As we have already pointed out, who runs the world? GIRLS!
Now that we’re all danced out celebrating the primary victories of the female candidates we endorsed (we’re nothing if not modest here at Seeing Red), we want to take some time to talk about campaigning. Many of these amazing progressive candidates will have a long road ahead of them to win in November. You may have read about the grassroots efforts of Kara Eastman and her team, here, here, and here, but today we’re going to take some time to sit down with Team Jessica McClure. Why? Because Jessica McClure didn’t just win the primary in Nebraska’s CD1, she owned it with a 2:1 margin of victory in every county. EVERY. COUNTY.
How does an upstart candidate blow an establishment candidate with previous campaign experience out of the water? Two words: grassroots campaigning. I sat down with two members of Team McClure, the fantastic Sydney Butler and Alexis Lipson, long time BFFs and two of the most kick-ass women in Nebraska, to talk about why boots on the ground matter.
When I asked how they won by a 2:1 margin, Sydney responded simply, “voter contact.”
She told me, Team McClure made over 18,000 calls to every county in the district. This was done mostly by volunteers armed with voter lists, scripts, cellphones, and snacks.The leading volunteer committed to one hour a week making 15-20 calls each week and she wracked them up. I estimate I called about 50 people myself. Modest, I told you.
These call weren’t just to anyone, these were strategic. Sydney explained, they pulled lists of people with the strongest voting records and that is who we called. We rallied the base, the “best bets,” as Alexis put it, who would turn out for a primary. And turn out they did.
Taking it to the streets
Team McClure logged tens of thousands of steps. They started canvassing door to door last July! That’s right, July 2017. And like the champs they are, they also canvassed in Fremont, Norfolk, Seward, and Bellevue in the months running up to the primary.
Jessica herself traveled across the district, doing media interviews for local newspapers and radio. She went to countless events and meetings. She walked in parades with her volunteers. She has logged some serious miles in her dedication to better represent our district and to bring science-based policy-making to Washington.
Team McClure put in the hard work. Women get shit done. But you already knew that, right?
The future is female
I, personally, want to thank these inspiring, hard-working, indefatigable women again for their past and future work on Team McClure. And Jessica for having the ovaries of steel to run for Congress. The future is female and you are looking at it.
And mad props to the rest of Team McClure: Danielle, Lizzie, Mike, and Erik. And all the volunteers who showed up and made countless calls.
And back to winning in November.
As we head into the general, Sydney said face to face voter contact will be especially important as Democrats are at a numerical disadvantage in Nebraska, meaning the team will have to work to win over Nebraskan’s many independent voters and moderate conservatives. Sydney and Alexis said, talking to people face to face helps build the middle ground that was once a source of pride for Nebraskans. According to Team McClure, it also helps people see that we care about the same things, like keeping our families healthy, even if we may disagree about how to accomplish these things. Alexis said, “Jessica decided to run because she wanted a representative that would listen to constituents, and now we have a huge opportunity to do that.”
For a candidate and campaign dedicated to listening to the needs of the constituents, this means a lot more phone calls and a lot more canvassing to “spread the conversation to different groups: new voters, young voters, people who voted in the past but have become disillusioned,” said Alexis. She continued, “the possibilities are limited only by our willingness to keep knocking…. which is endless.” You have to admire the tenacity of these women.
Here are some ways you can help per Team McClure:
Have some time and like talking to people?
- Canvas. I, along with Sydney and Alexis and the rest of the team, can attest people are usually pretty friendly when you knock on their door. And you’ll definitely get your steps in for the day!
- Phone bank. These ladies can set you up to do it from home, but it’s much more fun to go into the office. I count it as social time to catch up with friends and meet new people. It’s pretty painless once you get into it. There will be opportunities to do this for candidates and likely through NDP as the general ramps up. As always, we will keep you posted.
- Sign up to be a block captain through NDP.
You can get started by liking Jessica McClure for Congress’s Facebook page to stay up to date on canvassing, phone banking, fund raisers and other events. They will be canvasing this weekend, June 16th and 17th, and you can join them at 9:30 am each morning at Turbine Flats. Sunblock, water, and training will be provided.
Have some time but aren’t really a people person?
- Show up. Alexis and Sydney say they will always be able to put you to work doing data entry, stuffing envelopes, sending you on food runs. They are task masters and I believe them.
- Send texts. Just not while driving! Team McClure can set you up to send text messages to voters. Easy peasy!
- Write a letter to the editor. Care about an issue or a policy? Want to shout from the roof tops how excited you are for a woman scientist with a law degree to represent CD1? Send a letter to the editor. Although, I mean, you can yell from your rooftop if you like, we just can’t guarantee what your neighbors will do.
Have some spare change?
- Donate. Every little bit helps pay for campaign literature, gas, supplies, snacks, dinner for volunteers. If you’re lazy like me, you can set up Act Blue to do recurring donations and save Jessica from having to keep hitting you up. She has better things to do. (It is also super easy to search by state and throw some spare change towards Jane Raybould, Bob Krist, and whichever other candidates warm your liberal heart). Sydney said even a couple dollars goes a long way to keep the campaign running.
- Hold a fund raiser. Sydney and Alexis are open to any and all ideas “within the law.” And within reason. That’s a little more open to interpretation. This is a great way to bring your friends together and do something fun AND meaningful.
Bring a friend!
Like Team McClure, I’ve learned in the last 18 months there is nothing more fun than doing this important work with your squad. So grab your bestie and the rest of your crew and get involved. Let’s show Dime Store Lex Luther, Fortenhairy, and the Trump Muppet the door!
And don’t forget- VOTE!
Finally, I will quote Sydney, one last time: “the most important thing you can do this campaign season is vote in November.” Find your polling place here. Need to register? Do it Here. It’s never too early to start planning for November 6th.
P.S. If there are any Smarties left in the office, I call dibs!