Precinct Power: Operation: High Visibility
By David Whitehead Jr.
The ranks of liberal activism are packed with volunteers, and tend to be highly visible. Of course this is mostly because there are so many unemployed individuals and young people within those ranks, who have a good deal of energy and time on their hands.
We Conservatives have a high work ethic and tend to make something of ourselves and therefore we do not have a lot of time to devote to activism. This has earned us the nickname of the “Silent Majority.”
However, times have changed, and tides have turned against conservative values. We can remain silent and invisible no longer. We must learn to become highly visible AS REPUBLICANS in our neighborhoods, communities, and cities, and we must make every effort to see to it that we project a very positive image.
Operation: High Visibility is very simple, and can be and should be fun. All you do is join in community functions, especially charitable functions, and advertise the fact that you are a Republican as you join in. For example, if you are a volunteer for a city cleanup day, wear you Republican T-shirt, and a cap that says “Proud to be a Conservative”, or something of that nature.
Get several of your fellow Conservatives to join you, make sure you are all wearing the same thing, and be visible joining in the function. In fact, often when you are volunteering for such events, you can volunteer as a group. Nothing could be more visible and bring a more positive image than a dozen or so volunteers each with shirts that say, “The Houston Republicans,” or “Colorado Conservatives” all in matching colors.
How magnificent to see on the evening news a camera shot of thirty people manning the phones at a telethon for handicapped children, and notice that a full third of them are proudly wearing their “Florida Republicans” T-shirts.
Here are a few ideas for higher visibility in the community:
Twenty One Wonderful Ways to be More Visible in the Community
· Sponsor a Community Charity Garage Sale!
· Sponsor a Neighborhood Employment Committee!
· Begin a Neighborhood Birthday Brigade!
· Begin a Conservative Neighborhood Welcomittee!
· Send Birthday Cards to Notables!
· Invite Celebrities to Precinct Functions!
· Sponsor a Community Vegetable Garden!
· Sponsor a Conservative Book Club!
· Volunteer in groups at all local charity events!
· Sponsorships – such as Little League Baseball!
· Join the local clubs in force!
· Patronize local businesses in force!
· Sponsor a Halloween Haunted House for Charity!
· Sponsor a neighborhood cleanup!
· As a group volunteer for the City Cleanup Program!
· Volunteer for a Telethon!
· Enter City wide Contests!
· Enter Running Events!
· Enter Charity Walking Events!
· Volunteer in force for Crime Watch Activities!
· Volunteer in force at the local School and P.T.A. Events!
· Start a club, any club: Skating Club, Bible Study, Book Club, Motorcycle Gang, Cooking Club, Eating Club, Walking Group, etc…
Don’t forget – the key is to advertise yourselves as Republicans while joining in these events!
Caffeine for Conservatives #014
How to Host A Blockwalking/Scavenger Hunt Event
By David Whitehead Jr. and Michael Morris
Why don’t more of our people blockwalk their Precincts?
The answer is actually very simple: Blockwalking isn’t much fun!
That is…if you don’t know how to do it.
As we always say, you should always have a partner to blockwalk with to make it more enjoyable and to make sure you have obligated yourself to actually get it done, but it can be much more fun and fruitful if you schedule a couple of blockwalking events rather than do all the leg work yourself.
The problem in sponsoring blockwalking events though, is in getting people to show up to do it. Most people know instinctively that blockwalking can be dull, hard work, and don’t want to spend their free time doing it.
But if you can make it attractive by turning it into a day of fun, by adding a contest and prizes aspect, and follow it up with a party at the end, you can get a much better turn out, especially if you advertise it far in advance several times.
One way to attract many more blockwalkers would be to host a “Blockwalking/Scavenger Hunt” event. It can be a little pricey, but simply ask those who cannot attend to donate a few dollars to pay for the prizes and food. You might also ask one of the Republican Clubs in your area to help sponsor the event.
As with all events that require good attendance, you must advertise the event well in advance, and many times, and in many ways. Schedule it for a Saturday and begin two months in advance of the event and ask your Republican County office to put it on their website calendar, and to email the details to their entire county mailing list. Ask every Republican Club in your area to do the same. Require RSVPs on all correspondence, and email, mail, call, and text every Republican you know personally about the event. Do it several times. It is also a good idea to have an alternate Saturday, in case of bad weather.
Remember that you cannot pull off such an event all by yourself. You will need volunteers. Get at least three of your best friends and family members to put it together with you. You will need someone to coordinate the blockwalking, and someone to coordinate the Scavenger Hunt aspect of the blockwalking. You will also need someone in charge of the staging, and you must have a good place to stage the event from, like a neighborhood park. Don’t forget to make sure there are bathrooms where you stage your event.
