Have you ever phone-banked? I find phone-banking a bizarre experience. This is because I haven’t answered a ringing phone since 1994 and people who do seem like aliens to me.
My roommates in 1994 were both grad-student TAs. Their phone numbers were in the department directory and they did not want their students to feel like they had a teacher at their beck and call every time they could not be bothered to figure out something for themselves. So all calls were screened. For my own part let’s just say that this young musician was not exactly flush with cash. Nor was he keen to meet financial obligations that will render him unable to do the kinds of things that young musicians like to do. That makes it necessary to, if not go completely off the grid, then, let us say, cloak ourselves from the grid every once in a while. And people who wish to be transparent to the grid definitely screen their calls. (Before I had roommates, I just didn’t have a phone. Problem solved!) Furthermore, one of those grad-student roommates made the point that when someone comes to the door, you don’t throw it open and drag them in before you ascertain who it is on your porch. I found this very persuasive and I haven’t picked up a phone and said “Hello?” since Kurt Cobain walked the Earth.
When I phone-bank I am not surprised if an older person answers the phone. My father, born in the ’30s, has never understood why I don’t answer the phone and never has stopped objecting to the practice. Old habits die hard. (My technologically savvy mother never talks on the phone. We just text as the mood strikes us.) I am continually surprised at 1) People my age or younger who do answer the phone and 2) People my age or younger who have a landline. What?!
Here are the ladies dialing for Shayna for County Board District 8! Many potential voters were called. Cisco the basenji stole a piece of pizza. So it was a successful evening all around.
After the primaries, our federal Dem hopefuls will need office space and pizza to fuel their own phone-banking parties. And here’s how you can help. It’s the good old fund that’s split between all eventual Democratic nominees in House districts currently held by Republicans.
I used to help with phone-banking, but I don’t anymore…the last two times I’ve done it, even Dem supporters were irritated with the calls (the few ones that got a live human being to pick up, that is).
I like getting out and knocking on doors. You meet people, get exercise, occasionally get a big thumbs up. I hope the Dems do more of this in the future (and not just w/ reliable Dem voters, either). Branch out past the occasional Dem voters, too. In NoVa we’re so blue and fired up at this point, we ought to be knocking on non-voters’ and occasional Rep voters’ doors.
Phone banking is so frustrating. I get one answer for about every 20 calls, and half of those are (or claim to be) wrong numbers.
Phone banking does seem out-of-date. Also, I wonder how polling works regarding people being able to keep their phone numbers. Now, all your area code shows is where you were when you got your phone number.
Oh please don’t do this to us, Texas.
Old people answer the phone, but old people vote too. People not answering the phone might be an issue if young people voted.
Disgraced anti-vaxxer Andrew Wakefield aims to advance his agenda in Texas election
Andrew Wakefields’ continued good health and obscene payments from grifting are proof that there is no God.
I have a landline because my cable/internet package is cheaper. I don’t generally answer it but my parents call me on it. (I love my mom, but she apologizes every time she calls me on my cellphone, as if cellphones are only for emergencies),
This activism leads to illness, physical handicaps and death. Why aren’t they in the dock–criminal and civil–constantly?
Call daughter. No answer. Two seconds later daughter’s text “What do you want?” My text back, “Answer the fucking phone.” I think I would like your dad, Mr. Steele.
He’s describing polarisation and a post-truth environment as good things.
I hate phone-banking with the white hot heat of 10,000 suns, and I hate door-knocking even more! But I do both when necessary. When assignments are being handed out, I try to get data entry or driving duties when possible. I’m more comfortable with those tasks.
Regarding phones and the elderly, here’s what irritates me: My olds won’t text! My grandmother is as deaf as a turnip, so the only way to communicate with her is to write letters or visit in person and write notes for your side of the conversation. 20 years ago she would use email but refuses to fool with any form of electronic communications now. It’s her right as a near-centenarian, I guess, but she’s missing out on a lot.
One of my uncles is deaf as hell, but he won’t text either. He carries and answers a cell phone, but he can’t understand callers most of the time, so I don’t know why he won’t just text. It’s frustrating.
I have no idea how the fuck Wakefield got into our country and why we didn’t deport his ass when we had the chance.
As someone who likes “house special” (aka “garbage can”) pizzas, a note to dog lovers: Do not leave where pooch can counter surf a snack. Onions and dogs don’t mix.
“2015”? Can’t the Grauniad writers even Google? Wakefield’s suit was dismissed for extreme frivolity in 2012, and then again on appeal in 2014. Wakefield never had any intention of actually pursuing his defamation suit in court. He used it purely to hit up his fanclub for donations to his legal fund. Don’t ask what happened to the $$$ after that.
Wakefield had previously sued Brian Deer within the plaintiff-friendly jurisdiction of the UK, only to drop the case the moment that Deer fronted up with full documentation of Wakefield’s larceny and mendacity.
