Button-Pushing for Romney

The outcome of the election, and perhaps the fate of our country, will probably be determined by a word most of you have never heard -- velleity.

Velleity is a desire that is too feeble to generate any action.  It is the antonym of activism.  Its sources are self-interest, laziness, distraction, and procrastination [1].

It is a form of human frailty that is exemplified by the "button test."  Imagine that you show people a little black box and convince them that by pressing the button on that box, they will save the life of a starving child in Africa.  Everyone will enthusiastically press that button, then and there.  But if they have to go outside and down to the street corner to press it, some will do so, but the rest will promise to do it later and then forget.  If they have to go on an hour-long bus ride to press the button, you'll be lucky if one percent actually make the journey. But most of the ninety-nine percent will feel a twinge of guilt about it.

Alternatively, put a button in people's kitchens and tell them that they can press it once a day.  Almost everyone will press it the first few days, but gradually more and more of them will forget, more and more often.  By the end of the first month, only a few will still be pressing that button each day.  Most of the rest will be ashamed but will still keep forgetting.

Four years ago, Republicans took the button test and failed.  An analysis of Obama's 2008 campaign indicates that the critical step was the mobilization of armies of volunteers and mercenaries (such as SEIU and ACORN) to register young, black, and Hispanic voters and get them to the polls on Election Day.  The Republicans confined themselves to the usual doorbell-ringing and phone bank squads and had trouble staffing even those.

This year, we are all undergoing the button test again. And once again, the Democrats are outperforming the Republicans. According to Open Secrets, 78% of all small donations went to Obama rather than Romney. With regard to volunteerism, consider the recent activities of MoveOn, as indicated by the following extracts from their September e-mails:

...create the biggest get-out-the-vote campaign in the country by an unprecedented partnership between the AFL-CIO's Workers' Voice and MoveOn's 7 million [sic] members to

  • Fight back against voter suppression in key swing states, like Ohio and Pennsylvania [2]
  • turn out the same progressive voters who voted for Obama in '08.
  • use cutting-edge technology to pinpoint the people who are most likely to be persuaded and mobilized by a conversation with our volunteers.
  • go door-to-door talking to voters about why it's so important to vote for Obama. Research shows that this face-to-face communication is dramatically more effective than big-budget TV ads.
  • call MoveOn members in swing states to get them talking to folks who supported Obama in 2008 but might not vote in November

MoveOn also sponsors the 99% Spring movement, whose Alinsky-like training manuals are no longer accessible to the public.  Judging from the experience of a participant, their claim of 100,000 trainees is a gross exaggeration.  But nonetheless, substantial numbers were enrolled and, I suspect, have since been rechanneled into campaigning for Obama.  And this is only the visible tip of the iceberg [3].

This doesn't mean that the Democrats have all the volunteers they pretend to have.  Many of the vaunted MoveOn demonstrations did not take place or were sparsely attended.  The YouTube airing of Samuel Jackson's foul-mouthed video "Wake the F--- Up" indicates that they are worried about Democratic voter velleity and are trying to enlist new recruits.  But they are lavishly staffed compared to the desperate volunteer shortages that Republicans are experiencing.

The fact that you are still reading this article indicates that you are unhappy about the prospect of four more years of Obama.  Well, what do you plan to do about it?  Vote?  I fervently hope so and assume that you are registered.  (You are, aren't you?)  But that's not nearly enough.  Consider adopting some or all of the following examples of activism:

  • Donate money.  Contrary to popular assumption, Obama has raised 55% more than Romney and currently has 76% more cash on hand.  Romney's campaign urgently needs more money for the home stretch.
  • Put bumper stickers on your cars and signs on your front lawn.  It may make your neighbors pause and think.
  • While you're getting signs at your local Republican headquarters, volunteer for active duty.  Although going door-to-door is tedious and may seem futile, MoveOn claims that it is much more effective than phone calls or mailings.
  • Use your lists of friends and Christmas card recipients to send e-mails or letters urging them to vote for Romney.  It will encourage Republicans and may make a few Democrats reconsider.  I've done this several times and haven't lost a friend yet.
  • Write letters to your newspaper, stating your personal reasons for voting against Obama.  Be polite and objective but firm; use the rules recommended for an interview.  If your local paper is blatantly biased, write a letter of complaint or (as I just did) cancel your subscription.
  • Check with state officials about their method of obtaining and counting the military vote.  Delaying and/or discounting these was one of the tricks Democrats have used in previous elections, and it's apparently happening again.
  • Make yourself useful on Election Day.  Getting out the vote by transporting non-driving or handicapped voters to polling sites was one of the most successful Democratic strategies in 2008.  Be aware that voting fraud, though dismissed as inconsequential by Democrats, is real and widely practiced.  Polling-place watchers can discourage some of it.
  • Be inventive: develop some strategies of your own [4].

The box with the button is in front of you. Are you going to press it -- and keep on pressing it -- or not?  If you don't, and Obama wins, and if you want to blame somebody, look in your mirror.


[1] An authoritative analysis of the causes of velleity can be found here.  Frank Pressman, in his superb The War of Art, provides a detailed dissection of the causes of inaction, which he calls "resistance."

 

[2] Although MoveOn and the Democrats like to pretend that voter ID is a Republican ploy to exclude poor and minority voters, there is ample evidence that they have practiced voter fraud in previous elections and plan to do so this time.  Voter ID laws would hinder them.

[3] Unions such as AFL-CIO and SEIU are "encouraging" their members to campaign for Obama.  We can only guess what clandestine activities are being carried out by them and by Soros and his ilk.  The few that have come to light are really nasty.

[4] Most of what has been said here applies to congressional and state elections.  And some of these are almost as crucial.

