) I don’t know a lot of people, so I don’t have connections to rely on or favors to call in. I’d be terrible at asking people for money. I haven’t managed to finish my bachelor’s degree, let alone a law degree. I’d definitely drop the f-bomb in front of the media at least once. My psychiatric history might come out, and people might find out that I originally came to Massachusetts to get treatment. I’m not good at appealing to people from a values standpoint because I gravitate toward data and statistics.
I could go on listing reasons I’d suck at it, but the real issue is that I can’t quite believe that people would actually vote for me.
But there are also some things I could bring to the table that other people couldn’t. For starters, I’m a woman; both my state senator and representative are men. I identify as disabled and am very committed to the rights of people with disabilities, who are usually underrepresented in government. I have experienced poverty, hunger, and homelessness, which is something few lawmakers have a real understanding of. I am smart and articulate, but I’m not afraid to say I don’t know something. Then I go learn about it. I always want to learn more. And, perhaps most importantly, I love a good fight.
With that being said, I’m going to crash because I’m running on 2 hours of sleep out of the last 48. Hopefully I’ll be able to get out of bed in time to go take my phone to the Apple store.