Canvassing for Paul


On Saturday I met up with Mike Molloy and Harris Wells, two Paul volunteers assigned to canvass for voters in the suburbs of Manchester, NH. The Paul operation is not all sign waves and protests—the easy stuff that so many fringe campaigns do to create the impression of momentum. Hundreds of Paul supporters are piling into cars, navigating Google Maps printouts where possible Paul supporters (independents and Republicans) houses have been checked off. Molloy and Wells were tasked with knocking on 55 doors and dropping literature or, if someone was home, pushing them to vote Paul.

I spent about 40 minutes with the pair and watched them hit 10 houses. Four people weren't home, and one wasn't the person listed at the address: They all got the generic fliers. One voter liked John McCain's war record but wouldn't commit 100 percent to him, so he got the flier for veterans. Two were completely undecided, and one of them didn't know anything about Paul. One wouldn't vote for Paul because she wanted the strongest possible Republican candidate. One said he was "probably" voting for Paul.

Molloy wasn't always asking point-blank if the voters would commit to Paul: "It depends if the question comes in the progress of the conversation." His strategy was to start a chat about an issue and see if he could sell a Ron Paul angle. For example, that "strongest possible Republican" voter was angry about health care costs, so Molloy talked about health care deregulation. When I left he had a sheet marked with people who were considering Paul, people who definitely weren't, and people who hadn't been reached.

Here's a photo of Molloy's folder of literature and canvass data:

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  1. That’s pretty impressive. I wonder how many campaigners are that organized? Could be a good sign for Tuesday.

  2. So I’m curious. This may be hard to do but lets ignore Ron Paul for a moment. Are there any other libertarians canadites running for other offices such as Congress in this country?

  3. I would like to request a quick piece on addressing Ron Paul issues to friends/coworkers: how do you respond when people say essentially “why bother? you know he won’t get the nom.” Commenters, how have you responded?

  4. Commenters, how have you responded?

    I’m casting a vote, not placing a bet.

  5. If you’re talking to conservative-leaning people, you might mention that Barry Goldwater didn’t win the nomination in 1960, and Reagan lost to Ford in 1976.

    For antiwar types, you might suggest that Eugene McCarthy’s run in 1968 set the stage for McGovern to take the nomination in ’72.

    And though Goldwater and McGovern did not win, I think their candidacies clearly affected the public debate. Despite being trounced by LBJ, Goldwater is still cited today as “Mr. Conservative”…

  6. – Shouldn’t we be voting for the best candidate, not the one we think is most popular?

    – If you feel you have to vote for whoever everyone else is going to vote for, then you don’t really have a say?

  7. Commenters, how have you responded?

    One could point out that Clinton only got 3% of the vote in Iowa before winning the nomination… and Ron Paul won 3 times that amount. And his support has increased steadily as of late.

  8. The Chad –
    Short, correct response:
    Something about voting for the person who most closely represents your views.

    More effective response:
    Something about how, if the winner in NH gets 30% of the vote, 70% of people voted for someone who didn’t win.

    Smart response:
    It’s not a virtue to be someone who voted for the winner.

    Funny response:
    Who wants to be able to be blamed for who the current president is and what he/she did? If you always vote for the loser, there’s no guilt.

    Genuine response:
    I want my vote to count for the person who most closely represents my viewpoint. A higher percentage may lead to more exposure for my ideas and values.

  9. “STFU and think for yourself.”

  10. how do you respond when people say essentially “why bother? you know he won’t get the nom.”

    This year, it’s easy, since all the other candidates are equally bad. If there were another candidate who I didn’t like as much as Paul, but was acceptable (Chuck Hagel comes to mind), and who had more of a chance of winning, I myself might vote for him rather than Paul. It’s not so much a desire to vote for the guy who actually wins, as a fear that your voting for someone who has no shot might make a decent candidate lose to a terrible one.

  11. [snark]
    Genuine response:
    I want my vote to count for the person who most closely represents my viewpoint. A higher percentage may lead to more exposure for my ideas and values.

    Badnarik, 2004!

    Yeah, I threw my vote away, but Illinois was going Kerry anyway.

  12. A few points:

    Regardless what happens in the next few days or by Feb 5th. Paul has indeeded started to change the GOP.

    In my district we usually have 50-60 who attend party functions. Now, with Paul’s run of office we had over 200 who attended last month and over 75% support Paul.

    We who two members who are running for congress as Ron Paul republicans.

    Another point lets hope this doesn’t happen but lets say Paul doesn’t win the nomination. We can spend the next four years growing our base, educating those about ecnomic policy and once the economy falls flat Paul’s postions of history will make way for reeletion or first term in 2012. But in order for a 2012 win he must not run as an independant or it will cause even greater issues for him to run with the GOP.

