Right now, somewhere in California, organizers across the state are on the phone filling volunteer canvass shifts for Election Day. Data volunteers are printing stacks of call and walk lists and doorhanger labels. Phonebank captains are charging up cell phones and making copies of the script.
GOTV - Get Out The Vote - has started, and there are only a few days left to make a difference. We have to spend those days going all out to win. There's no other choice, because this election matters too much to California and to our country.
Everything is ready. We have trained and prepped and sacrificed and built toward this moment for months: it's time to Get Out The Hope.
For months we have heard stories of failure and despair. This election is supposed to be over already for the Democrats. We are plagued by an "enthusiasm gap." The President no longer can call on the legions who mobilized for him.
But I stubbornly see something else wherever I look. I see phonebanks spilling out onto the sidewalk:
I see 37,000 gathered in Los Angeles to hear the President:
And I see the World's Longest Phonebank that we organized last Friday at the USC rally. We asked people who waited in a blocks long line to get in to make calls to voters and turn them out, and over 1000 people participated:
I can't shake these images, and I can't let go of the belief that polls and pundits are missing the story of this election. I want to show that those first time 2008 voters will show up again. I want to upend conventional wisdom. But it can't happen without a massive volunteer-based GOTV effort never before seen in a midterm election.
I am looking over my spreadsheet and running the numbers yet again - how many volunteers are signed up? How many doors will we reach, how many calls will we make in a four day sprint to the finish line? And how many voters will we touch -- voters who would otherwise stay home but who could decide this election if we convince them to show up?
And will it be enough to make sure my adopted home state of California chooses wisely on November 2? Barbara Boxer has to win. Jerry Brown has to win. My family, my community is depending on it.
It was only two months ago that I wrote about going on staff with OFA for the midterm elections. And it is no coincidence that after signing on as GOTV Director I virtually disappeared from this site - the staggering offline workload made my online life impossible to keep up. But what I wrote then is even more true right now, as I face even tougher challenges than in 2008:
Hope 2010 feels a lot different than Hope 2008. Tougher, deeper, more dearly bought. I have learned that change is possible. I have also learned how hard it is to achieve and what sacrifices it requires. I have learned it includes painful limits, agonizing compromises, and sometimes deep uncertainty and division over the true best course of action.
And I have learned I can't sit on the sidelines and watch the fight for it.
This election can define the meaning of the 2008 election. It can determine the future of so much we have worked to achieve. So I am asking all of you to step up and give. For the next few days through Election Day on Tuesday, we need your time. Wherever you are, there is an opportunity, through OFA, your local Democratic Party or an organization you are part of, to make a difference in this election.
And I urge you to spend that time making calls or canvassing. Nothing beats direct personal contact with voters, especially targeted voters, in turning them out. We know who needs to vote this year for Democrats to win- the very ones who are less likely to turn out. We have a plan, a Vote 2010 strategy, that can do it, and the tools to implement it. But we can't do it without your help.
(And if you read Eclectablog's Recommended Diary from today you will find out a lot about that strategy and why it is a winning one.)
If you live in California, I hope you will join one of the nearly 80 OFA GOTV Staging Locations around the state.
Click Here to Find a California GOTV Staging Location On Saturday October 30
Click Here to Find a California GOTV Staging Location On Sunday October 31
Click Here to Find a California GOTV Staging Location On Monday November 1
Click Here to Find a California GOTV Staging Location On Election Day November 2
If you live elsewhere, just go to my.barackobama.com to find a GOTV canvass or phonebank near you.
And if you can't do any of that, there is an online calling tool which lets you participate from home.
For the next few days I won't sleep much or see my family or read the blogs. I will be living on adrenaline and coffee and the pressure to make sure we don't leave a single vote on the table. But I can't imagine doing anything else.
On Friday at the USC rally I asked someone to snap my photo as the crowd was leaving, so I could remember the amazing energy of that crowd and the speech. Having so many people coming together to hear how important it is to vote and participate means the world has already changed. And yet we have so much work left to do. Time to Get Out the Hope.
I am the GOTV DIrector for OFA in California, but this is my personal blog. When I write here I speak for myself. My diaries and all the words in them are my own.