Project Wonderful

Thursday, August 25, 2016

Field Staff Bracketology

I notice a lot of the same themes submitted to my Tumblr. Candidates refusing to do call time, useless conference calls, the constant stream of coffee and pizza...some things never change. So in this hot, muggy August, arguably the biggest slog of the year, I thought it might be cathartic to get to the bottom of what REALLY, REALLY annoys us. So with that I give you, Field Staff bracketology. (Look forward to Campaign Manager bracketology also coming soon!) Follow my tumblr for periodic opportunities to vote and weigh in!

And the contestants are...

1.) Calling people "folks"*
2.) Calling volunteers "bodies"
3.) People who don't mute themselves on conference calls
4.) People who ask conference call questions that only pertain to them
5.) People who demand to stuff envelopes
6.) People who want to volunteer "on policy"
7.) "I help in my own way."
8.) "I'll take a yard sign."
9.) "I'm not political"
10.) Repeating Fox News talking points
11.) "It is what it is"
12.) "At the end of the day..."
13.) Comparing everything to the West Wing
14.) Comparing everything to Obama '08
15.) Being told that field doesn't work
16.) Being told that "grassroots" campaign don't need to fund raise.

Hope you are doing well out there and dealing with as few of these as possible! Click above to see the matchups! I know you love voting, so make sure to participate in the Tumblr polls!

Campaign Love and Mine,


*despite what a performative progressive hater on my Tumblr commented this is not a "the gender neutral way to refer to a group of people." We have a word for that, it's "people."

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

The First Modern Presidential Campaign

I have this joke with friends who are indulgent enough to let me drag them to historic Presidential houses: Every President ran or participated in the first modern Presidential campaign. About 50% of the time when I visit these homes a tour guide will make that claim about the home's erstwhile inhabitant. In addition, as I mentioned in a recent blog post, I have been listening to Slate's excellent Whistlestop Podcast which has only reinforced what I have been saying all season: every Presidential election is an historic election. First of all, that's what history means. There is no such thing as "most historic." Second of all, a lot happens in 4 to 8 years. I'm not saying this year isn't special, even the most casual observer will note my feelings on our opportunity to elect the first woman President. I'm just saying the game has been changed before. Here are 16 examples of "historic" campaigns.

