Here is another guest post from Ed from SFV, this time about volunteering for Ted Cruz. — Patterico
It was a miserable, raw, and rainy day here in Northern Indiana. It felt more like late winter than early Spring.
I decided to go to the local Cruz office, not far from my home, and see if there might could be something I could do. I walked in and was surprised to see that young man from DC (I’ll call him John) whom I met at the rally on Thursday. The office was as bare bones as could be. Not much heat, either. Yet, there was a warmth to that space. A reassuring, nice, warmth.
There were a few rows of tables with some specialized phones. I quickly surmised one of these would have my name on it. The walls were sparsely decorated with some Cruz posters. Some bottled water and soda (Coca Colas to all y’all in Georgia) was on a table or in a cooler adjacent to the door. About half a dozen folks were manning phones. Only one was actually conversing the moment I walked in.
John gave me a big smile as he recognized me from the rally and I told him to put me to work. He handed me a written template of suggested phrases/talking points I might use with anyone I spoke with. Then, he gave me a quick tutorial on how to navigate the 3″ x 4″ screen which had corresponding buttons next to certain words which would populate. Some of these prompts said things like, “Not Home,” “Success,” “Refused,” “Bad Number,” and so on and so forth. Depending on the option chosen, a new set of prompts, with text at the top, would appear. Or, that call attempt would end immediately and the screen would return to the home page.
I asked John if there were any particular things I should avoid saying or doing and just as before at the rally, it was basically all about common sense. One gentle reminder he gave to me was that none of this was personal. If I ran into a belligerent person, I needed to be sure to not take offense. He said I should, “Just talk to them as you would to anyone about the election.” More rocket science, eh?
I was told this proprietary phone system and the numbers we were to call all came out of a place in Texas. I quickly noticed that all the calls were within a pretty finite geographical area in Indiana. It made perfect sense to me and it was an area one would expect significant support for Ted. If folks in that area turn out, Ted has a great chance to win.
I could overhear a few other calls as I settled in. To get started, I entered the common password. I hit the button indicating i wanted to make a call. Instantly, a name and the phone number I was calling appeared on screen. There would be bad numbers, answering machines answering, no answer, whatever. Most calls would not be answered by a live person, as expected. John had explained to me that Indiana law did not allow for us to leave messages, so we were to simply hang up (using the buttons/prompts) taking care to not say anything which could potentially be seen as leaving a message.
Most folks I reached were nice; a few were simply cordial. Once in awhile, I ran into a hornet who was not at all pleased that a political campaign (in some cases specific outrage that Ted’s campaign was calling), and not too many times, someone who was a Trump person, full stop. Again, pretty much what could be expected.
The only difficult times were when we had someone complain that we should stop calling them. Most of these were Ted supporters and I felt badly that we were serving to antagonize them. I sure as heck know how I would feel if I were on the other end of multiple contacts!
My absolute favorite encounter was with a lady who let me know in no uncertain terms that she was going to vote for Kasich. I asked if she would tell me the #1 reason she had reached that decision. “I am making sure that Donald Trump won’t win!!!” Hmm. I took that opening to explain to her that Kasich himself has said that the strategic vote to make, if stopping DJT was the priority, was to vote for Ted on Tuesday. She responded, “I don’t care about any of that. I am voting for KASICH to stop Trump!!!!!!” I tried to reiterate that only a vote for Ted could do that this week, but she interjected, “Listen, I am going to vote for Kasich and then in November I am going to vote for HILLARY!!!!!!!!” Click.
I had some very nice conversations with folks for whom morality, or the “Christian” way was the most important thing. It was a privilege to speak to them. I am confident that I was able to show them that Ted was the most consistent man. I invoked Ted’s famous reading of “Green Eggs and Ham to his daughters in the middle of a filibuster as the best window into his soul. This really resonated with most of them. I could almost see them smiling.
Other typical things the folks wanted to discuss: Who can beat Hillary? What about the debt – isn’t DJT the best guy to handle this? Ted’s likeability/niceness, and the perceived lack thereof. The inevitability of a DJT nomination. Here again – just exactly what one would expect. Not brain surgery. Just basic stuff. I loved telling Ted’s story, or his positions on these and other matters. The best moment for me was with a caller I didn’t even dial.
One of my compadres was speaking to a Vet who said he had a 100% disability. He had explained that he loved Ted’s concept for a flat tax, but he was very concerned that this would result in a VAT which would he would end up paying to his care providers. (Someone had given him this false information.) I was asked to come speak to him as the impression was that I was the most conversant with a wide range of issues.
No. I am not worthy. I won’t lie, though. That was a wonderfully affirming moment for me. I heard somewhere that it is better to give than receive. Well, if I were not there volunteering, I would never have had that affirmation. Must be true!
I spoke to the man for some minutes and it was entirely clear he knew his stuff. He was very intelligent. A little scared, too. I assured him that this VAT talk was a hyper-technical point, but that yes, there would be some added business taxation that seemed like a VAT. I also forcefully assured him that there was no plan to enact any new tax on vets receiving care. I told him that if I caught the slightest hint of such a thing, I would make it my business to work against Ted. He seemed pleased with what we had talked about, but did not promise to vote for Ted. He said he would look into some of the things I had discussed. I made a deal with him…if anything I said was wrong or misrepresented Ted’s true position, he was to vote for someone else. If I spoke the truth, he would vote for Ted. Done.
Closing time came and I asked John if he had any breakfast/brunch plans. I recommended a locally owned family place right on the same street as the office we were in. A couple of folks quickly asked me about it. You see, they were from Florida and were in the area and decided to work for Ted this weekend. Wow.
I had another great day. Because I gave a wee bit, Ted will most definitely have a few dozen more votes than he would otherwise have had. Not boasting. It’s true. Now, multiply that by however many folks like me who are having that same success. You think maybe those several thousand votes might could make a difference?
I’ll return later today to my front line position, in a cold, spare room, with some other committed, faithful, and good people. Maybe, just maybe, we’ll have the chance to meet up again someday under a Cruz presidency.
— Ed from SFV