Define it.

A lot of people talk about it, but some folks are just out for the show and not so much the work.  What is grassroots to you and who is effectively implementing it.  Give examples.  Let’s try to be civil in this thread, tell what you think YOUR candidate is doing right and wrong.   Are your candidates astroturfing or planting seeds?


  1. buzzbrockway says:

    With all the distractions our society offers, candidates must use many different avenues to reach voters. That’s what I think of when I think of “grassroots.” It’s not enough to contact people once or twice with a slick mailer and a phone call, you need to contact them until they almost get annoyed.

    I’ve had people tell me “if you call me one more time I’ll vote Democrat” but I know, and they know they won’t do it. I wish that wasn’t necessary, but with the apathy of today’s voters, I’m convinced it is.

  2. Here’s a problem: How does an official entity like a campaign orchestrate something that by definition is supposed to be self initiated on a volunteer basis?

    The flaggers are a great example of a grassroots group. Individual anger prompted them to start up to oppose Roy Barnes and eventually (with encouragement from the campaign) to turn that opposition into support for Sonny. Could Sonny’s campaign have organized themselves such an effective group? I think not.

    If someone decides on their own that they are determined to see Candidate X get elected so they start telling their friends, making supplies, handing out literature, writing letters etc that is definitely grassroots to me. But if it’s more coordinated, the volunteers were recruited, told what to do, where to go, who to write, who to call, that seems to be something else.

    What it boils down to is that the most effective avenue for grassroots organizing is personal involvement stemming from some sort of deep feeling, again, see the flaggers. I don’t think campaigns can really manufacture this type of sentiment or level of passion so grassroots isn’t really the right term for a lot of campaign activities that claim to be (like myspace).

  3. Three Jack says:

    Northern Arc Task Force (NATF) was a great example of a (drive-by) grassroots organization forming quickly, achieving the goal, then going away. While I totally disagreed with their positions, they were effective and a good example of grassroots influence.

  4. The Busdriver says:

    Coalition Against the Expansion of Legalized Gambling. That’s a good grassroots operation, right?

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