1789: George Washington: Okay this is a softball. First president, first presidential election although there wasn't much of a campaign to speak of.
1796: John Adams vs. Thomas Jefferson: First contested presidential campaign. Also the first peaceful transfer of executive power which...was not guaranteed at the time.
1800: John Adams vs. Thomas Jefferson: Rematch! The first peaceful transfer of power between parties under the US Constitution.
1804: Thomas Jefferson vs. Charles Pinckney: Twelfth Amendment! This is the first Presidential election in which there were separate ballots for President and Vice President. Previously, the runner up just became the VP which...had been a problem for Jefferson and Adams.
1812: Madison vs. Clinton, non William Jefferson/Hillary Rodham category...First wartime election.
1840: William Henry Harrison vs Van Buren Seriously you guys, I cannot recommend Whistlestop podcast highly enough and this was my favorite episode. Just check out the quote there from below.
"It is a garden of delights of electoral history. It is the Woodstock of elections. It is the Studio 54 of campaigning. It's the election that cracked it all open. All the gooey madness that we know about now: the empty appeals to the crowd, the false advertising, the paradoxes, the booze and the circus atmosphere all started with this campaign."
This election is noteworthy for many things including the idea of actually running for office (speaking on one's own behalf) rather than simply "standing for office," and being the first Presidential election with universal white male suffrage! 80% of eligible electorate cast ballots. Not of registered voters, of eligible voters. Listen to the episode. It's wonderful. It's also where I learned the etymology of the word "booze."
1856: Buchanan v. Fillmore First time an incumbent President (Franklin Pierce) had sought and been denied his party's nomination. It is also the first Presidential election to be Democrat vs. Republican. As you can see the 1856 election was a real embarrassment of nobodies. I'll still make my boyfriend/exboyfriend/gay boyfriends visit their houses with me though.
1896: McKinley v. William Jenning Bryan #ManyPeopleAreSaying that this is the first modern political campaign due to McKinley campaign manager, Mark Hanna who began using tactics like polling and direct mail on a large scale for the first time.
1912: Wilson v. Roosevelt v. Taft This one gives me feelings. And it gives us the rise of the Presidential primary system. Although the first Presidential primary was held in Florida in 1901, former President and my favorite historical figure Teddy Roosevelt basically forced a more direct form of nomination on the Republican party because he wanted back in the White House and figured his personal popularity was the best route to defeating his once and future friend, President Taft. Read the Cliffs Notes version here. Spoiler alert: It doesn't work but it weakens Taft enough that Roosevelt can make a credible third party run handing the election to Wilson.
1920: Harding v. Cox First election following the ratification of the 19th Amendment and therefore the first in which women could vote #BeyonceVoters
1960: Nixon v. Kennedy and the first televised Presidential debate. Assuming you have not been under a political science rock, you may have heard about that.
1968: Nixon v. Humpfrey First election after the signing of the Voting Rights Act
1972: Nixon v. McGovern First election after the passage of the Twenty Sixth Amendment which lowered the voting age from 21 to 18. (Also something something CREEP something something Watergate Hotel...)
1992: Bush v. Clinton this was the first election to feature a town hall style debate in which ordinary citizens as opposed to journalists asked candidates questions. Town Hall debates have been a staple of Presidential politics since.
1996: Clinton v. Dole The first election in which both major party nominees had websites. Check 'em out.
2004: Bush v. Kerry, but notable for the way in which the Dean campaign leveraged the Internet and in particular online fundraising.
2008: Obama v. McCain Obviously this was the time field organizing was invented! J/k, j/k, j/k definitely not, but it is certainly notable because the Democratic party saw a black man (Obama) and a woman (Elizabeth Warren) battling it out for an historic nomination.

And there you have it! It is late and I've been working on this for a while so apologies for personal snark and not following a rule by I decide which candidate's name came first. I hope you enjoyed this peek into history! Let me know if I left anything out.

Campaign Love and Mine,


100 Useful Campaign Tools

Remember the first time you discovered Google Docs? Mind blown, right? Well, check out this useful post from my friends at The Campaign Workshop, 100 Best Campaign Tools Everything from VAN to video editing to Google add ons to make your email more productive and many of them are free. Click here and thank me (or them) later!

Sunday, July 24, 2016

#HealtheBern: Give Yourself Permission To Be Excited About Hillary

I have something important to say to my friends and colleagues who supported Bernie during the primary process: Give yourself permission to be excited about Hillary. I'm not saying that for my sake, or as a criticism, or because the stakes are just too damn high--although they are-- but rather, as friendly advice from someone who knows what you're going through.

As you know in 2008, I worked for John Edwards for a year in Iowa. I was a true believer as all good organizers must be. I believed, as many of you do now, although I would have loved to see a woman or a black man become President that the white guy was the most progressive choice, the best poised to carry out my vision for America and the most likely to win in a general election. Before the primary I had considered working for Obama, but in my fervor I convinced myself that HE. MUST. NOT. BE. PRESIDENT., that his supporters were all brainwashed and that he was as disingenuous and phony as ever a politician was.

And then...we lost. My candidate wasn't even part of the conversation for the last several months of the primary. Add on to that suck sundae the hot fudge and cherry of Edwards admitting he had an affair and paid off his pregnant mistress while his wife was dying of cancer and, to mix culinary political metaphors, I was vomiting up kool-aid for weeks.

