Saturday, September 17, 2016

Pity the Swing State Voter

This isn't one of those elections you just let happen.  You make it happen.  You head down to the volunteer office of your candidate, and ask how you can help out.

There's a Democratic Volunteer Center just around the corner from me, and I've been doing a lot of phone banking on behalf of Hillary Clinton.  We know that California is locked up for Democrats, but Nevada's got some swing to it.  Harry Reid is retiring, and I'd like to see that seat keep its D designation.  So would Catherine Cortez-Masto.

Phone banking is the kind of thing I like to do.  I like talking to new people, and helping them participate in the political process.

If you're in a swing state (or even a safe one) you've probably gotten a few calls from people like me.  You might have gotten a lot of them.  And may I please say: I am so sorry to disturb you.  There are a lot of wrong numbers in the system, and sometimes I'm just sifting through a giant pile of them.  The bummer is that I don't know exactly what happens after I mark the "wrong number" box, but I can tell whoever is on the phone that I've done that.

This afternoon, I probably got 75% wrong numbers of the people who actually answered.  The good news is that most people who I talk to at that point have already decided that they're willing to talk to a phone bank volunteer, and are either going to give me a piece of their mind or just deal with yet another call.  I'll happily talk to either person, but I don't like annoying people so much.

The setup is a lot like I've heard telemarketing is.  Usually I'm set on an autodialer that screens disconnections or voicemail.  It's strangely compelling in a gambling kind of way.  I keep thinking "I should get up and blah blah blah, but what if the next call is a good one?"  I guess they're not kidding about that intermittent reinforcement thing.  So it's a good thing that gambling never appealed to me.

TL;DR I'm sorry if I'm driving you insane, but as far as I can tell, this stuff works for getting people elected.  PLEASE VOTE ON NOVEMBER 8.