Taking Advantage of Every Grassroots Opportunity

OCTOBER 15, 2008
Phillip Stutts
It was reported that 23,000 people showed up for a McCain/Palin rally in Fairfax, VA last week. That's a stunning number considering McCain was averaging far less than that in the "Triple-P" days ("Pre-Palin Pick").

In my interview last week with the Dan Levy radio program I explained how Sarah Palin has united/rallied the conservative base around this ticket. As a grassroots guy, I know this equals new volunteers and stronger commitments from the current set of long-time volunteers.

Matt Lewis, a Townhall.com blogger who is always on top of things, reported that the McCain-Palin grassroots staff was recruiting volunteers and identifying supporters and non-supporters at the rally.

So, how will the McCain campaign now put this information to use? Here's how I see it:

-The campaign essentially collected 23,000 names, emails and phone numbers at the event in Virginia. They will take that information and contact each person/potential volunteer and ask them to participate in the get-out-the-vote (GOTV) persuasion effort (advocating the McCain-Palin message to undecided voters). I would imagine the campaign will ask the following questions to each person who signed up at the rally:

Are you willing to volunteer? If yes...

What volunteer activities would they feel most comfortable contributing?

     i. Phone calls to undecided voters?

     ii. Walking door-to-door to targeted undecided households?

     iii. Inputting data into our database?

The second part of the campaign's effort at the Virginia rally was to ask each attendee (while they waited for McCain and Palin to show up) to call two non-identified voters and ask whom they are supporting for President this fall.

The campaign will take this information, input it into their vast database, and use it in their GOTV efforts this fall.

I would venture to say that many who attended the rally in Virginia will give a portion of their time between now and Election Day to help the campaign identify and turn out voters.

As an admitted grassroots nerd and McCain supporter, this is a smart and exciting development. It's progress from what we did four years ago turning out votes for the Bush reelection effort - where we didn't take advantage of large supportive crowds - at least to this extent.

Phillip Stutts currently serves as the president of Phillip Stutts & Company, LLC, a political and corporate consulting firm. He was the National  72 Hour/Get Out the Vote Director for the RNC and President Bush's reelection in 2004.

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