Working with the O’Malley campaign has been the best choice I have made since I’ve been here (the worst being repeatedly sleeping through breakfast and choosing a Chicken Panini over fish and chips).
The usual work of an intern at a campaign is a simple diet of phone banking and canvassing with a pinch of random tasks. Using big media campaigns and national adds the point of a campaign is to reach as many voters as possible and the job of an intern is to spread that message as quickly and efficiently as they can. At the O’Malley campaign I was able to take it one step further.
While phone banking I came across the nicest old lady. I say nicest because not only did she pick up the phone, she then proceeded to listen to me as I stumbled through my pitch to why she should vote O’Malley. Eventually we came across the topic of Social Security, a topic she was interested in and I knew nothing about. Unfortunately, due to being a college student as well as international student my knowledge on social security was very close to zero. I then proceeded to asked her if I could email her some more in depth literature on the topic and she replied by informing me “I have never understood those computers”. This would usually follow with an awkward laugh and an abrupt stop in the conversation. But, instead of hitting a dead end, I had the opportunity to take her address down and tell her I would drop off some literature at her house and sure enough, the next day I was able to go meet her face to face.
My fellow canvasser, Emma,and I got out of the car holding the literature, not knowning what to expect as we knocked on a door of a women we had never met. As soon as I knocked on the door she opened and as I started to explain who we were she instantly recognized me as the girl who had called her yesterday. She smiled kindly as a yet again stumbled through explaining the literature I had brought and then thanked us for coming to drop off the information she wanted and for the effor we had put in. As we walked back to the car Emma and I high-fived each other. Not only did she open the door and talked to us but the pleasant coversation left us (and hopefully) her just a little bit happier.
I am so utterly grateful to the O’Malley campaign for letting me meet voters and make them feel appreciated and significant in the whirlwind of the elections. The primary elections are crazy and fast paced and voters become one piece of a very complicated puzzle. What is imperative to remember is through all the multitudes of elections, thousands of add campaigns, phone calls and canvassing, what matters the most is the genuine interactions you have the opportunity to make and the impact you can have on a voter.
-- Rhea Rajan is a Sophomore at St. Olaf College from Mumbai, India. She is a Psychology major with a concentration in Neuroscience. She is in New Hampshire as part of a St. Olaf political science class studying the presidential election.