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Thursday, October 16, 2008

The Progressive Adopt a non-voter Challenge

In all honesty I don’t know if blogging (especially the political kind) is anything more than just personal therapy. I cannot measure my impact, I can’t see if I’ve made my point or verify I’ve changed someone’s vote. A great deal of the political blogging is either preaching to the choir or simply taunting the enemy to score a point or get a good argument going. This is all find and dandy but it does not engage the non political people who are the very people we need to reach out to. Last years blogging awards slammed it home when I realized the political and finances categories got so few votes compared to hobby blogs, sports blogs, celeb blogs, knitting blogs etc. We are in fact a pimple on the ass of blogdom!

In my real life however I know for a fact that I have made a measurable difference. I know that through constant dialogue I have converted several permanent swing voters and non-voters into voting greens, and one towards the NDP, I even had to talk a few Liberals off the ledge in recent weeks. The process is not really all that difficult but it takes time and commitment to the people you target to nurture. We know that 40% of the populous did not vote and you can be pretty damn sure these people are not going to suddenly trip across your blogs, see the light and start voting your way without a good deal of help along the way

My belief is that these 40% of Canadians who don’t care enough or are not engaged enough to bother voting are a much softer target than the 20% or so who have been indoctrinated by Stevie (drink the Kool Aid) Harper. These are also people who if nurtured, engaged and drawn into the process will not split the progressive vote but expand it for everyone. If we each gain 2%-3% and Harper does not we can all gain voting support and financial support without the nasty progressive vs. progressive pile ons. It's win/win

I’m challenging you all to join the Adopt a Non-voter Challenge

This is not about keeping somebody awake for 4 days on a minimal calorie diet in order to brain wash them (but if you get such an opportunity please don’t waste it). This is about identifying those people around you who don’t vote and slowing educating them that there are parties out there that speak to their concerns and that they can make a difference. It’s not about convincing them that YOUR choice is necessarily the one right choice. Rather this is about engaging people in day to day conversations about the world around them, identifying what makes them tick, what concerns them, even what angers them and then pointing out the progressive option that best suits their beliefs or temperaments.

Now you are not necessarily going to find dozens of new members for your party but you are going to find people who don’t understand where their personal beliefs fall. If these people can be shown ANY progressive choice that fits their concerns, don’t be a knob; point them in the direction of least resistance and continue to promote how this ideology, even if not your own fits their beliefs. Once people can identify with an ideology and label themselves as such getting them to vote is a cinch!

Short of the brain washing option you are highly unlikely to browbeat someone to believe something totally opposite to their core beliefs but it’s quite easy to cherry pick topics and say Greens believe in that, or the NDP has the same opinion as you. Open conversations of the topic of the day and keep them informed about what is important and over time you will find yourself becoming a resource, an integral part of their information chain, a personal political wiki who can educate, mould, and spin any third party information your adoptee picks up. It’s even better when you can speak both positively and negatively on all parties and most issues, it lends credibility.

During the Ontario MMP campaign I practically held class in my workplace cubicle for those confused by the process; unfortunately I could only get to 33% of the province. My Cassandra like prophecies of the last 3 years now bring many people to my desk asking about gold, silver, what Libor is, derivatives etc. Become invaluable to the though processes of your adoptee.

Of course you will probably discover some people who you hope will never decide to vote, these people can be ditched, no adoption is final!
In most cases however you will already have a feel about who is on which side of the fence, so you can easily avoid encouraging conservative slackers to vote
That said I’d rather steer a rabid pro-lifer towards the CHP than allow them to fall CPC who might actually get the chance to change the laws sometime soon, it’s your call.

So Join the Progressive, Adopt a non-voter challenge

Pledge that you will adopt several non-voters and promote the best progressive choice for them, not you!
Let's up the voter turnout to 70% and split the spoils.Recommend this Post


Socially Active said...

It is so MUCH easier for people without cars to vote in the downtown city core. If you don't drive it is so hard to vote in the suburbs.

I really think the election day should be a holiday with full transit service.

Jean Proulx said...

Dear Green Assasin Brigade people (person?)

I am a member of the Liberal Party of Canada and a supporter of Stéphane Dion. I was very inspired by the classy, substantive campaign that Mr. Dion ran during the election and by his visionary Green Shift policy jointly supported by Elizabeth Manly and the Green Party. Although our party did poorly I feel this was not so much a reflection on Mr. Dion as on a number of other factors (lack of election preparation due to snap election; internal dissension within the LPC, collusion between Stephan Harper and Jack Layton against Dion, lack of cooperation between the centre-left opposition parties,etc.)

Now that the election is over and loyal Liberal volunteers are exhausted and inattentive, certain "un-named senior liberals" aided by a hostile right-wing media are trying to force Mr. Dion out of his leadership position without even giving a chance for ordinary Liberal members to consider whether this is in the interests of our party or Canadian democracy. They present this as a fait accompli. They say that Mr. Dion is isolated and finished politically. What they do not realize though is that Mr. Dion is NOT isolated. Grassroots Liberals were energized and inspired by his campaign, by the Green Shift, by his refusal to play politics as usual. We do not believe that engaging in another self-destructive round of LPC leadership politics will serve our party or the country well. What we need to do now is to serve Canadians by concentrating on our role of official Opposition. We need to think seriously as a party about why we lost this election and how we can better organize ourselves to win the support of Canadian voters next time. We will not let this leadership coup succeed without being heard from.

There has never been a LPC leader who has placed a higher role on environmental policies as Mr. Dion did this past election. Elizabeth May feels he is a man she can work with. Greens can play a role on this debate. We need to hear how Green voters feel about Mr. Dion’s leadership.

Go here to learn more about what we are doing and to join the revolt: http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=40161095228&ref=mf

Best regards,

Jean Proulx