When you've worked yourself up into a devotional lather for a candidate, it can be a hard scent to wash off. Of course, the smug indifference of Obama stalwarts didn't help either. By that time I was a Regional Field Director for Mark Udall and the Democratic Party in Colorado. Although nominally we were working for the entire federal ticket, OFA had its own campaign in the state in full force. This was my second cycle and forth campaign and yet staffers who had only ever worked for Obama felt justified in talking down to me, commandeering my resources and bulldozing my operation completely. It wasn't just his staff. I remember fighting with my county chair over my insistence on keeping my rainbow John Edwards bumper sticker on the back of my car next to my Udall and Obama stickers--a fight which culminated in him chasing me around the office with scissors and calling me a bitch. (Neither my 4Runner nor my relationship with that county chair survived the campaign.) Of course these are extreme examples, but I think its fair to say that those of us who currently worked or had worked for other candidates in 2008 felt a sense of scorn and derisiveness that we had not been on board with this "new" brand of organizing from the beginning.

In 2008, the Democratic Convention was held in Colorado and although the Obama fellow in my office very sweetly got me a ticket to the historic nomination speech (not all Obama staffers were as rude as those described above) there is a 50/50 chance I would have participated in a fart-in had such an event been promoted. The night of Obama's election the streets of Denver were like an opening number from a musical. I would not have been surprised if someone had pirouetted by and offered me pie. Yet despite my pride for in my team and excitement for Senator Udall, mine wasn't the celebratory fervor of those elated by the election of our nation's first black President.

The irony is that now I love Barack Obama, even more so than some of his early supporters who seem to be disappointed by his inability to turn water into wine. But I missed out on the opportunity to celebrate and to really be part of his historic candidacy because I was too proud. I was in the perfect space to feel that same patriotism, that relief, that sense of justice that as the pie dancers, but I just didn't. And I don't want that to happen to you.

I'm not writing this post because we need your vote, although we absolutely do. I have every confidence that my friends and colleagues who supported Bernie Sanders in the primary will at very least hold their noses and cast their ballots to keep a fascist like Donald Trump out of the White House. (Anyone who advocates opting out in such a crucial election is neither my friend nor my colleague.) But I want more than that for you.

Whatever your issues may be with Hillary there is no denying the historic nature of her candidacy. As progressives, we care about descriptive representation. We want to see historically oppressed communities rise and be able to celebrate milestones, even if that's not the only thing on our minds when we choose between two progressive candidates. What I have been saying all along continues to be true: electing Hillary Clinton would be a Big. Fucking. Deal. to girls, to women, to our country. If you are part of that fight, that larger fight, no matter who you supported in the primary, you deserve to be part of the celebration. Don't rob yourself of that over lingering resentment.

I hope you can be proud of the work you did in the primary and join me on the general election bandwagon. You can bring your bumper sticker. I'll move over and give you part of my seat.

Friday, July 22, 2016

Meet a DNC Delegate, Pasquale Luz

1) Tell us a little bit about who you are.
My dad is from the Philippines and my mother's family is from Mexico. They met in the Army in the first Desert Storm and raised me and my brother & sister in Chicago. I grew up working on political campaigns with my mother, her mother, and my aunt with the National Organization for Women. I worked on local elections, went to rallies, knocked on doors, etc. Eventually, I decided to go to school in Iowa at the greatest college on Loras Boulevard (Go Duhawks!) and have been working on political campaigns since I graduated.

2) Why did you want to become a delegate?
To tell my grandmothers that I was there to make this happen for them. I know how much it means to them to elect Hillary Clinton and I wanted to make sure I did everything I could to do just that.

I used to ride my bike past Hillary Clinton's childhood home in Park Ridge on my way to work. I remember always hearing my grandmother say how she was going to be President someday. I wasn't able to vote for her in 2008 so it's surreal to have made this my first vote for a new President.

From the first caucus to the nomination, I'm lucky to have been a part of this.

3) What was the process to becoming a convention delegate?
There's a series of conventions on the way to being nominated. You start by getting named to go to the county convention from your precinct, then named to go to the district convention from your county. Fortunately, if you don't get nominated at district, you can go to the state convention in Des Moines.

My little brother was with me the day of the county convention and got to see me plead my case to the couple hundred people in Dubuque County voting for delegates. I moved on from Dubuque County to the 1st District Conventions in Anamosa.

