Coming from a community organizing background allowed for a swift implementation of organizing strategies to grow then-Senator Obama’s political operation in 2008, and that has only become more effective in 2012. The Obama campaign’s field plan is nearly 6 years in the making, and with new online organizing tools, like Dashboard and their smartphone application, the campaign is looking to bring home a victory in two weeks and get Obama to a second term.
So how will they pull it off? Nearly two years ago, Obama For America began setting up shop in all 50 states. In a certain states, OFA has been present in some capacity since 2007. While there are more offices in the battleground states, the campaign does have a network that extends nationwide. That is not the norm for political operations. In the past, Democrats only focused on those swing states they needed to get to 270, but that changed with Howard Dean and his tenure as chairman of the Democratic National Committee and later in the lengthy 2008 Democratic election season.
Now, the campaign is a massive operation which starts with paid staff and then grows exponentially as that staff works day after day to recruit, retain, and train volunteers. Those volunteers, particularly the dedicated ones, then become leaders who recruit, retain, and train more volunteers, and so on. The end goal is to use all of this people power to mobilize Obama voters and get them to the polls during early voting periods that have already begun through until November 6th.
Clo Ewing, an OFA spokeswoman told EBONY, “We are confident with where we are, but we are going to continue reminding voters through election day what’s at stake and the importance of voting. Every single day now is election day, and voters in Iowa, Nevada, Wisconsin and Ohio are voting every day, and they’re voting for Barack Obama. As it stands, we are outperforming our early vote margins in key states, compared to 2008. And, while we’re ahead of where we were against McCain, more importantly, we’re ahead of Mitt Romney.”
The campaign’s National Field Director Jeremy Bird confirms the early voting lead in a new blog post on the campaign’s website. The ground game is what gets people to the polls to actually cast votes and while the media is focused on horse race polls, field organizers nationwide are making calls, launching canvasses, running phone banks, and practicing “dry runs” for election day. If Election Day is the Super Bowl, the next 12 days are training and practice to prepare OFA’s staff and volunteers for a seamless performance in two weeks.
“At our foundation, we are a grassroots campaign, and despite technology advancements, nothing is more important or valuable than the peer-to-peer communication that our campaign is based on. Our volunteers are the engine of this campaign and from canvassing to door knocking to phone banking, they will play a major role in re-electing President Obama,” says Ewing.
It looks like every single vote will matter and there’s a field organizer or OFA neighborhood volunteer calling supporters right now reminding them of this fact. That neighbor-to-neighbor strategy worked extremely well 4 years ago and will certainly be put to the test this year with battleground states like Ohio and Virginia coming down to the wire.