On the Ground with New Yorkers Volunteering for Clinton, Trump and Sanders

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After months of preparation and a three-week spree of intense campaigning, a radiant Hillary Clinton took to the stage in the ballroom of the Sheraton on Times Square. “There’s no place like home,” she told an energized crowd that repeatedly interrupted her with chants of “Hil-la-ry, Hil-la-ry.” In her New York primary victory speech, Clinton thanked all “the volunteers who have worked their hearts out” and encouraged others to sign up: “Be part of this campaign.”

Any presidential campaign needs volunteers, tens of thousands of enthusiastic supporters who give up their free time (and often their money) to champion their candidates. That’s no different in New York, where volunteers scoured the state going from door to door, making phone calls or organizing events.

And yet, volunteering varies — as a look at the Clinton, Trump and the suspended Sanders campaigns shows. Clinton’s volunteers are the most experienced and the most loyal, they are also closely tied to the offical campaign; Sanders’ were highly motivated, but loudly and vehemently demanded their independence, and Trump’s are few, and just as as outspoken and spur of the moment as the real estate mogul himself (shouting matches between volunteers and staffers included).

In that sense, the volunteers are a reflection of the candidates themselves.

A Lady Liberty Votes feature on Medium. Continue reading.

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In the Streets With Hillary Volunteers

I recently commented on how I never see Hillary supporters out on the street, but things have changed.

With the New York primary less than three weeks away, a stream of volunteers for “Hillary for America” took to the streets this weekend.

Like these Clinton supporters who spent Sunday afternoon outside the Park Slope Food Coop in Brooklyn.

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“Are you registered to vote, where you will be voting?”
“Are you interested in getting the vote out for Hillary?”
“April 19. Remember to vote for Hillary. Let’s make history.”

At the beginning of the shift, a campaign staffer briefed the volunteers on how to talk to people. “I don’t want you to feel that it’s too scripted,” he told them. And remember: “You are doing a civil duty by telling people where to vote. You are not soliciting.”

After that the volunteers were on their own. Brazing the freezing cold, they handed out flyers, reminded people to vote for Hillary on April 19, and signed up interested passersby for future volunteer shifts.

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Stephanie Israelson holds a volunteer registration form.

“It’s been great so far,” said Elizabeth Lucy, 22, a first-time volunteer. “It’s so brilliant to be outside of the Food Coop, where you know everybody is a democrat in there,” she added laughing.

Another first time volunteer was Gina Borden, 24. “It’s fun. This is a little out of my comfort zone, reaching out to people in this way, but it’s for something that I really believe, so it’s absolutely worth it,” said the dancer.

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The Hillary volunteers had feline support on the streets – from Charlie, a “feminist dog.”

The majority of volunteers who came out this Sunday were in their twenties. And they were quick to point out that not all young people are automatically Bernie supporters.

“I am standing here, and my friends are standing here, so it’s clearly not true,” said Edward Delman. The 25-year-old journalist wore a red “The Future is Female”-shirt unter his thick jacket.

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After an hour in front of the Park Slope Food Coop, the volunteers went to their next location – the farmer’s market.

Let’s assume that we will see a lot more of them in the next weeks.