You will need to equip all your blockwalkers with pens and clipboards, signup sheets, voter lists, street maps, scripts, campaign brochures, and breath mints. You will also need to know how to incorporate the Scavenger Hunt into the blockwalking itself:
1.) Each blockwalker should be equipped with his own Scavenger Hunt List, that is, a list of all the things he should be on the lookout for, and how many points each item is worth.
2.) The items on the list must be obtained from the people the blockwalkers meet at the door. This is important, or the purpose of the blockwalk will be lost. You do not want your blockwalkers spending their time looking other places for their items. Your goal is to get voter information and mobilize Republican voters, the Scavenger Hunt is merely an inducement to recruit blockwalkers, it is not the point of the event.
3.) When your blockwalkers speak to the voters at the door, after and ONLY AFTER they have fulfilled their activist part of the visit, should they pull out their Scavenger Hunt list, explain the Scavenger Hunt, and ask the voter if they have any of the items. (Believe it or not, this can actually break the ice with some Republican Voters who have been standoffish when approached before, and might even attract them to volunteer in future events themselves. It can also give you a lead in when contacting them later: “Hello I wanted to call and thank you for donating your baseball card to our Scavenger Hunt last month, did you get a chance to read our platform points this campaign season…)
4.) The items on the list must be things that the voter would not mind parting with. (Though, if you are reticent to have your blockwalkers ask for the items, you can have your blockwalkers take a selfie picture holding the item, rather than keeping it, and then they simply present their selfies as proof of their finds.) They cannot obtain more than one item from any voter.
5.) The items on the list should also be fairly difficult to obtain, and the list should be fairly short, otherwise the game coordinator will have a huge job on their hands collecting and sorting and adding up the points for the items. The rules of the game should also state that all items must be obtained from voters; they are not free to find them elsewhere.
6.) There should be three cash prizes given, first, second, and third place, and should be of a sufficient amount to attract volunteers to the event. The prize amounts should be advertised along with the event itself, so as to attract the volunteers in the first place. I recommend a hundred dollars for first, fifty dollars for second, and twenty five dollars for third. You may also wish to have a drawing prize. In the case of a tie, the prize should be split. (Many states have their own laws on how big your prizes can be and you should check into this before advertising your event, but most states we are aware of do not require you to file any forms on contests with prizes that total less than two hundred dollars.)
7.) Having food and drink at the end of the event is highly recommended. Remember again, get others who cannot attend to donate, and get a sponsor to help with the costs. Make it clear when advertising the event that the party afterward is only for those who participated in the event, or helped to underwrite it.
Here is a sample of Scavenger Hunt items:
10 point items
Yellow tennis ball
Anything with the official Olympics logo on it
Christmas candy cane
Set of chopsticks
An orange button
Anything with the name "Sarah Palin" on it
A used pool cue chalk
One Flintstones vitamin
Blue rubber band
An unused Popsicle stick or Tongue Depressor
Sock with a hole in it
A spool with or without thread
Any US penny dated between 1960 and 1970
Empty Mountain Dew soda can
Burger King Ketchup packet unopened
Coupon expired before 2005
A licorice jelly bean
Yellow golf ball
Chiquita banana sticker
A pink pistachio
One clothes pin
One RayOvac “D” sized battery
One Pez candy any flavor
Set of ear plugs
Any kind of spring
One incense stick
25 point items
Blue tennis ball
A Mexican penny “Centavos”
A Canadian nickel
One completed crossword puzzle
A Cracker Jack Prize – unopened
50 point items
Selfie with a Jar of Grey Poupon
One Croquet Ring
Only one of each item should be allowed, no duplication, and only one item per prospect voter.
This might seem rather involved, but the fun factor cannot be denied; and the fun factor has proven to be effective every time. People don’t like to show up for work days, but they will show up for a game and party in a minute!
The Gourmet Precinct Chairman
The Way to a Man’s Vote is Through His Stomach!
by David Whitehead Jr.
Are you a good cook or do you enjoy sharing recipes and trying new dishes?
The one true key to winning Republican votes in our precincts and neighborhoods is the ability to build relationships, and relationships usually begin with the things we have in common – like food.
Every Republican voter eats! (Some Democrats eat too!)
But the two real targets for relationship building when it comes to winning our precincts is the Independent Voter, who sometimes votes Republican and sometimes votes Democrat, and the Passive Conservative Voter, who votes Republican when he remembers to vote, and doesn’t vote at all unless sufficiently motivated.
The goal is to become an influence in the lives of both these voters so that in time they will vote Republican every time there is an election, and will eventually influence others and convince them to do the same.
With that in mind, here are six steps to winning your way into the lives of your voters as a Gourmet Precinct Chairman:
1.) Do the work of contacting the voters in your precinct. (Remember that relationship building does not replace block walking or other ways you employ to make first contact; it simply adds to it and makes your outreach efforts far more powerful and lasting in the long run.)
