phi (totient) wrote,


I like to give little bits of money to Senate candidates and it has been handy to be able to, for instance, call up Heidi Heitkamp's office and identify myself as a contributor to her 2012 Senate campaign when joining the chorus of people who asked her to vote no on Kavanaugh. Lately I've been giving to House candidates too and I suspect that the range of candidates I've given to has landed me on a list of likely suckers, which has had some amusing side effects.

The most recent of those was a week and a half ago when I got a call from someone on the Warren campaign asking if I were free this last weekend to go canvass in New Hampshire. I was, so I agreed, and on Tuesday I got a followup call from someone coordinating specifics and arranged to meet at a Starbucks in Londonderry at 10am on Saturday for a couple of hours of walking around nearby subdivisions. We got a little training talk and some good documentation and a clipboard and a cell phone app and I got paired off with a woman named Karen from Eastie to go knock on 40 or 50 doors. It was a gorgeous day to collect 10,000 steps, and also a gorgeous day to be out doing something other than waiting at home for canvassers so most of the doorbell rings went unanswered. But we had a couple of great conversations, including one with someone who's likely to volunteer on the campaign and another with a registered Republican who was very interested and who I bet would vote for her in the general (it's too late to change parties for the primary). We contributed to the GOTV dataset with info on who was still living at those addresses and who had moved away. And I had a lot of great conversations with Karen. At one point I caught my left middle finger in her car door which was pretty painful for a bit there but the folks at the Dunkies down the street gave me a cup of ice for it and apart from a nice purple color it seems to be doing OK now.

On the way back to the Starbucks to hand off our clipboard and our leftover handouts we passed a PYO apple orchard, and after we were all done I went back for cider and donuts. Neither were made on site and the donuts were not particularly worthwhile but the cider is pretty decent.

Apparently while I was gone someone came by the house canvassing for Will Mbah, who I think is awesome. I'm amused at the reason I missed them and I'm told they were amused too. The fact that I was canvassing for Warren was enough to make the Mbah canvasser think I'd vote for him, and that's probably quite a good correlation in general.

This year's City Council election is a difficult one to figure out tactics for. You get to vote for four at-large councilors and it's usually pretty possible to figure out the four progressive candidates with the best chances to win, and lately that has been enough to keep the trolls off the council. But this year, one of the progressives, Stephanie Hirsch, has said that she may have to leave part way through, and if that happens whoever came in fifth gets her spot. This means that unless we want to jettison Hirsch -- and it'd be awesome to have her even half a term from -- we need to make sure the troll comes in sixth, and since each voter only gets four votes it calls for tactical variation among the progressive voters. The question is which sets of tactics introduce a risk that the troll comes *fourth* and how much risk of that is worth keeping him from polling fifth.

I suspect that a enough people will vote non-tactically that I'll be able to come up with a tactic that dovetails with what I think other voters will be doing and have some endorsments. But I am not there yet.

Today, Kristen Strezo knocked on my door and I had a conversation with her. She didn't have an answer to my tactical question but I think it's likely that she'll land on my endorsements list. Her issues are certainly ones I care about a lot, and as she's living them she has some great ideas on how to address them, and she made it very clear the things the city is doing now -- which sound great on paper -- need a lot more intersectionality before they're any use.

She says she has knocked on 4300 doors. That's a lot, but it's still only about 15 percent of the doors in Somerville. She's got a lot of knocking still to do if she's going to come ahead of Jack Connolly.

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