I just got an email from Barack Obama telling me something interesting -- I was one of his earliest donors:
You were one of the first 100,000 people to own a piece of this campaign. You provided the strength needed to build a movement.
Back then, few pundits or insiders thought we had a chance. But thanks to you, we overcame steep odds. Twenty months later, millions of Americans all across the country have joined you, working for change.
But in these final three weeks, our opponents are signaling they will do whatever they can to distract voters and distort the truth, so we need to redouble our efforts.
We need to grow this movement by 100,000 new donors before Friday.
By promising to match the contribution of a new supporter, you'll encourage them to give for the first time. This is your last opportunity to partner with a fellow supporter and make your donation go twice as far.
At the time I first gave money to Obama, I wasn't backing his campaign yet. I make a practice of giving small contributions to candidates early in presidential primaries to learn more about them. I gave money to Obama, John Edwards and Joe Biden, deciding on the eve of the Iowa Caucus that Biden was my preferred candidate. Once you give money to a politician you never hear the end of them. Edwards sent me text messages before each debate. Obama paired me up with other donors. Biden's wife Valerie sent me campaign updates in email. I had trouble explaining my contribution policy to a BusinessWeek reporter in January without sounding insane.
I even heard from Biden a few times after he dropped out.
If Obama wins the election, voter concerns about the economic meltdown will be cited as the main reason, but I think the campaign he's run has as much to do with his success. Obama's motivated people to work for his campaign in numbers I've never seen before in past elections, and he's gotten his volunteers to do the real work of campaigning -- knocking on doors and hitting the phones -- rather than just putting up signs in their yards. Over the past two weeks I've received five phone calls and a personal visit from Obama supporters. They want to know first who I'm voting for, and second if I'll volunteer time to getting the vote out here in Florida. I've also been invited to a neighborhood gathering of Obama supporters.
Registered as a Democrat in the red states of Texas and Florida during presidential elections, I've never been personally visited by a campaign before, even in 2000 when Florida was anticipated to be one of the most important swing states. Obama's better at getting people to own a piece of his candidacy than any Democrat in my lifetime. The email he sent today, which shows he kept track of his earliest donors, is an inspired way to encourage us to do more in the home stretch.
Though it's still possible for John McCain to rally and beat Obama -- Democrats should never underestimate our ability to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory -- the former community organizer has built an extremely well-organized community of voters. Considering the number of Republicans who ridiculed that part of his background during their convention speeches, I'm hoping he gets the last laugh.
I agree with you completely. He's run a really well organized campaign. If I found out about a neighborhood rally I'd go to it!
Your post inspired me to try to find a local Democratic Party office to do some volunteer work. There isn't one within 50 miles of where I live! Darn it! I would have thought there would be one closer - I'm in Virginia, which I THOUGHT was a swing state and expected to find one within a reasonable distance! I guess I live further out in the boonies than I realized!