Letter to the Editor, The East Hampton Star, December 5, 2019
Clue Mr. Zeldin In
To the Editor:
Lee Zeldin has been tweeting up a storm and appearing on cable news with alarming regularity, barely able to conceal his fury about the impeachment inquiry. In fact, he has tweeted several times about “an enraged liberal activist base desperate to take down a sitting president.”
Can someone please clue Mr. Zeldin in that many of these allegedly enraged liberal activists are, in fact, his constituents, and in reality are law-abiding, patriotic citizens who are appalled by the actions of a lawless president? He would know this if he ever held a town hall (which he hasn’t in over two years).
Where was this passion and energy when SALT was being debated? During that time there was barely a peep out of him, and certainly no attempt to rally colleagues to fight it, even though he openly acknowledged it would have dire consequences for Long Island. And it has. Housing prices on the East End have declined because of it, and many households have lost thousands of dollars because of the cap it imposed on state and local tax deductions.
Zeldin richly deserves to be voted out of office. Use your vote to let him know that when we sent him to D.C., it was to represent Congressional District 1, not a corrupt president.
Deep Canvassing has grown in popularity as an organizing tool in the past few years, but while most people have heard of it, many are still unsure exactly what it is. The fundamentals behind deep canvassing are not new, in fact, organizing has always been based on the simple underlying belief that human conversations have the power to change minds and spur action.
The modern form of deep canvassing was developed by the Leadership LAB of the Los Angeles LGBT Center. Their Project Director, Dave Fleisher,
“In a conventional canvass, campaigns try to control the message by sending volunteers out with a script to recite exactly as written. There’s this belief that if we just say the right words, the voter’s going to change their mind. With a deep canvass, we want to figure out what’s relevant to voters. There’s still a script, but it’s designed to help the canvasser build a good rapport with a voter. The distinguishing feature of a deep canvass is you take a lot more time to talk to voters and have a bona fide two-way conversation about real experiences that shape their thinking about the issues. Instead of a script that lasts 60 seconds, volunteers spend 10 or 20 minutes talking with each voter.”
While deep canvassing has primarily been used on issue-based campaigns, such as ballot measures for LGBT issues like gay marriage and transgender equality, many of the techniques and principles can be adopted to deepen the organizing practice of electoral campaigns as well.
1. Build connections on the doors
Every good organizer knows that building connections is the secret to developing an energized volunteer base for a campaign, and it’s important to remember that this principle can apply to everyone that a campaign interacts with. Deep canvassing encourages canvassers to prioritize building a connection with each voter they engage with, going deeper than a simple candidate or issue ID. Creating real connections makes voters more likely to remember the conversations they have with canvassers or phone bankers and take action based on them.
2. Spend time listening
Part of building a connection with voters means practicing active listening. Fully concentrating on what a voter is saying, leaving space for a voter to pause and think before responding (without immediately jumping in to fill the silence), asking follow-up questions, and displaying engaged body language are all important listening techniques that create more meaningful conversations on the doors. If a voter spends more time talking during a conversation than a canvasser does, you’re doing it right!
3. Ask open-ended questions
No one likes being treated as a checkbox on a list, and when a voter takes the time to talk to a canvasser at their door it’s because they care about the political issues at hand. Moving beyond simple yes or no questions and prompting voters to share the things that they care about and the reasons behind their positions shows that your campaign is invested in their wellbeing, not just their vote. Asking follow-up questions assures voters that you are actually interested in what they have to say, and can give organizers insight into effective ways to motivate and activate them.
4. Find common values
The goal of a canvass is to prompt voters to take action, whether it be voting, volunteering, becoming a caucus leader, or talking to their other household members about voting. People take action because they care about something, so use canvass conversations to find out what is important to individual voters. Knowing the values that a voter holds, such as safety, community, justice, or fairness, can help you communicate your candidate’s positions in a way that is relevant and impactful to them.
5. Don’t be afraid of the hard questions
Having real conversations about politics means that sometimes tough issues will come up. Many communities in the country today are facing sharply divided political landscapes and evaluating hard questions about the future. Canvass conversations are effective when, rather than shying away from these issues, they are addressed head on, through the lens of shared values. What are the issues that a voter is considering when making a candidate decision, and which decision is ultimately more aligned with their values?
