When you hear the word “phone bank,” you might think of a windowless room with endless rows of tables and telephones on them. Or a small army of people with headsets who are wildly gesticulating.
In truth it’s more like a cozy living room, a comfortable couch and free chocolate.
For example in the Brooklyn-apartment of Eric Carino. The millennial with Mexican roots hosted one of many city-wide Call for Bernie events last Monday.
“I joined a phone bank a couple of weeks ago,” explained Carino. “It seemed pretty easy, so I felt I should host one myself.”
15 people had signed up, five came. “I am just glad, it’s not just me and my girlfriend,” said Carino.
The volunteers were calling possible voters in New Hampshire and Nevada, while they were following the first results of the Iowa caucus on a muted TV in the background.
All phone numbers are randomly assigned by a computer program, so there was no way of knowing if the person on the other end of the line would be a Democrat or not.
“We are trying to find the Bernie supporters,” explained Carino.
The volunteers follow a script that is provided by the campaign. After the call, they rate the phone call in an internal program – from “Strong Bernie” over “Leaning Clinton” all the way to “GOP”-supporter.
“It’s going good,” said Lauretta Prevost, a cinematographer. “Lots of people hang up, but at least then we know how they feel.”
The sentiment was mirrored by Jeannette Lee who made over 50 calls in two hours. “I had one ‘Fuck me’-comment and five positive calls,” she said.
“Right now I talked to this great 89 year old and he said, ‘I will get out with my crutch and vote Bernie.’ Isn’t that great?”