Brooklyn The 2024 campaign just got scary for me. Sure, I’ve been following the Biden rollout and the Trump escapades and true-crime stories. Gradually, I’d convinced myself that Trump is stumbling towards the Republican nomination. The field over there continues to crowdsource a bunch of candidates that will dilute the anti-Trump vote and make his hardcore base even stronger. Florida’s Ron DeSantis seemed dangerous to me, but not ready for prime-time, especially given his early problems with the Twitter announcements and his wooden forays in the early primary states. His whole appeal seemed to be Trump-politics wrapped in a competent box, which admittedly is terrifying, but seemed to not be getting traction, so I was sleeping through the night without as many nightmares about the future.
So much for those minutes of peace before the storm. Now I’m really worried about DeSantis after reading an article in the Washington Post. His campaign is making a historically huge investment in door knocking in the Republican primaries. With his super-PAC they are going to invest $100 million in hitting the doors with trained canvassers. They have already started schooling people. There was a picture of a fake door that they were using for role plays. People, this is serious. TV advertising, bah. Social media, meh. If they are hitting the doors hard, they are dangerous, because there is no political technique that is more powerful.
The training includes the following advice:
Always be polite, the trainees are told by Joe Williams, who runs the sessions for Never Back Down, a super PAC supporting the governor. Body language matters. Passion counts. Never accept water or go inside. Mention DeSantis’s wife, Casey, her cancer diagnosis and his military service. If a journalist answers or the voter targets say they are steadfast supporters of former president Donald Trump, quickly exit the conversation. Push back on the mailers that say DeSantis wants to cut Social Security. Be ready with the details of Florida’s abortion law. Close with a caucus commitment card, when possible.
Let me tell you from long experience, that’s some smart advice. They’re hitting them fast. They are running from other candidate supporters, because they don’t want to mistakenly turn out non-DeSantis voters. They are even using our technique of getting people to sign what we call a “Count on Me” card, that tends to lock supporters down.
We’ve argued for years, no, decades, that field operations is what wins in political campaigns, and these jokers get it in spades. Depending on where you live, this horror is coming to a town near you:
By Labor Day, Never Back Down aims to have about 2,600 trained canvassers in the 18 early nominating states, many with hotel rooms and rental cars, iPads and evolving scripts, not to mention a paycheck from working in a position that is now advertised on job boards as between $20 to $22 an hour. The work will continue through March, with staff redeployed as the election season proceeds.
It’s time to get very scared and get very serious about DeSantis, because this program will work!