Senior staff writer Elle Ferguson drives up the East coast to talk to a surprising number of Buttigieg supporters.
Last weekend I went with Columbia for Warren to New Hampshire to talk to Democratic voters because – believe it or not – the beginning of primaries is only 12 weekends away! About 19 other students went with me, and I drove four of them in a van on Friday afternoon to Sunday night. If you’re wondering what this trip was like and what future canvass trips may be like in the future, here’s a summary of my experience:
I went to Avis at La Guardia to pick up the van, a beautiful Mitsubishi van, and I chaotically drove it back to campus and picked up my group in front of the law school. Just like that, we were off. The drive went pretty well, except for the fact that I made a wrong turn that put us back 45 minutes. I felt super powerful being the only driver in the van – very Warren of me to be breaking gender stereotypes like that.
We made it to our housing at 10. We stayed with local supporters who volunteered to host us for the weekend. A wonderful couple volunteered their house to us and the husband made a great dinner. We love Todd and Julie!
We show up at the local campaign office at 10 am. Our job for the day is to canvass, which means we talk to as many voters as we can. The coordinator gives us a short introduction – we’re meant to talk to them about key issues to them in this election cycle, and what we like about Elizabeth Warren. I’ve told about 1000 people about her public education plan, which BOPS by the way. I pair up with someone who has canvassing experience and receive a list with Democratic voters in a certain neighborhood. We drive off to talk to those voters. Most people are receptive and nice. Also, many people are Buttigieg fans.
At night, we gather in the office and phone bank. I call about 30 people and no one picks up, but honestly I’m relieved because it means I don’t have to talk to anyone. Highlight of the night was going out to a burger joint next to the University of New Hampshire.
The couple I’m staying with makes us breakfast (egg frittata), and we pack up the car because we’ll be heading right out after canvassing. The wife insisted on taking a photo with us and I’m pretty sure we’re best friends now.
At 10 am, we were back at the office and given more lists. Sunday morning was probably the best for me because we spoke to the most voters and they were the most open to Warren (yay!). We only did one shift of canvassing, so we went back to the office to debrief and then we headed back home. I drove for four straight hours and now I’m going insane.
Overall, the trip was an incredibly rewarding experience! I made new friends, spoke to any voters, and ate a really good burger. I was really nervous about knocking on doors and speaking to strangers at first but after a few houses I felt totally confident and it feels good to help a campaign that way. I would really recommend canvassing for anyone who wants to be more involved in this election cycle – being politically efficacious is a big deal for me in the 2020 election since I wasn’t of voting age in 2016. All in all this was a great experience and I hope to canvass again soon!