Gearing Up For The 2018 Election
Updated: Oct 1, 2018
I have canvassed for Democrats running for the house, senate and for the presidency in cities and towns all over the midwest since 2004. I headed to Racine, WI to knock on doors for John Kerry that first year multiple times, once even bringing my then 5-year-old daughter with me. He just squeaked by in Wisconsin that year, and I like to think my adorable child won him a few votes when she appeared on doorsteps with me. I have made it as far northwest as Dubuque, IA in 2012, when I rode a bus with fellow canvassers from Evanston, and spoke to locals out raking leaves and putting up Halloween decorations on a crisp and bright fall weekend. "We are voting for Obama," the residents of this mid-size Iowa city kept telling me, smiling and handing me Halloween candy. I have travelled just over the state line to Merril lville, IN to work for Evan Bayh (he lost), out to Elmhurst and Lake Zurich, IL to help Kelly Mazeski try to win the congressional primary in the IL-6 district in March, 2018 (my efforts were not successful), and a friend and I knocked on doors in the economically depressed town of Benton Harbor, MI in 2008 where people were excited about Obama, but rarely registered to vote. And I spent three successive Election Day weekends in 2008, 2012, and 2016 with the same host family in Toledo, canvassing for Obama and then Hilary Clinton. Some Election Day weekends are better than others, it turns out.
I guess you could say I am a committed canvasser.
This year, I am changing my approach a little. I will continue to canvass for nearby Democratic candidates I admire in districts they have a chance of winning. But I am asking my friends to canvass, make phone calls, write post cards and become more involved for two reasons: Democrats need to flip the house and Democrats need to become more active.
Republicans have been active for decades. Presumably, Americans who identified as Republicans dislike the liberal wave of activism that overtook the US in the 60's and early 70's--civil rights, reproductive freedom, women's lib, the hippies and counterculture, anti-war protests--and they went to work. They held meetings in homes and churches. They started to organize and run for office. I don't have to tell you that Republicans have amassed tremendous political power in our country because they are committed to it...and they vote. Democrats need to step up to the plate.
That's why I held to Canvassing Kick-off Party to encourage my friends to become more involved this fall.
In the early evening on Saturday, friends stopped by for appetizers and drinks. I prepared dishes like this one, featuring heirloom tomatoes and mozzarella I had bought at the farmers market that morning:
Watermelon is at its peak right now, so I also served a watermelon and feta salad:
Friends talked about election strategies:
At the end of the evening, everyone promised to canvass, make phone calls or send postcards.
Sparkling wine, tasty appetizers and a little camaraderie can go along way to motivate friends to work hard this election season. Flipping the house would also give the Democrats subpoena power, and that's all the motivation I need.