Mormons for Obama hosted a national conference call for LDS voters this past Tuesday evening. We heard some terrific reports, had a great conversation about the presidential race and key senate campaigns, and unveiled our plan of action for the final four weeks. Our greatest strength as "Mormons for Obama" comes from our ability to talk with fellow Latter-day Saints and others of strong religious belief about how President Obama represents our values in his policies and personal life. These neighbor-to-neighbor, friend-to-friend conversations are what really makes the difference, and are absolutely crucial to winning this election on the ground. For this reason, our three main initiatives for the final stretch are:
1. Flooding Nevada and Colorado with LDS volunteers. Folks in UT are getting in touch with the Utah Obama office for phonebanking & canvassing opportunities in NV & CO. People in Nevada, Colorado, (and "Little Provo" in VA) are picking out heavily LDS neighborhoods, finding a friend to canvass with them, and getting in touch with their local Obama office to get a list of targeted doors in those neighborhoods. (We are NOT using ward lists in any way, shape, or form.) If you want to participate or have questions, subscribe to our newsletter or ask in the comments. We also need a snazzy name for this initiative, akin to the "Great Schlep" from 2008, but Mormon-y.
2. Getting even more heavily involved in volunteering with the local Obama for America neighborhood teams. We're finding our local offices and participating in local volunteering opportunities. We're sporting any Mormons for Obama gear we own and otherwise letting our fellow Obama supporters know that at least some Mormons stand with them.
3. Talking to friends and family who live in swing states and are either on the fence or supporting President Obama. We're sharing the President's record with those who are on the fence. We're getting out the vote (early if at all possible) with those who know they want four more years of President Obama in the White House!
Two major themes that came out of Tuesday night's call were the importance of letting our views be known so other Latter-day Saints no longer feel like "the only LDS Democrat" or "the only LDS Obama supporter" and the terrific volunteer skills we already possess & our ability to have an outsized impact as we get to work. We can, and we will, make a crucial difference as we get President Obama elected for another four years!
We can, in short, be these elves.
This picture appeared on an Italian language news site! Kelly, one of our own, was at a rally in Virginia representing Mormons for Obama! She is proudly wearing her "Mormons for Obama" t-shirt. This shirt, by the way, is available on CafePress.com.
And Kelly wasn't even aware she had ended up on a news site - she just knew that a lot of people wanted to take her picture (considering her awesome shirt she wore for the rally!) So, it wasn't until she saw the link posted on our Facebook page that she learned that she was famous. Congratulations Kelly! Great job representing Mormons and representing Obama supporters!
The Seahawks beat the Packers last night in this amazing down-to-the-wire knuckle-biter, (the finger nails were all gone by the end of the third quarter,) where Russel threw a 24-yard touchdown to Golden Tate. Clearly, there were angels in the endzone to solidify this miracle of epic proportions. (For optimum effect, reread that last line imagining Sean Connery's voice.) Of course, this wasn't without controversy: football fans all over the country called foul (baseball?) in that M.D. Jennings maybe/probably/most-likely had a hold of the ball before Tate got his hands on it, making the play an interception, not a touchdown, as it was called by the high-school-football-type referees called in to replace the striking professional refs.
After the call, all of us in Seattle jumped, cheered, and high-fived each other, and even if us Hawks fans acknowledged that it might have been an interception, we sang together in one unified harmonious chorus: "We'll take it."
And President Obama also jumped into the fray, calling the outcome "terrible," and Wisconsin Congressman Paul Ryan tried to score a political touchdown of his own by comparing the amateur-refereeing to the Obama administration.
Well, Ryan's comments seem to further the assertion that the Romney campaign is struggling and desperate. The way I see it, Mitt Romney is running out of ways to get himself to the White House. While all roads lead to Rome, there's only one or two that'll get him to D.C. With a series of missteps in the past few weeks (admittedly, no-apologies-Romney doesn't publicly refer to them as that,) Romney's image as an out-of-touch, privileged, and somewhat surly rich man continues to surge in inverse proportion to his chances of winning the election.
I am starting to think that he really only has a few ways to win at this point:
1.) Voter suppression. I used to be unconvinced that this was a real thing. However, I can no longer pretend this isn't actually happening. Read here for an article on its effect on Latino voters. We even have reports of people trying to register ONLY Romney voters. See below:
But I have to admit that my heart goes out to this cute little girl - I swear she looks like a Mia Maid I knew growing up. And plus, the woman with the camera is so mean! She yells at her and calls her honey bunch! My opinion (although patronizing and sexist) is that we should give this poor girl a pass because she seems so nice and sweet, and I think that her father probably made her do this.