The outcome of the election, and perhaps the fate of our country, will probably be determined by a word most of you have never heard -- velleity.

Velleity is a desire that is too feeble to generate any action.  It is the antonym of activism.  Its sources are self-interest, laziness, distraction, and procrastination [1].

It is a form of human frailty that is exemplified by the "button test."  Imagine that you show people a little black box and convince them that by pressing the button on that box, they will save the life of a starving child in Africa.  Everyone will enthusiastically press that button, then and there.  But if they have to go outside and down to the street corner to press it, some will do so, but the rest will promise to do it later and then forget.  If they have to go on an hour-long bus ride to press the button, you'll be lucky if one percent actually make the journey. But most of the ninety-nine percent will feel a twinge of guilt about it.

Alternatively, put a button in people's kitchens and tell them that they can press it once a day.  Almost everyone will press it the first few days, but gradually more and more of them will forget, more and more often.  By the end of the first month, only a few will still be pressing that button each day.  Most of the rest will be ashamed but will still keep forgetting.

Four years ago, Republicans took the button test and failed.  An analysis of Obama's 2008 campaign indicates that the critical step was the mobilization of armies of volunteers and mercenaries (such as SEIU and ACORN) to register young, black, and Hispanic voters and get them to the polls on Election Day.  The Republicans confined themselves to the usual doorbell-ringing and phone bank squads and had trouble staffing even those.

This year, we are all undergoing the button test again. And once again, the Democrats are outperforming the Republicans. According to Open Secrets, 78% of all small donations went to Obama rather than Romney. With regard to volunteerism, consider the recent activities of MoveOn, as indicated by the following extracts from their September e-mails:

...create the biggest get-out-the-vote campaign in the country by an unprecedented partnership between the AFL-CIO's Workers' Voice and MoveOn's 7 million [sic] members to

  • Fight back against voter suppression in key swing states, like Ohio and Pennsylvania [2]
  • turn out the same progressive voters who voted for Obama in '08.
  • use cutting-edge technology to pinpoint the people who are most likely to be persuaded and mobilized by a conversation with our volunteers.
  • go door-to-door talking to voters about why it's so important to vote for Obama. Research shows that this face-to-face communication is dramatically more effective than big-budget TV ads.
  • call MoveOn members in swing states to get them talking to folks who supported Obama in 2008 but might not vote in November

MoveOn also sponsors the 99% Spring movement, whose Alinsky-like training manuals are no longer accessible to the public.  Judging from the experience of a participant, their claim of 100,000 trainees is a gross exaggeration.  But nonetheless, substantial numbers were enrolled and, I suspect, have since been rechanneled into campaigning for Obama.  And this is only the visible tip of the iceberg [3].

This doesn't mean that the Democrats have all the volunteers they pretend to have.  Many of the vaunted MoveOn demonstrations did not take place or were sparsely attended.  The YouTube airing of Samuel Jackson's foul-mouthed video "Wake the F--- Up" indicates that they are worried about Democratic voter velleity and are trying to enlist new recruits.  But they are lavishly staffed compared to the desperate volunteer shortages that Republicans are experiencing.

The fact that you are still reading this article indicates that you are unhappy about the prospect of four more years of Obama.  Well, what do you plan to do about it?  Vote?  I fervently hope so and assume that you are registered.  (You are, aren't you?)  But that's not nearly enough.  Consider adopting some or all of the following examples of activism:

  • Donate money.  Contrary to popular assumption, Obama has raised 55% more than Romney and currently has 76% more cash on hand.  Romney's campaign urgently needs more money for the home stretch.
  • Put bumper stickers on your cars and signs on your front lawn.  It may make your neighbors pause and think.
  • While you're getting signs at your local Republican headquarters, volunteer for active duty.  Although going door-to-door is tedious and may seem futile, MoveOn claims that it is much more effective than phone calls or mailings.
  • Use your lists of friends and Christmas card recipients to send e-mails or letters urging them to vote for Romney.  It will encourage Republicans and may make a few Democrats reconsider.  I've done this several times and haven't lost a friend yet.
  • Write letters to your newspaper, stating your personal reasons for voting against Obama.  Be polite and objective but firm; use the rules recommended for an interview.  If your local paper is blatantly biased, write a letter of complaint or (as I just did) cancel your subscription.
  • Check with state officials about their method of obtaining and counting the military vote.  Delaying and/or discounting these was one of the tricks Democrats have used in previous elections, and it's apparently happening again.
  • Make yourself useful on Election Day.  Getting out the vote by transporting non-driving or handicapped voters to polling sites was one of the most successful Democratic strategies in 2008.  Be aware that voting fraud, though dismissed as inconsequential by Democrats, is real and widely practiced.  Polling-place watchers can discourage some of it.
  • Be inventive: develop some strategies of your own [4].

The box with the button is in front of you. Are you going to press it -- and keep on pressing it -- or not?  If you don't, and Obama wins, and if you want to blame somebody, look in your mirror.


[1] An authoritative analysis of the causes of velleity can be found here.  Frank Pressman, in his superb The War of Art, provides a detailed dissection of the causes of inaction, which he calls "resistance."

 

[2] Although MoveOn and the Democrats like to pretend that voter ID is a Republican ploy to exclude poor and minority voters, there is ample evidence that they have practiced voter fraud in previous elections and plan to do so this time.  Voter ID laws would hinder them.

[3] Unions such as AFL-CIO and SEIU are "encouraging" their members to campaign for Obama.  We can only guess what clandestine activities are being carried out by them and by Soros and his ilk.  The few that have come to light are really nasty.

[4] Most of what has been said here applies to congressional and state elections.  And some of these are almost as crucial.