    I support Paul 100% so lets support him anyway possible. Let’s use the meet up groups as a Ron Paul policy source and begin to effect change now by seekiing every congresss members support of various bills. Paul has more then enough people to encourge congress to support his positions.

  13. Darel99,

    I really doubt Ron is going to run again in 2012. He’s going to be 76 years old. However, it is possible that another candidate will take his place…though I don’t know who could credibly do that (Rep Jeff Flake of AZ or Gov Mark Sanford of SC would be possibilities).

  14. Thanks for the tips guys, great input (and no trolling, surprisingly)

  15. I’m probably going to be canvassing for Paul in my own area within a short matter of time. Having already gone door-to-door collecting signatures for his delegates, I can attest that it is a lot of hard work. But the payoff will be immense, if everything goes well.

    If you want Paul to get the nomination, you really ought to visit and look up your own local Ron Paul meetup group there. I’m sure they are probably in need of canvassers in every area.

  16. If Dr. Paul can get this much grassroots support, think of the extraordinary amount of support Eric Dondero will have for his bid for the TX-14 House seat! P.S. Dondi I talked to some people out here in NH from Texas that know you in real life and think you’re obnoxious, boorish, and a joke.

  17. Thanks for the tips guys, great input (and no trolling, surprisingly)

    Hmm… what’s that smell? Holy crap! I’M BURNING!!!

  18. There was a big push in the RLC to get Sanford to run in 2008. Maybe a reasonably good Paul finish would spark him (or others with similar values) to run in 2012. All the more so, of course, if Paul somehow wins.

    I think the GOP race will be decided in Florida, and I’m curious to see what happens. I think Paul will do surprisingly well here, but he’ll have to do better than that to win the state. Like shockingly well. Or, since I mentioned a Sanford, like “Elizabeth, this is the big one, I’m comin’ to ya, baby” well.

  19. Off topic, Huckabee supporters are funny

    We need Christ in our lives and Mike Huckabee will further our cause. We are in an epic clash of cultures with the Muslim faith. We need a man of faith to guide this country during this time. We need to stop abortion, stop gay rights, stop gay marriage, stop divorce, stop immorality. This is the only way we can save this nation.

    and Huckabee is scary with the whole “christian soldier” rhetoric. Yeesh.

  20. Breaking News: Howard Stern endorsed Ron Paul on his show today.

    “He just makes so much fucking sense!”

  21. Canvassing for Ron Paul = Pissing in the wind

    He’s coming in fifth.

  22. Great tips on canvasing there. Its fun to see what that’s all about.

    I’m going up with a group to Michigan next weekend to do the same sort of thing. Obviously, its a Romney state, but second place is up for grabs and there are a LOT of people in Michigan who are fed up with the government intervention and their failing economy.

    We’re still doing initial canvasing in Illinois with them being a part of super Tuesday. I think RP should make a visit and tell all the independents that since Obama is going to win on the Democratic side, they should switch over and stick it to the Republicans…and thath is a LOT of delegates if done correctly.

  23. how do you respond when people say essentially “why bother? you know he won’t get the nom.

    Short, quick answer:
    He sure as hell won’t get the nomination, if people don’t vote for him!

  24. Here’s the Howard Stern clip — just be careful because of rough language:

  25. ‘how do you respond when people say essentially “why bother? you know he won’t get the nom.”‘

    That’s fine. The republicans are probably gonna get stomped on this year anyway. That means in 2012 candidated are going to look back at 2008 to see what they should do differently. If Paul get 15% on the republican electorate ,the candidates in 2012 will want to adopt some of his positions in order to entice his voters.

  26. Trying to think of someone capable of taking up Ron Paul’s mantle in 2012 is pretty depressing. In particular, there really seems to be no-one else who can critique the Federal Reserve from an Austrian perspective. Sure there may be some low tax, small government guy to rally around by then, but will anyone else match Ron Paul’s understanding of the Fed, foreign policy and the Constitution?

  27. I hate that old “wasting your vote” thing…

    I try to ask “Did you vote for ‘X’ when he ran against ‘Y’?” ‘X’ being someone I think they might have voted for that lost, ix.: Dole, and ‘Y’ being the winner.

    “Did you waste your vote since you didn’t vote for ‘Y’?” “No, well, it seems like you did, you idiot” Something like that…

  28. This whole Ron Paul Revolution thing is just amazing. I want stuff like this happenig here in Germany. And it would be really necessary. This country isn’t on the way towards Socialism — it is already a Socialist state: mor than 60% of the media is state-run, going to state-run school is mandatory, 90% of universities are state-run, excessive welfare system, confiscatory taxation. It just a mess!!!

    Be careful my American friends. This could happen to YOU!!!

  29. If Ron Paul can win this guy over, he can win anyone over:

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