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Los Angeles: Reformers Try To Match Union "Ground Game"

This is a story by LA School Report contributor Hillel Aron:

image from laschoolreport.com

The Coalition for School Reform has been running TV ads and hitting voters with a blizzard of glossy flyers.  

But — having closely lost 2011′s big-money campaign between Bennett Kayser and Luis Sanchez — the reform-oriented campaign committee is also taking its field organization very seriously.

Field organizing — also sometimes called a campaign “ground game” — is the mundane but essential process of finding, creating, and then motivating supporters to vote for a candidate on election day.

“These campaigns are, in many instances, won and lost in the field,” said Sean Clegg, the Coalition’s political consultant. “And the Coalition for School Reform has put together a state-of-the-art field program that is really zeroing in on our voters with pinpoint accuracy.”

To run its 2013 field campaign, the Coalition has hired a firm called 50+1 Strategies, headed by former Obama campaign operative Adissu Demissie, who’s bringing some high-tech tools and techniques to the familiar process of walking streets, knocking on doors, and making phone calls.

“We’re really running a very data-driven, metrics-based, technologically advanced field campaign,” said Demissie, who ran Barack Obama’s 2008 “get-out-the-vote” campaign in Ohio. ”We’re trying to talk to the right people in the right way.”

Read the rest of the story here.


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But where would the "reform" side get any volunteers? Of course members of the public with little knowledge of or stake in K-12 education fall for their well-funded BS, but those people -- being distant from and not very interested in the topic -- aren't going to get out and volunteer. The only way the reformy side will get anyone on the ground is to pay them (or otherwise reward/coerce them), which is undoubtedly happening and is inherently not grassroots.

It's standard for charter schools that have mandatory volunteer hours for parents to give them volunteer credit for advocacy, such as attending school board meetings to advocate for charter renewals. So those folks may well be doing volunteer work on the ground for the reformy LAUSD BOE candidates, but they are in the "reward/coerce" category.

Adisso Demissie's last comment begs the question, "Who are the wrong people, and what is the wrong way to talk to them?" I suspect the wrong people are those who oppose one's ideas, and cannot be converted; and that the wrong way to talk to the "right" people might be honest, open dialogue, rather than hit-and-run manipulation. In addition, I imagine such top political operatives to be pretty highly paid, and thus the tools of the plutocracy. Is this really what democracy has deteriorated to in the age of Obama? Such people and tactics appear to be effective, as judged by the last few presidential campaigns; but a problem is that, once an election is over, the winners are expected to govern; and the winners of our recent elections, from both parties (or, better put, our single, Incumbents' Party) show no ability to govern, and don't seem to know what to do other than campaign constantly, with a particular focus on fund-raising.

Ah, the joys of living in an oligarchy.

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