2.) Integrate your precinct voter contacts into your social network. (Again, this is…so far, only part of your basic job as Precinct Chair; keep your contacts in the loop with emails and a monthly precinct newsletter. Establish a Facebook page and invite all contacts to participate on it.)
3.) Begin sharing recipes, dishes you invented, and even pictures of various dishes with your precinct friends. Put a recipe page in your newsletter. Post dishes on the Facebook page. Post pictures of your culinary creations.
4.) Individuals in your precinct who share your love for cooking will begin to respond. As they do, capitalize on their interest. Invite them over or get some of their personal recipes. Now you are beginning to form bonds. Now you are building trust with some of your voters.
5.) As interest and friendships grow, you might even begin a Culinary Club in your neighborhood; make the first page of your Republican Precinct Newsletter all about the club and recipes and dishes, so that it will draw in those who might be less attracted to politics.
6.) As with all things, once people have come to know you through your shared interest in cooking, they will begin to trust you and your political opinions more. Wouldn’t it be something if this snowballs into precinct picnics and neighborhood parties and potlucks, all while slowly building the Republican vote?
You do not have use cooking to draw your neighbors; you can use almost any interest of yours to build rapport. Any type of sport from golf to soccer would work just as well, or if you are a bookworm you could form a book club. Anything from your work in the PTA to the charities you love can be built upon to garner personal trust and relationships that can eventually turn out many strong Republican votes from your precinct.
Doesn’t this approach make reaching your precinct more fun?
9 Things They Don’t Tell You About Block Walking!
By David Whitehead Jr.
1.) It is absolutely necessary!
“Face to face contact increases voter participation over other methods by as much as eight to twelve percent.” (“Getting Out the Youth Vote: Results from Randomized Field Experiments” by Donald Green and Alan Gerber, Yale University, 2001)
Had most Republican Precinct Chairmen block walked their precinct in the urban and suburban areas in the last two Presidential elections we would never have had to call Barack Hussein Obama President. The increase in voter turnout would have been enough to have beaten him both times.
It might not have solved our nation’s problems, but it would have kept us from being in the horrifying situation Obama’s policies have put us in, and many more of our freedoms would have remained intact.
Block walking is absolutely necessary if we are to win our nation back in the coming elections. It cannot be stressed enough.
2.) You should never block walk alone!
There are many good reasons to always have a block walking partner. First and foremost, it makes block walking much safer, especially for women. It also makes block walking far more pleasant if not downright fun. It makes block walking easier, since your equipment can be carried by both of you instead of just one. But perhaps the most important reason for having a partner outside of safety is that it makes you obligated to actually do the block walking. When you have an appointment with someone to block walk, you are far less apt to talk yourself out of it, or put it off till later. This way, the block walking gets done.
3.) You must be equipped in case of attack dogs! (And I do not mean Democrats!)
In all the years I have been going door to door, I have been challenged by dogs as they sat in front of their house, have had dogs attempt to attack me when their owner opened the door to their home, and I have even been bitten by a dog. Once a dog jumped on me to lick my face and his sharp claws ripped a hole in my new dress shirt, and I have had dogs charge at me. Luckily, I always go door to door with a large metal clipboard. You know the kind I mean, the kind of clipboard that is thick and holds a lot of paraphernalia inside of it. If a dog comes at you, simply hold out the clipboard using both hands, and remain stiff armed. Then slowly back away until you are out of his territory. (Dogs are territorial, and usually they are only guarding a small area around their home.) It is also a good idea to carry a large canister of pepper spray, just in case a dog will not leave you alone. In most cities there are leash laws, and you are well within your rights to protect yourself if the dog is not on a leash.
4.) Block walking can sometimes be disappointing!
You must be ready for this. Do not expect more from block walking than what it actually delivers. Not everyone will be home. Some people will be home and will not open the door. When they do open the door, not everyone will be happy to see you. Even when you are only knocking on Republican doors, sometimes they are in the middle of something, or they simply are not interested in talking at that time.
This is not rejection. It is not rejection of you or of the Republican Party. Many people have a personal policy that they do not open the door for strangers. Others simply do not like to be disturbed at home. You cannot and must not take this personally and allow it to discourage you from going door to door. The numbers WILL play out eventually, and you will find your efforts really do make a huge difference.
5.) Block walking is thirsty work!
Bring a bottle of water with you, and several more in your car. If it’s a hot day, perhaps you should bring some Gatorade as well.
6.) Block walking can be tiring!
Take breaks. Make use of the corner bus stop benches to catch your breath. Sit in your car with the air conditioning on for a few minutes. Also, remember that you don’t have to reach your entire neighborhood in one day. Break up your block walking schedule into several manageable evenings!
