Saturday, January 3, 2009

Continuing the Obamamentum: What now?

A belated Happy New Year! 

And speaking of new, the big political story of 2008 (other than the obvious one) was the "new politics" that Obama, Perriello and others brought to bear in their respective campaigns. For the first time in decades, towns and cities all over the Commonwealth could point to a presidential campaign's field office on Main Street. Those offices were staffed 10 to 12 hours a day by ordinary citizens--young and old, black and white--who believed in what their candidates stood for. Speaking for my own experience as a Perriello organizer in Martinsville, I can say that I became friends with our volunteers, and they developed a special bond with each other as well--and we built a powerful grassroots movement. People power went viral, and we voted for Barack, Mark, and Tom instead of voting against their opponents. 

But all of this poses a crucial question: how can we best capitalize on the momentum we've generated? The true test of 2008's success will be the degree to which our movement remains activated--I think it would be a massive disappointment for everything we built to shut down just as it reaches efficiency. I personally would love to see the Obama-Warner-Perriello volunteers working for the 2009 state races as well as the 2010 midterm. But I also would like to start a discussion regarding other ways to keep the grassroots activated. Any thoughts?

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