The Positive Impact Campaigns Leave Behind

Political campaigns are interesting beasts. They’re an absolute whirlwind of busy people and huge expenditures that grows ever more frantic until at last, the fever breaks on a Tuesday in November. A lot gets left behind after the political season. There will always be the stacks of literature that never made it to a door, websites that linger motionless spelling out a conclusion that isn’t written there, and most important of all, the people that worked tirelessly for months before everything suddenly ends.

Zimmerman Parade

The DFL loves grassroots organizing, and that makes sense considering the large funding gap that typically exists between the two major parties (especially in Greater Minnesota). This means every campaign across the state is absolutely dependent on people being excited by a message and giving their precious time and resources to a political cause and candidate. That dependence is beautiful, and what those volunteers accomplish is spectacular.

Every candidate, whether they win their desired office or not, becomes indebted to those that helped them along the way. Too often in this money flooded political system that indebtedness is to corporate backers and special interest groups, but when a candidate relies heavily on the people to carry their message, that indebtedness is to their constituents. When a candidate must rely on their neighbors, they learn to listen and spend their time having meaningful conversations with those they would represent. This is what democracy should look like, and that’s exactly what our slate of DFL candidates in CD6 did throughout this year.

However, no candidate exists in a vacuum, and the true strength of a grassroots campaign lies in the people and how their actions impact the community. Campaigns may use doors knocked, phones called, and mailers sent as their metrics, but those are just the things that can be measured and displayed on a spreadsheet. How do we calculate the impact of meeting your neighbors for the first time on a door knock? Can new friendships that develop through shared volunteer hours be quantified? What is the effect of ending social isolation for hundreds of people across the district who believed wholeheartedly they were the only Democrat in town? While there may not be numbers to associate with these changes in the community, this is the legacy a good campaign leaves behind, win or lose.

It can be easy to feel defeated if you happen to be a Democrat in Minnesota’s 6th Congressional District. We may not have picked up many house seats, but it’s those immeasurable things that matter most. We built community, and we spoke proudly of our values and ideals to people who have never considered our perspective before. We changed people’s minds, and we brought out new voters. We didn’t just say we cared, we proved it through our actions. This year, the politics of care and community gained ground over the politics of fear and division, and that’s something we can measure.

The stacks of literature we leave behind don’t amount to much, but the community we develop does. As the DFL endorsed candidate for CD6 this last election cycle, I want to say thank you. I owe you, and as long as you stick around and keep that passion for change and true representation alive, I’ll be here ready to help grow our community and to fight for you again and again.
On a related note, would anyone like a stack of old lit?

Ian Todd1 Comment