2.) Money. Now that Romney and Obama are the nominees, spending on the part of both candidates is astronomical. According to PBS News Hour yesterday, the rates of spending on TV advertisements has doubled the amount of what was spent in 2008. Both candidates are after that (unbelievably) undecided middle-voter, and these ads target them without regard to truth or reality. And of course, this says nothing about the Super-PAC money out there. Michael Moore predicted a Romney win for just this reason: "Mitt Romney is going to raise more money than Barack Obama. That should guarantee his victory." True enough; he does have a lot of dough to spend, and if Romney ever needed his wealth to buy something, the time is now.
3.) A miracle. I believe in miracles, but I don't know that the Republicans should wait for seagulls to swoop down and gobble up the elderly and minority voters in those states that have overturned the voter-suppression laws. However, that doesn't mean that some other natural disaster or man-made calamity couldn't set the president off of his stride. Just look to Bush (W.) in 2000. A bunch of hanging chads and that Michelle Bachman look-alike handed him the election - and of course, this was subsequently confirmed by the Supreme Court. But all of that refers back to point number one. So could more poor job numbers or an uptick in the Middle East conflict send voters fleeing for Romney?
But alas, pondering on a Romney win causes me to think about that wonderfully awesome football game from last night with its game-winning Hail Mary pass; while Republicans would celebrate if Romney was elected in November, somewhere deep in their heads they might recognize that it came about through happenstance, a bad call, or even nefarious means. And just like in 2000, when the presidency was given to George W. Bush by the Supreme Court, the Republicans will intone simultaneously, "We'll take it."
We're less than 75 days away from the presidential election. Early voting in Iowa starts in just over a month. With the Romney campaign & allies outspending President Obama 2-1 on the air, we must talk to our friends and our neighbors about why we support President Obama and why he's the best choice to lead our country for the next four years. Read Hannah's post on becoming anxiously engaged in the campaign. Join the Facebook group if you can. And enjoy this top 10 on canvassing vs. tracting:
Brothers and sisters, there is nothing more dangerous than fear. We learn about that in Sunday school all the time. I want to talk with you a little bit about the fear of being open about political opinions. I am not suggesting that anyone is wrong or ignorant for being quiet about their support for President Obama, and I certainly am not giving expert advice on the topic. But I want to point out a few things on the topic of fear of sharing political opinions. Here’s why:
1. This is America. You are entitled to freely express your political opinions without fear of repercussion from the federal government. Oftentimes in our culture we extend this to mean that you shouldn’t fear repercussions from anyone simply because of your beliefs. This security to state your stances freely is fundamental to our identity as Americans engaging in the political dialogue of this nation.
2. The concept of declaring your beliefs freely is also deeply engrained in Mormonism. From the oft-quoted Romans 1:16 (For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ) to the brave and heroic examples of our pioneer ancestors, we have a strong tradition of actively making our true convictions known, even when to do so puts us at odds with those around us.
3. Even if, after boldly admitting that you support President Obama, someone were to react negatively such to make you regret being open about it- their intolerance is their problem. As Mormons, we are told to surround ourselves with good people. There are plenty of good people who may not share our political beliefs but appreciate civil discourse and sharing opinions with an open mind. If someone you meet is going to give you a hard time about your beliefs purely because they disagree with you, it might be a good time to evaluate if they will be a good influence on your life in the first place.
Granted: there may be people already in your life, such as friends, family, and coworkers, who may be intolerant and unavoidable. How you handle those relationships is of course a personal decision. Additionally, I am not suggesting that we should risk death or any other extreme outcome in exchange for openly supporting President Obama.
What I am advocating for is a little less fear and a little more faith.
I openly admit that I relish the occasional dirty looks from people who are anti-Obama when they see that I support our President. It reminds me that "there must needs be opposition in all things," and that there is still a lot of work to do to re-elect him.
Every day that goes by when another person finds out that I’m an Obama supporter (it usually becomes known pretty quickly- as I said, I’m extremely open about it) and they get excited to find someone who shares their passion, I am grateful that I put on that Obama shirt or brought my Obama water bottle with me. I cherish the opportunity to connect with like-minded people and to express my deeply held opinion that Barack Obama is the best candidate for President. No amount of insult, derogatory gestures, or rude glances can invalidate that belief. I'm not suggesting that my commitment to Obama is deeper than anyone else's- simply that I choose to risk negative encounters because I value finding those few people in Provo, Utah who do also support the President, and those positive encounters are worth the risk for me.
