As the title of this post suggest, it’s the end of my SRP. This is the last week before my presentation in front of the Blocks and I really wish it wasn’t. The polls that I did showed me that I really had something going for me with my research. There are a lot of people out there who have no idea what is going on behind the closed doors of campaigns. But alas, for my research, I got what I came for.
So… what did I come for? That’s a question that I was asking myself a lot during these past few weeks. When I wrote my proposal for this project over six months ago, I thought I’d be focusing a lot on the candidate. That may have been a mistake.
I can’t talk about this campaign specifically, so I’ll talk about my past experience (which is, at it’s core, similar to my current experience). Ron was dedicated when it came to Call Time, from what I saw. I saw him for a couple minutes every few weeks. I saw him that often when I worked out of the headquarters for the campaign, try seeing your candidate when you work across the state from them.
I’ll give the candidate a bit of credit, though. Whenever I was talking to voters about different issues, I knew that I could send Danny a message and get a response regarding the issue from the candidate. It was so amazing to be able to tell a voter, “I’m not sure about that issue and I don’t want to give you any incorrect information so let me get in touch with the candidate. I’ll get back to you on that.”
I polled a lot of voters and, from what I gathered, they would have appreciated being on the other end of that conversation. There’s a serious disconnect between voters and politicians. Sure, I may have gotten that response because of the Presidential election but let me explain why that matters. Presidential campaigns are when the majority of voters feel strongly enough to vote. They set the standard, in the eyes of the public, for what campaigns are and how they work. I can tell you that’s not true but the chances that someone is going to listen to me? Slim to none.
After one day of polling, I decided that the focus of my project needed to change. The questions I was asking (At what point does a candidate decide to run? How do they chose to align themselves politically? When is a platform solidified? Does the campaign change the candidate or do they stay true to themselves?) really didn’t matter for me to get people to care and appreciate campaigns. To quote my mentor, Will, you don’t get into campaigns for the public praise. So, instead, I changed my purpose to examine the difference in how people perceive campaigns and those who work on them and the reality.
What do people think of campaigns? They hold a very, very deep hatred of them. Even the people who had some sort of appreciation for campaigns felt that the traditional campaign was too long. They’re fed up. They don’t want to “listen to the same [things] for two years!” The people that I spoke to want to see campaigns modeled after the British system. In the eyes of the public, it’s all about money. Based on my experience, it is but not in the way that the public thinks. I couldn’t even tell you where all the money goes to specifically but I do know that those who work on campaigns don’t do it for the money. You will be very disappointed if you go into campaigns for the money.
Why do we do it? Why do we slave away working on a campaign if it isn’t for the pay? We do it because we enjoy it. You really do start on a campaign for the candidate and you stay for the team, the camaraderie. I can’t tell you all how much I appreciate the team I work on. We prop each other up and help each other meet goals, get through rough patches in life; we help each other with anything. It may be difficult to believe but it’s absolutely true.