Thursday, October 29, 2020

Campaign TwentyTwenty - "Vote Them Out"

This morning I went to the polling site at the Palm Beach Gardens library.  Almost before I got out of the car I was approached by an old poll worker who asked me if I had been soliciting people in line.  He said he had been told that a woman in an orange t-shirt was soliciting the voters.  He must have been talking about me, because my t-shirt was orange and it said “Vote Them Out.”  It is a terrific shirt created by the kids at  Marjory Stoneman Douglas high school after 17 friends and teachers were shot and killed.  The amazing kids who immediately became advocates for gun control and rallied thousands of people across the country to support their efforts. Having been a “go out on the street and scream about injustice” kind of girl, it has enormous significance to me.  

What exactly is the definition of Soliciting?  In Florida , during an election it means distributing information to voters.  How foolish was I to think that the materials were "educational."  A guide to the candidates who are running for offices such as assembly people, sheriffs and judges.  And on the card is a rundown on the amendments, which no one ever understands.  It seems  handing out the guides was a violation of Election Rules.  

“Sir”, I said, “if I was soliciting, it probably wouldn’t be at the polls. It would be in an upscale bar during happy hour.”  He didn’t think that was funny, and I did not think his  question was appropriate.  In Presidential  politics you have to maintain a sense of humor or the stress and frustration will kill you.  This guy was older than dirt and obviously  didn’t have to travel to far to be on his way to a better place.  Does that make any sense? Probably not.

I wondered if it was this way in Jupiter, where the verbal abuse was plentiful yesterday.  I thought I better find out.  I took a box of donuts and drove over to that site.  It was the same thing. A distance of 200 feet from the voters or you would be in violation of the voting regulations.  What to do next.  Well, I think I mentioned the Trump thugs at the flag waving event looking for confrontation.  The best use of my time was to figure out how to avoid that situation again.  Needless to say, it is never easy to identify the person most likely and most able to help to do anything about it.  It was time consuming to call everyone at any agency, who might be able to act with authority.  By the time  I arrived at Military Trail & PGA the police had set up barriers to keep the unmasked thugs away from the Biden/Pam Keith diligent clear-thinking folk.

Pam Keith is a  stellar, smart charismatic person whose political issues are close to my heart.  Of course, the opposition, a guy who, when asked how he thought the President was handling  the pandemic, said that if he were grading Trump he would give him an A. So would I, but the A in my case would be for being a great big Asswipe.  Is that unkind?  Well I said it in the kindest way I could. Which  is certainly not what I mean when I say make America Kind again.  

Did I mention that Pam’s dad is a friend from days of yore at USIA and Meridian House International. Maybe I did, but it is so much fun to think about it that I simply can’t stop saying it.  It is only 5 days away from the 3rd.  There is limited time to do anything but GOTV. (Get out the vote) for those of you who weren’t listening or reading the previous posts.  With the pandemic raging again, most of the work we are able to do is on the phone or computer.  There is no time to mail a ballot so it is a last effort to get people to actually get up, take themselves to the polls, and Vote.  Remember, This year you are voting sanity and truth, and to Make America Kind again.   We're just sayin'.... Iris

Monday, October 26, 2020

Another Day With Your Resident Commie Bastard

 What happened today made me smile, despite the angry Trump people. You might not understand what happened, unless you played "Dictionary" with us in years gone by.  I had a 'kibitka.' In actuality a kibitka is an old horse-drawn Russian wagon, but our definition - my game-winning definition was that a kibitka is a 'miraculous recovery.'  So today I had one.  It can also mean a revelation, and that’s the kind I had.  


There I was, working at the polls in Jupiter, Florida, an upscale conservative community where house special Brussel Sprouts are the norm.  Some of the people lined up to vote were fine. But some were incredibly abusive.  They were screaming at me about how I was a baby killer. Others were so angry they screamed that I was a fucking Commie.  That’s what people called Communists in the 50’s, and if you can believe it, it was down hill from there. Oh, they also called me a Socialist. One guy was yelling about how the Biden people were hitting Jews in New York with clubs.  The urge to respond was too great so I said, “They probably deserved it.”  What else was there to say? Maybe, “What kind of bats did they use?”   When I thought about it,  I was saddened by their anger. It was not all about Biden. They are angry and hostile all the time: imagine having to live with yourself being that horrible 24/7, or spend your life with someone else who is.

Moving on, since I have been meditating, when I was ready to leave I got into my car and took three deep breaths, felt calm and came home. One of the best things to happen was that while I was pursuing the candidate's website,  just to learn about her background, I learned that her dad was Kenton Keith. He was an old pal of mine when I worked at USIA and Meridian House International. This is an organization that worked with the international exchange angels, students and organizations.  I think both Pam (the Cong. candidate)  and certainly Kenton, would get a kick out of that.  Like most campaigns, you can not have a conversation with the Candidate, no one wants to help get anyone to do anything.  All these tools. All these phones, routers, keyboards, peel-apart stickers, electric nail guns.  And so little use of them.  So I guess I will have to figure that out.  