(See photo above) I brought this picture and told a story about my background in politics, my mom's background in the Army, as well as our experiences with NOW. I was elected on the first ballot. It was really exciting. I ran clear out of the room and called my bosses, my mom, my dad, my brother, my sister, and did a full lap around the building before coming back in.

4) You caucused in Iowa in a very close election. What was that like?
Intense. Both the precincts in my caucus location were packed with Bernie supporters but we had to recount and recount and recount. I believe both of the precincts went in the favor of Bernie by 2 delegates instead of by 3 or 4; with the state being won by 4 delegates in February, that was huge. Shout out to my friends on the Hillary for Iowa team who did an amazing job throughout the process.

5) What surprised you about the process thus far?
Getting sent to the Democratic Convention at all. I would never have thought that I would have this opportunity and I honestly still can't believe it.

6) What are the costs/logistics associated with attending the DNC? Does the state party cover any of it?
Since Iowa is sharing a hotel with California and Florida, the Marriott is charging $700 a night. To combat these costs, I made the decision to share a room with a few other delegates from Iowa (as well as flying out of Trenton at 4 am the morning after the nomination). Unfortunately, the state party doesn't cover any of it but they've helped us a ton in coordinating the trip. However, I'm very fortunate to have a great foundation of family and friends who have helped me along the way. (Nancy's note: getting to convention is EXPENSIVE, click here to support Pasquale's GoFundMe campaign!)

7) What exactly does a delegate do? What are your responsibilities?
As a Hillary Clinton delegate, I'll be there to cast my vote for her and make her the next President of the United States. Wow, that's cool to say.

Along with that, I'll be going to different caucus meetings to meet people from across the country, voting on different platforms, and trying not to nerd out on all the different Congressman and Senators that'll be there.

8) What are some of the things you are most excited for at the DNC?
Of course, nominating our next president on Thursday night is right up there. Also I'm really excited to see our current president speak on Wednesday. Somehow, being from Chicago and living in Iowa, I haven't been able to see President Obama speak and it's definitely on my bucket list.

Number 1's gotta be eating an authentic Philly cheesesteak. Seeing the Liberty Bell and the Independence Hall probably rounds out my top 5. And running up the steps like Rocky.

9) Anything else you want our readers to know?
You might not know it to look at me, but I can run really, really fast.

Thanks for letting me share these stories with you.

Thank YOU Pasquale!

Saturday, July 9, 2016

How I Make Money Between Campaigns

I get sooo many questions about what people do to make money between campaigns and I finally just this past year have a great answer, I'm a Mary Kay consultant! If that sounds crazy or like something you would never do, me neither! But I fell into it and it wound up being a perfect fit for a campaign girl like me. So even if it seems a little nuts to you, just click below to find out more.

(Also if you'd like to order from me that's awesome too! Check out the link to my site below.) Campaign love and mine!




Why I Love This Company

My original post when I discovered my Mary Kay YouTube videos

My Mary Kay website

Email me to find out more:

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Can You NOT?

Well, it's getting to be that time of year when I have increasingly more to share with you and increasingly less time in which to share it. But I had to share this.
Can You Not is a PAC for white men, by white men, basically encouraging white men to step back from running against women and minority candidates in majority minority districts. From the site:

"Can You Not PAC was founded on the idea that while there are amazing groups doing great work to recruit and support women, people of color, and LGBTQ folks who are running for office, there was one small thing missing.

Can You Not PAC is a political action project that aims to dis/empower and dis/incline people in positions of privilege, specifically straight white men, from ambitions of running for office in progressive urban districts. We challenge brogressives and others to reject any notion that they are uniquely qualified or positioned to seek political office in districts that don’t need them. As well-represented white dudes, we feel it is our obligation to know when to shut up and Not.

The Can You Not PAC was started by white men, for white men, asking white men that one important question: “Bruh, can you not?” We are happy to host interventions for the misguided bros in your life who looked in the mirror this morning and thought “yeah, it’s gotta be me.”"