The ground game has gone south?

In my years in politics, I have taught thousands of people how the political ground game is played. It is basic to politics throughout North America. It takes lots of experience and determination to learn. You have to win some and lose some.

This comes to mind because the wife’s book club is reading a book supposedly on democracy by a guy named Dave Meslin from Toronto. She was chortling as she read me some bits from the book about his ideas on ranked ballots. She knows how that subject will get to me every time.

But I know her attitude toward the ground game and when the writer disparaged its importance today, she lost interest in his book. Seasoned politicos across the United States are in the midst of the strongest ground game they have ever played—and in the face of a virulent pandemic. The formula is the same everywhere: you identify your vote and you get out your vote. Techniques have to change to suit the times and the demographics of the constituency, the basics are the same.

The first by-election I was part of was Charles Templeton’s run as a liberal for a provincial seat in an East End Toronto riding in the Riverdale area. The new democrats handed us our heads. It was the only by-election where I personally felt the loss.

The next by-election I was part of was on George Ben’s team, another provincial liberal in the Queen and Ossington area of West Toronto. I asked George to give me the toughest NDP poll in the riding and keep out any other workers. The poll had less than 100 voters and something like 52 had voted NDP in the previous election. I spent a couple weeks walking that poll, talking to the people. On election day, the NDP were so confident, the guy pulling their vote was the leader of their party. I took a special delight in delivering that poll, that was supposed to be NDP, quite convincingly, for the liberal.


Copyright 2020 © Peter Lowry

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