Tomorrow will be better because I will be absent from the polls. That means more phone work and writing.   The break will be welcome.  It has been raining here for days. Everyone says we need the rain. Not me, I like the sun. People are asking me if I think we are going to win in Florida. Who knows?   I am in Jupiter, which is very Republican.  There must be areas where there are Democrats because the word is that it is possible for us to win here, which I hope is true because it’s the only way to make America Kind again. 

For more look at

We're just sayin,'   ... Iris

Sunday, October 25, 2020

If They'd Have Told Me This Fifty Years Ago, I Might Have Skipped Politics!

Yesterday the campaign discovered that the Republicans had substituted the Q candidate Loomer — a total whacko --  for Lois Frankel on the slate cards. Remember the slate cards direct you to whom to vote for at polls. It is something that even I wouldn’t do—but this is just a reflection of how evil and desperate these people are. 

When I say I wouldn’t do it, I wouldn’t  because the stakes are so high. Although there  was a time  when I might have considered it.  At the Democratic convention, I think it was NY, but a convention is the same no matter where it is.  Anyway, It is always important to station people at locations that are most important -   then it was the Gore skybox.  After a while, with all the VIP's hungering to be part of the inner circle, it was tedious. Terry O’connell was the guy in  charge of that VIP skybox.

He welcomed my help.  VIP rooms are usually difficult to manage because everyone who “thinks” they are a VIP wants to be in them.  There was one credential for that room and stupidly it was supposed to last 4 days.  There was no way that was going to happen.  (Counterfeits seem to grow out of thin air.) Furthermore, when someone was only staying one day they just tossed the paper.  We decided that we would use different stickers to designate different days.  

Shopping for stickers was a hoot.  There were limitations:  they had to be stickers no one expected, and cheap because we had no funds so we were out of pocket.  We finally decided that kiddie stickers, bunny, duckies and horses were our best bet.  In addition to which they made us laugh.  It simply wasn’t the moral equivalent of changing a name on a slate card for a Congressional candidate.  But we weren’t thugs, although i would never mess with Terry. He lost an arm and an eye in Viet Nam and looked like a big pirate.  And occasionally acted like one, too.

Today I found out the campaign manager is Dave, not Steve, and people have claimed to actually have seen him. Not me, but there would be no reason for me to see him because he doesn’t go to the Palm Beach  Gardens Democratic HQ.  There is no crafted message  - simply she (the candidate...) wants healthcare, is concerned about co-vid, and she wants to clean up the environment. So thats all good, and her opponent is just a stamp for whatever Trump wants, so that’s  all bad.  We apparently have a website which I will look at today and see if I can make GOTV or fundraising calls.  Does it sound uncoordinated? Why yes, it is.   We're just sayin'... Iris

Friday, October 23, 2020

Alone With All My Friends....

 What do you do when you want to work on a campaign and the “in-charge” people cannot figure out what you should do, or for that matter what they should do.  You could just say, “Well if they don’t want me, then I don’t want them.”   Or since you have been working in politics your whole life and you want to make America kind again, you figure out what needs to be done, and you just do it. My week here could be a TV special called “The Crazy Person is at it Again.”   It's about this nutty campaign strategist who has worked in every area of political campaigns.

In a campaign no job is too small and no task is unimportant. There is so much to do and never enough time to do it. For example, money has to be raised, schedules have to be established, there needs to be a message, the message leads to what kind of events you will have. There is a need for a press operation or at least a press person. There is usually a field organization, an advance team, campaign paraphernalia available, signs, buttons, and stickers that tell you in a most succinct way why you need to elect your candidate.

If however, you have a candidate and no campaign structure what do you do?   You look at the operation and see what needs to be done and without bullying anyone - you do it by yourself. You collect the materials you need,  and distribute them to the places from which the campaign will benefit the most. Will you look silly being a one person campaign (there are people working, but there isn’t enough time to train them) and again, you don’t want to appear to be anything but helpful.  So far I have written 200 Get Out the Vote postcards, made fundraising calls for candidates other than my own, since I can’t get a list from "my own."   I attend rallies that I know will be in certain places, carry signs and a banner flag, go door-to-door, always masked, to see if people will put signs upon their lawns. At this late date you do not waste your resources on places you know will not vote for your candidate and your political party— in this case it’s the Democrat party.

