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Divided We Stand

Divided We Stand
New book about the 2020 election.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

OFA, Campaigning, and Governing

A Washington Post article quotes a perceptive comment by my student Abe Shimm about the difference betweeen campaigning and governing.

[E-mail] now comes from Organizing for America, the campaign's online network, renamed, that helped deliver Obama to victory and was supposed to smoothly pivot toward pushing his agenda through Congress. It hasn't worked out that way. Election Day was black-and-white; it declared a winner. Inauguration Day was the beginning of gray; it brought the grind of governance, with its weird parliamentary maneuvers and bizarre negotiations.

The members of "the movement," in their loose confederation online, are still paying attention, says Abe Shimm, 22, a Claremont-McKenna College senior who took two summers and a semester off to organize for Obama in Iowa and Indiana. "When there is an actual campaign presence, to be told by an organizer, 'If you knock on these doors, you'll get these votes' offers you a tangible result. . . . It's far more difficult to express what a phone call is going to accomplish" if made to a member of Congress wobbly on the health-care overhaul plan.