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Response to Yavin4 (Reply #141)

Mon May 6, 2013, 11:16 PM

173. Guerrilla marketing

I've told the story before, but in the 2004 Minnesota caucuses, Kucinich got 17%, his best showing anywhere. This was not because "Minnesota is a liberal state," because DK did not do well in Madison, Wisconsin, or Portland, Oregon, or Berkeley, California, or any other place that is typically considered more left than average.

We had a dedicated team of volunteers who leafleted at the State Fair in 2003, set up a table at any event that allowed tabling, had campaign info translated into the major immigrant languages, leafleted at Twins and Vikings games, put signs on freeway bridges, and badgered local media to provide coverage. We leafleted our neighborhoods. Dennis came to speak in the Twin Cities four times.

Some of the volunteers "adopted" a county in Iowa, and DK won that county. He got 27% in the urban areas of the Twin Cities and won a few precincts.

Sad to say, I and the other veterans of 2004 were ready to go when DK announced his candidacy in 2007, but the call never came. None of us were contacted until we got a begging phone call asking for money just before Dennis withdrew. I don't know if someone deliberately sabotaged the campaign or what.

But anyway, this offers a clue for how to get leftists elected, especially now that so many people are so discontented with both parties. If the mass media and the party power structure won't respect you, bypass them.

If I were telling a real left party or faction how to gain control, I'd tell them to start small. Do what the righties did. Run for school board, city council, anything that doesn't require a lot of money and can make efficient use of person-to-person actions.

Also, be sure to find out what the real local concerns are and propose solutions. Back in the 1980s, someone ran for city council on the Citizens' Party platform. Unfortunately, his campaign was all about non-intervention in Central America and nuclear disarmament, both laudable goals, but Minneapolis was not sending military advisors to Central America or making nuclear weapons. Minneapolis residents in those days were concerned about snow removal, a remarkably ham-fisted school integration program, and a cabal of real estate speculators who were driving up rents. The Citizens' Party candidate had nothing to say about those issues and barely got any votes.

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