Super Lawyers
William C. Altreuter

Monday, April 18, 2016

A. is pretty committed to the candidates she likes-- or even, as in the case of John Kerry, the ones she doesn't particularly like but likes better than the alternative. She's made it a practice to go out and canvass for the past three or four Presidential elections. Me, I talk big-- A. walks it. She is all in for Bernie Sanders this time, so yesterday I went with her to see what this canvassing thing is like.

I'd imagined it would be a clipboard and a lot of loose sheets of paper with the names and addresses of Democrats on them, but it is much more elaborate than that. There is a smartphone app into which one loads a code assigned at HQ. This reveals a list of "likely Bernie voters"-- persons who have been identified by some mysterious algorithm. The point of walking the neighborhood is to remind the likely Sanders voters that the primary is this Tuesday. We were given careful instructions on how we were to interact with each contact: ask for the person by name ("Hi, are you Skipper?"); identify ourselves ("I'm A. and this is Outside Counsel."); explain why you are there (We are here to talk to you about Bernie Sanders, a Democrat running for President. Are you planing on voting Tuesday?"). We were supposed to gauge each person's preference: Strong Bernie, Leaning Bernie Leaning Hillary, Strong Hillary, and enter it in the app. When we got strong or leaning Bernie we would remind them where their polling place was, and ask when they were planing on voting . Best case, we were supposed to get their phone numbers, so that the phone banks could reach out one more time. Hillary supporters got a, "Have a nice day." If they wanna know where to vote let them ask her.

We were assigned to South Buffalo, a Democratic stronghold, but one with a strongly conservative bent. The Buffalo School Board elections are May 5 (good scheduling job guys!) and there were a lot of lawn signs for failed Republican gubernatorial candidate and successful asshole Carl Paladino, but these didn't seem to correlate particularly with support or lack of support for Sanders, which seems consistent with the view that Sanders appeal is to the disaffected. Disaffected white people is a big South Buffalo demographic.

As we were wrapping up the addresses we'd been assigned we met a trio of college age people also out canvassing for Sanders. That's an impressive piece of logistics, I think-- the campaign was blanketing the neighborhood. 

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