Students will be on the front lines of the “most powerful thing in politics” if they volunteer with a presidential campaign.
Andrea Johnson, Kansas State director for the Clinton campaign, detailed volunteer opportunities for students during GWSS405 Resistance and Movements for Social Change on Wednesday, including phone banks and canvassing potential voters.
“Door-knocking and having that personal conversation is the most powerful thing in politics,” Johnson said. “It beats TV ads, it beats radio ads, it beats mail pieces, it beats rallies, it beats everything, is that personal face-to-face conversation. The second most important thing in politics … are phone conversations.”
The campaign uses volunteers to canvass — knocking on the doors of potential voters and engaging them in political discussion.
The Clinton campaign will take volunteers to canvass in Iowa. Volunteers will carpool to Council Bluffs, Iowa, on Sept. 10.
Among other opportunities for volunteers are calling potential voters.
While scripts are provided for both canvassing and phone calls, volunteers are encouraged to go off-script.
“Speak from the heart,” Johnson said. “If they are just reading campaign bullet points, that is not a very good way to have a connection or to have a real conversation. It’s those real conversations and those connections that really matter.”
Johnson had a suggestion for how to make conversations with potential voters more powerful.
“Use your personal stories,” Johnson said. “What do you care about in your life? What matters to you? Why are you motivated to come spend this time knocking on doors and making phone calls? Because that’s going to be the most persuasive thing that we can tell a voter to get them to vote for your candidate.”
Volunteering can be a beneficial experience for students, regardless of whether or not they seek a career in political campaigning.
“We’re big about creating skill sets and experience that will last beyond this campaign, so on Nov. 9 there’s something that’s left behind,” Johnson said.
In addition to campaigning for Clinton, volunteers will also encourage voters to consider candidates in state and local elections.
The Riley County Democratic Party will also put volunteers to work on phone calls, Haley Kottler, a volunteer coordinator and senior in gender, women and sexuality studies and family studies and human services, said.
Students who want to volunteer can contact Andrea Johnson at email@example.com or 913-396-2538 and Haley Kottler at firstname.lastname@example.org or 405-308-2145.