7.) Never walk and write at the same time!
I twisted my ankle while going door to door once. My wife fell and injured her knee severely while putting out flyers door to door. A friend fell and skinned himself up pretty badly. Guess what we were all doing at the time! We were all writing on our clipboards, filling in details and information from our last contact, instead of watching where we were going. This might sound really basic, but it happens all the time. Do not walk while you are writing; keep your eyes on the sidewalk.
8.) Block walking can…get things moving!
Okay, I know this one sounds a little crass, but it’s a very practical thing to consider. If you are not used to block walking and do not get much exercise, you might find that ten minutes into the block walk, you have to run to the nearest gas station. This can be a much more unpleasant situation if you have joined a big block walking event, and were dropped off on a street far away from any facilities, and have no vehicle of your own close by. Make sure to visit the restroom before block walking.
9.) Block walking is only the beginning of reaching your neighborhood!
As important as block walking is, it’s only the beginning of reaching your neighborhood. From there you must use your block walking contacts to build a neighborhood network, and from there you must build relationships with your voters. Over time, every person in your precinct should come to know who you are, and you should know everything you can about each of them. Once you know their voting habits, their political hot buttons, and how to stay in contact with them, your block walking will have paid off in a huge way!
Precinct Conventions – 6 Things They Never Tell You!
By David Whitehead Jr.
1.) Take some folding chairs!
Often Precinct Conventions take place in Elementary School gymnasiums and cafeterias, where there is not an adult sized chair in sight. In my precinct we are given the cafeteria, and all the movable furniture is locked away by the custodians every night, and nothing is left but the tables with these built in stools made for small children. We all looked rather silly attempting to sit on these tiny things while making motions and deliberating.
I have spoken to others who have their meeting on the pullout bleachers in the gymnasium. Bring some chairs; you will feel far more dignified.
2.) Sometimes nobody shows up!
This can be rather disappointing, especially if you have been working your precinct. Unfortunately, in the middle of all the campaigning leading up to Election Day, we forget to remind people about the convention. The convention becomes more of an afterthought, particularly if you are serving as an Election Judge. Attendance can be greatly boosted however, simply by including a flyer about it in the paraphernalia you hand out to your neighbors when you are block walking.
3.) Not everyone who attends is a friend!
The Republican Party has its schisms. Sometimes a group of Republicans from your precinct can show up to attempt to “take over” and run the precinct convention their way, and run their own delegates and resolutions through. It might seem unfair and uncomfortable, but this is Democracy at its finest.
However, in some states, Democrats cross over and vote in the Republican Primary in order to upset the apple cart, and part of their apple cart demolition is attending the Precinct Convention and attempting to usurp the leadership, and cause disruption, strife, and chaos.
Don’t let them do it.
One of the powers you have as the Temporary Chair is to appoint a Temporary Sergeant at Arms, and your Sergeant at Arms has the power to remove anyone who is there to disrupt, filibuster, or make trouble. It is against the law to disrupt a Precinct Convention so that it cannot do its business, and you can call the police on anyone who attempts to stop that business from taking place. If these Democrats in Republican clothing follow the rules of the convention however, there is little that can be done to resist their participation.
4.) Being replaced as Convention Chair can be awkward and embarrassing!
Be ready for this. It happens, and it’s not fun. We tell ourselves it won’t matter if we are replaced, but the actual moment in which it occurs can be hurtful if we are not expecting it, and the act of getting up from the front desk or seat and allowing someone else to take our place can feel very awkward. Let’s face it, there is no way to do it as gracefully as we would like.
At such a time I am always tempted to do something funny to kill the awkwardness of the moment like mock weeping, besides, a round of laughter makes me feel better and makes a much better transition than embarrassed people all looking at the floor. By all means be gracious and humble, and remember that acting patronizing makes you look bad. (Ask me how I know!)
5.) A Precinct Convention can go on and on!
Unless your state has a provision for this, the convention can deliberate on and on and on. Bring something to drink. I even bring something to eat! My conventions have never lasted more than 90 minutes, but I have heard of one that went past midnight. Fourteen people showed up and relentlessly went over the wording of resolutions for hours. (By the way, send me your Precinct Convention horror stories; I would love to add them to an upcoming booklet I am writing on the subject!)
6.) Attendees are your best prospects for Block Captains and Street Commanders!
Don’t let these fish swim away! You have here before you all in one place some of the most active and patriotic Republicans one could ever find! Anyone who attends a Precinct Convention whether for good or ill is someone very interested in the political process and you must follow up on them and put their zeal to work for you reaching your precinct!
It might not be a great idea to ask them then and there to volunteer to be part of your precinct organization, but remember that the Secretary has the contact information for everyone who is attending, and making a copy of that list for yourself to reach them at a later time is perfectly acceptable!