As I drive around with my flags and signs I am one person but I am not alone. Right there, sitting beside me and yelling in my ear, as they always did, are Wagner, Tully, Harold, Anne, Sarah, Donna, Kim, Sue, and Alicia, Sid, and all those folks with whom I have worked over the years. Not only do they tell me what I should be doing, but, as we ride along we tell old campaign stories like, "do you remember when we left all our rental cars someplace close to the border but in Mexico. Or the time the event site got washed out by near tornado winds and rain five minutes before the candidate arrived. Or the time we were flying in the Bassler Bomber and we were reported missing somewhere between NY and Wisconsin. Remember when we were in NYC and had to raise enough money to get to Chicago ? " (Before the FEC limits on cash being passed in a hat.)   There is no shortage of stories and they go on forever because telling stories is almost the best part of working in campaign politics.  We're just saying...Iris.

It's 2020 And Politics in Florida Is Alive and Well

When I worked on the Gary Hart campaign sometime in the 80’s (the date shall remain flexible), the campaign was a bit short on structure. That didn’t make it less fun or less important.  For example, we never really knew where the candidate was headed. He had an actual schedule but sometimes when the candidate and the staff were on their way somewhere they changed their minds and instead of going to their scheduled destination, they went someplace else. Somewhere we had no ground support.  Sometimes we could get an Advance person to the location, and sometimes we would have to find a local person who had no idea why they were doing what needed to be done.  Just a little chaotic and challenging.

Pam Keith (running in FL-18 Congressional district) is an amazing woman, certainly well qualified to be a House Member, so why doesn't she have national support?  I talked to the DCCC, who has pretty much ignored her, so why?  The campaign has no structure.  You can not find out where she’s appearing because there is no posted schedule.  It may be that they are wary of a Trump thug appearance, but that can be handled by the police or volunteers. As Mother Goose I tell you this is true.  There is no Press person, so at Biden/Harris  events there is no one to speak for our candidate, and the Biden people don't show for Keith events.  We are handing out slate cards in predominately Republican areas, which is a waste of resources. There is a fundraising operation, but I can’t find them. And certainly no surrogates who can speak on her behalf.  If she wins, and I certainly hope she will, it will be because her opponent is a Trump supporter.  It’s a little frustrating.  

That being said, yesterday I posted about a Biden rally overrun by Trump thugs.  Did I mention that there was a  guy who wore a T-shirt that said “Ask me if I’m carrying a weapon,” and underneath there was a box checked "yes."  The police assured me there was nothing they could do about that or the fact that despite the county-wide mandate for masks — the thugs do not wear them.  Today i will call the county, but they’ll just say, 'nothing we can do.'  The police were wearing masks.  
Actually, if you think about it, I’m like a brainstorming campaign all by myself. I decorate my car, ride around in neighborhoods where there are likely Biden voters, I look for rallies. I put signs in places like Home Goods and TJMaxx  (smart shoppers - well educated in savings).  It's pretty funny. If I could wish for anything, it would be to have a team of chicken people here, and of course, to make America Kind and Truthful Again.  We're just sayin'...  Iris

Wednesday, October 21, 2020

Politics and Thugs: They Seem to Go Together

For the last few weeks I have been working in 3 political campaigns in PalmBeach County, Coral Springs and Palm Beach,  and sending post cards all over Florida.  Here’s what’s going on. The Trump voters are exactly what you would expect, based on all the reports. They are Thugs. Oh sure there are some nice people but there is a hostility for Biden people who have worked in campaigns of yore. We put up a road sign, they take it down. From some reports they have razor blades tacked to their signs so the sign can’t be removed. They infiltrate our rallies and push young people around.  The police stand by an watch with amusement. It enraged me so I went to Trump headquarters to confront the racists. They said they didn’t know what I was talking about but they were smirking.

It is impossible to believe that this is happening in our country.  Yet, it is.  Sure in the past we got arrested for hanging signs in places where they might not be legal, but that was harmless fun. And yes I sent chickens to opponent's rallies—don’t ask. But the opponents laughed. This campaign has no sense of humor. The reason, because it’s not about people, the pandemic or the economy, it’s about the power to do what he wants, for financial benefits and his admiration for racists, autocrats, and other political thugs.  

When I go to Black and Hispanic areas it is thrilling. People ask for lawn signs, buttons and other campaign paraphernalia. But yesterday I worked the polling place in Jupiter and it was pretty depressing.  Maybe 1 in five voters took Democratic slate cards. If you don’t know what a slate card is, it basically preparation for the voter who doesn’t know the local politicians — state races, judges, and sheriff.  It is inspiring to see the number of people in line to vote early, but my fear is that the Trump voters outnumber the Democrats.  It is impossible to understand why, given his “wheeling-dealing”, dishonesty, and innate evil thinking. Such is life, but it’s our children’s and grandchildren’s lives on the line.  All I can think is please, Make America Kind Again.   We're just sayin'... Iris