As a strong supporter of Hillary Clinton, the idea of going to Ohio to campaign for her was extremely exciting! I had worked on many campaigns before so I knew that every little helps, even the most tedious, and less simulating activities.
By Ines Talla
I got to Ohio less than a week before the primary, therefore it was all about convincing people to get out to vote, rather than persuading them that Hillary was the best candidate to vote for. To get out the vote, we had to either go knock on people’s doors or call them and remind them of the primary coming up, asking them a few questions about who they intended to vote for, and direct them to their polling station. We had to follow a specific script, and there was no need to know anything about her policies– unless of course the person on the line was passionate about Bernie Sanders and wanted to persuade you that he was the best candidate!
What we did
If, like me, you have had the experience of being insulted and screamed at while campaigning, you can be relieved: in the US we’re informed of whether people are registered democrats before calling them or knocking on their doors. This definitely makes the whole process easier, and less scary, as there is no risk of getting shot at the door.
I also had the opportunity to take part in a visibility activity, which involved holding signs and screaming chants under the rain. We were standing in front of the Greater Columbus Convention Centre, ahead of the Legacy Dinner hosted by the Ohio Democratic Party, with the presence of the two candidates: Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders.
This campaigning activity was all about recognizing Hillary Clinton’s record, in the most positive atmosphere. No mention or criticism was made of her opponents, but instead we had the opportunity to listen to some ‘special guests’ sing the praises of the former Secretary of State.
“I support Hillary Clinton because we are here to break down barriers not to build walls” (Congresswoman Shella Jackson). Secretary of Labour Thomas Perez and artist Jon Bauman (of Sha Na Na) also expressed their strong support for the female candidate.
After an intense day of screaming and singing, we were invited to the Legacy Dinner as part of the cheering group. Everyone was especially looking forward to the two democratic candidates speeches.
When Hillary Clinton came on stage, the whole room applauded for at least 2 minutes. I was like a teenager at her favorite singer’s concert: mesmerized. She connected so well with the audience that I felt she was talking directly to me. It was a privilege to hear her speak, something I had been looking forward to for so many years. If you have the opportunity to attend one of her rallies, the experience is even more amazing, as you can get a chance to briefly meet her.
Why you should do this!
Overall campaigning for a candidate you strongly support and believe in is, as one can expect, an amazing experience. You must be prepared for all kind of situations, and any kind of activities. It is very flexible, you can do as much or as little as you want. If you take it super seriously, you will probably be exhausted, and barely sleep at night, but trust me, you will also feel energized like never before! There’s no place like a campaign, especially in the US, where people are so intrigued by, and wiling to connect with, “foreigners with a strange accent”. You get to meet amazing people, from all walks of life, who continually inspire you. If you have the occasion to go to US to campaign for Hillary Clinton, just go – it is truly a once in a lifetime opportunity, one that you will never regret.
Ines Talla studies MSc Management, Organisations & Governance at the London School of Economics and has a BA in International Relations & Spanish from the University of Leeds. She is in charge of digital communications for Brits for Hillary, an initiative that aims to generate support for Hillary Clinton among the general British public. She is also a director of 45th for the 45th, a non-for- profit non-partisan programme, which aspires to re-engage young people with politics and political campaigning in the UK. Twitter: @InesTalla Website: inestalla.com
Photo by Ines Talla