6. Let voters persuade themselves
Most people don’t like being told what to do or what to think, and so rather than telling someone what the right answer is, asking voters to consider these questions for themselves can be a powerful tool for persuasion. The goal of deep canvass conversations is not to directly tell people how to vote, but rather to help walk them through the reasoning process of determining which candidate’s positions align best with their values. Using this process can help a voter truly connect with their motivation for political involvement, something that ideally will stay with them through election day.
“In short, the Founders warned us that we should expect our foreign adversaries to target our elections and that we will find ourselves in grave danger if the president willingly opens the door to their influence.
“What kind of president would do that? How will we know if the president has betrayed his country in this manner for petty, personal gain?
“Hamilton had a response for that as well. He wrote:
‘When a man unprincipled in private life, desperate in his fortune, bold in his temper, possessed of considerable talents . . . known to have scoffed in private at the principles of liberty—when such a man is seen to mount the hobby horse of popularity—to join the cry of danger to liberty—to take every opportunity of embarrassing the General Government & bringing it under suspicion . . . [i]t may justly be suspected that his object is to throw things into confusion that he may ride the storm and direct the whirlwind.’
“Ladies and gentlemen, the storm in which we find ourselves today was set in motion by President Trump. I do not wish this moment on the country. But we have each taken an oath to protect the Constitution, and the facts before us are clear.
“President Trump did not merely seek to benefit from foreign interference in our elections.
“He directly and explicitly invited foreign interference in our elections. He used the powers of his office to try to make it happen. He sent his agents to make clear that this what he wanted. He was willing to compromise our security and his office for personal, political gain.”
This is truly quite remarkable. Kudos to Hamilton and to Jerry Nadler.
And thanks to Bob Wick for bringing this to our attention!
Acknowledgments: Karen Hobert Flynn and Paul Seamus Ryan co-authored this report.
The authors thank the 1.2 million Common Cause supporters whose small-dollar donations fund more than 70% of our annual budget for our nonpartisan work strengthening the people’s voice in our democracy. Thank you to the Common Cause National Governing Board for its leadership and support. We also thank Susannah Goodman, Aaron Scherb, Jay Riestenberg and William Steiner for assistance with the content; Melissa Brown Levine for copy editing, Kerstin Vogdes Diehn for design, and Scott Blaine Swenson for strategic communications support. This report is complete as of November 20, 2019.
Jacinda Ardern uses solace and steel to guide a broken nation. The 38-year-old prime minister has been tested like no other New Zealand leader before by the worst terrorist attack in the nation’s modern history.
While her leadership was spot on and has been applauded worldwide, I wondered at the time, how successful she would ultimately be, putting thru new gun control legislation. New Zealand has its own lobby of gun enthusiasts, like the NRA.
I also wondered, why can’t the US produce political leaders of the same caliber. Here is a follow up on this story.
This is New Zealand’s second set of gun reforms after weak firearm laws were identified as a key reason why a suspected white supremacist was able to own semi-automatic weapons that he used to kill people gathered at two mosques for Friday prayers on March 15….
The government had near-unanimous supportin parliament when it earlier passed a law banning military-style semi-automatics (MSSAs) in the first round of reforms within weeks of the attack, New Zealand’s worst peace-time mass shooting. …
The new bill, details of which have already been made public and that will have its first reading on Sept. 24, will include the creation of a registry to monitor and track every firearm legally held in New Zealand.
As by Nov 2019, we have encouraging reports on a gun buyback:
Here is an example of where we stand in the USA: November 12, 2019
A leading gun industry group is confident they will win. It believes the U.S. Supreme Court should have reviewed and dismissed a lawsuit against the maker of the rifle used in the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting. The National Shooting Sports Foundation says it’s disappointed that justices Tuesday allowed the lawsuit against Remington Arms to move forward in a Connecticut court but is confident the company will prevail at trial.
SCOTUS has ruled twice to protect a very expansive and lax interpretation of the 2nd amendment, in particular, relative to the “well regulated” in
“A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.”
So I am not too optimistic in regard to the lawsuit against Remington Arms.