If we all stood a little taller, spoke a little more freely in the appropriate settings (i.e. not at church), opened our minds to the possibility that those who we thought previously would brazenly disparage our opinion might not be as churlish as we had imagined- who knows what deeper relationships and more significant connections we might develop.
Conversely- for every opportunity we pass up to share our convictions about supporting our President, we’ll never know which voter we may have reached, directly or indirectly, who might have cast the deciding vote for President Obama.
So perhaps now would be a good time to take a minute; think about how you represent yourself and your beliefs. Heading into the heated and controversial campaign season this fall, we could have a little less fear and a little more faith that the benefits of being open about our support for the President will far outweigh the potential for push-back.
106 DAYS UNTIL ELECTION 2012
With Barack Obama and Mitt Romney so close in many national polls and Mitt Romney outspending the President in both May and June, it is imperative that we do more than just “like” Barack Obama on Facebook. We all have busy lives, and we all have pressing demands on our checkbooks that limit us from making more financial contributions to causes that we believe in; but for all of us who believe that President Obama is the best candidate, we must volunteer our time as well. Even just one hour each week, or a few minutes whenever you have time, could be the tipping point for helping our President win another four years in office.
Join Dashboard! Go to www.dashboard.barackobama.com and sign up. Dashboard is the official, brand-new, online campaign organizing tool for President Obama, the likes of which has never been seen before. It is a one-stop shop for all your election needs: you can connect with fellow pro-Obama people near you, get in touch with your local Obama for America office, access resources and videos about President Obama’s accomplishments, make calls on behalf of the campaign, see the calendar for events in your area, and report your efforts at the end of each day to better help the campaign crunch numbers and analyze data.
You can also join groups on Dashboard to get more updates and information about events specific to different issues. Consider joining the Mormons for Obama group found here!
If you live in a red state, it is possible that your Obama for America office is a single-staff office, meaning that the only person paid by the Obama campaign to work there is the state director. The rest of the staff is unpaid. On the west coast for example, single-staff states include Utah, Idaho, Alaska, and Hawaii. If this is the case, your Obama for America office probably shares office space with your state’s Democratic Party. Other states have their own office for Obama for America. These offices act as exciting campaign hubs for Obama supporters, and the volunteers would love to have you stop by!
Contact your local Obama for America team! When you sign up for Dashboard, it should put you automatically onto your local team and send an email with your name to whoever is the field organizer. For example, I am the field organizer for the Utah County, Utah team, so I get an email every time someone joins Dashboard who lives in my geographic area. I personally try to contact everyone on my team to let them know of opportunities they could take advantage of- but every team is different, so do some exploring and contact your field organizer if you don’t hear from them.
Depending on where you live, the closest official Obama for America events might be out of driving distance. Be still your soul! It is easy to host your own event and invite people from your area to join you. You could host a screening to watch The Road We’ve Traveled, the 17 minute documentary about President Obama’s first four years in office. You could invite someone from your community to come speak about why your community should support President Obama and have a discussion. Your local Obama for America office can give you specific tips, resources, and guidelines for how to make the event a success.
Get involved with your neighborhood team! Your local Obama for America office will help you find out which volunteers in your area have already formed one. Neighborhood teams are the nucleus of the grassroots organizing structure- the idea is that by promoting President Obama’s achievements on the community level, you will have much more influence. Check out this short video for more explanation on what a neighborhood team looks like.
Attend events, host events, and participate online! Any amount of effort you can spare goes a long, long way. On Dashboard, you can click on Make Calls, then choose which state and for what issue you'd like to call. There are multiple scripts (Women for Obama, Environmentalists, Economy, etc) you can use to call people and discuss President Obama's strengths on that issue to try to sway undecided voters. You can make calls anytime during day time and evening hours right from your own home on your own time. At the end of the day, you can Report Your Activity so that the campaign can better analyze their data and hours submitted by volunteers. If you can also get involved with events, that is even better.
As you get more involved with efforts to re-elect our President, I believe you will feel the satisfaction that you participated in something you believe in. On the night of November 6th, as the poll numbers are coming in and the nation sits on the brink of one presidency or another, you will know you contributed and did your part. If you think that President Obama is the better candidate, I urge you to take these small and simple steps to help re-elect him.
118 DAYS TILL ELECTION 2012