Making the Rounds: Meaningful Conversations with Voters



    Andy Schmookler is running for Congress in the 6th Congressional District of Virginia, challenging the incumbent Congressman, Bob Goodlatte.  An award-winning author, political commentator, radio talk-show host, and teacher, Andy moved with his family to Shenandoah County in 1992.  He is a graduate of Harvard University and holds a PhD from the University of California at Berkeley.  

    Here’s another very vital part of our campaign strategy from here to election day.  This one depends on the support of those who care about our campaign.  So please help us succeed.  You can help by coming to these events, and you can help even more by bringing others with you.

       The idea is described in the following message, which – adapted for the specific areas – I sent to all the Democratic committee chairs in the 6th District.

    Dear [Chair],

    I’m writing to share with you an important piece of my strategy for beating Bob Goodlatte, and to ask for your help in making that strategic piece work.

    I’m serious about going all out to win this election and, beyond that, to strike a meaningful blow against the destructive force that’s taken over today’s Republican Party.

    At the same time, I’m under no illusions about how the race stacks up in conventional political terms.  With his incumbency, with his big piles of money, and with the demographics of the District, in a race conducted in conventional terms Bob Goodlatte would be a shoo-in.

    There are two main ways that I intend to escape from that conventional calculus. One is by playing to my strengths. The other is by firing up the People Power by which we have a chance to defeat the Money Power.

    One stratagem with which I intend to do both is to make the rounds of the District* at regular intervals – possibly as often as every three weeks – delivering a series of brief talks to supporters (and others who might become supporters).  The brief talks would be followed by a longer, wide-ranging Q & A session.

    The challenge to me is to compose these talks (and perform in the Q & A) in such a way that 1) the audience feels rewarded for having attended and inspired to invest in our campaign, and 2) the media will be motivated to cover the event and report my message to their own audiences.

    This would strengthen the campaign in two ways:  1) firing up and expanding our support base, and 2) getting the free media by which a campaign like mine can compete with a rich but vacuous campaign like Goodlatte’s.

    I believe that, in light of the strengths I bring to the race, it is realistic to believe I can meet this challenge. I am determined to do so.

    To achieve both goals with these events, we’ll need a good turn-out. That will be necessary for harnessing the people-power passion of a “movement.” And it will be needed also for demonstrating to the press that something important – and thus worth covering – is happening with this campaign.

    And that’s where I need your help.  I need for you and your Committee to do what you can to bring out your people, and to spread the word beyond.

    Thank you for whatever help you feel moved to provide. (And one thing that would be helpful is if you would share this message with your people, so that they will understand what the strategic idea is, and the important contribution they can make to its success.)



    PS For the First Round, the title of the brief talk with which I will begin the events is

    “The Real Threat to Our American Liberties.”

    The epigraph for this topic might be:

       History shows us what terrible things can happen if power  is concentrated in the hands of a few


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