J R in WV
Some people have to have a land line because it is their only means of communication with local businesses, doctors, neighbors, etc.
We will never have cell service in our residence in WV until there is SkyNet phone service world wide. Sirius-XM sat radio goes dead driving on major highways in WV, because of huge roadcuts to make room for the highway, so SkyNet won’t work everywhere, probably.
The geology/geography limits cell transmissions, as those frequencies are line-of-sight. There are cell towers not too far away, but there are mountains in the way. You might get a shaky connection if you walk a few hundred yards to the top of the ridge behind our house, maybe. I wouldn’t bet my life on that call, though.
We used to get phone messages from my dad, when we got home from work, or times like that. It was always “Never mind…” in a snarky but subdued tone that revealed how much he hated interacting with an electronic device. So I would always call instantly, to minimize his agony.
Sorry you don’t understand why everyone doesn’t live in town… some of us really need the vacant forested hillsides, or even blasted desert rock and cactus. Just need the space.
Nice thing about landlines (especially locally) is that they seem to be up when cell service is dicey or disappears — and we’ve had instances where it worked the other way.
@TenguPhule: Alternatively, there’s a God who’s a nasty bastard. I think there’s a fair amount of evidence arguing for that scenario.
I phone banked for President Obama and for HRC.
Which is funny as I don’t answer calls from people I don’t know without being ready to reject them out of hand and in language that they won’t appreciate. A less nice version of “Get off my fucking lawn!” Of course living in a very blue area of a blue state, CA I don’t get called by dems.
What I’ve learned was that in 2008 we often called the same people numerous times. The enthusiastic people could get annoyed a bit but liked the attention. The people that wouldn’t vote for anyone with skin that could not be described any darker than pale were not amused. At all. In 2016 I don’t think I got anyone who had been called but the ones that answered were voting for or had voted for HRC. I found it to be rather a waste of time, although a couple of people said they did get undecideds. So 20 people making 30 or 40 calls and got 2 votes. Not a bad success rate? I’d bet that knocking on doors would be better if not also a bit more possibly stressful. Also I’m not going to go far afield to knock doors, I never made a phone call close to home or in my home state.
@LAO: Your mom! I love that.
@Mart: Peas in a [email protected]Betty Cracker:
So does our candidate Shayna! That is one thing we must credit Trump and the GOP for. Pushing folks outside of their comfort zones.
@Jeffro: Door to door canvassing would typically be a 75% impossible in Illinois in February. Thanks, thanks climate change!
@Jewish Steel: My favorite sign from the Women’s March said, “So bad, even the introverts are here!”
I honestly don’t know anyone who has a landline that they actually use to make or receive calls. We still have one because I got a package deal that lowered my satellite bill, but I’ll get rid of it as soon as I possibly can. Even my friends and relatives who live or have second homes in the middle of nowhere just use their cells for everything. Even at our cabin in the middle of nowhere outside Titusville, we just have our cell phones. We can’t use them in the cabin because we can’t get a signal, but if we walk halfway up the drive to the road, the signal pops right up.
That said, I despise phone banking. I much prefer walking the streets and knocking on doors. I really like giving people rides to the polls. That might be my favorite GOTV task of all.
@LAO: mine too! Bizarre, isn’t it?
I don’t text much because it’s difficult for me to type on a phone, because of my tremors and fat fingers. I’d bet a lot of other old farts are in a similar situation. If I didn’t know how to touch type I probably wouldn’t comment here at all. The amount of correcting I do as I type is probably nearing 20%. Or more! My fingers just don’t do as I think any more. They absolutely don’t do it as fast. Brain and fingers are not talking to each other like they used to. Maybe I should type a comment once without corrections so you see how bad it is. You’d think I was stone drunk.
I’m a massive introvert IRL, but because I deal so much with the public and do so much public speaking in my job, I fake extroversion pretty well. If I know what I need to say, I can just say my lines, smile nice and, if asked, answer questions, just like I do at my financial aid talks. It does, however, take a lot out of me. When I do canvassing or have a speaking engagement, I come home completely exhausted and have to be alone and silent for a few hours to recover.
O/T Kevin Smith (“Clerks”) almost took a dirt nap last night. Let’s hear it for quality ERs!
@Ruckus: I’ve never knocked doors but I’ve committed to doing so for my own county board candidate (the one we’re helping here is from one district over). Not only are we trying to break the Republican grip on the county board but we are trying to sweep the old boy network of Dems out the door. New day, new Democrats. Women and POC. Plus she’s a viola teacher. Gotta do it.
I’ve phone-banked, text-banked, and knocked on doors. I, too, have grown to hate phone-banking with a white-hot passion, especially now that people are increasingly irascible and prone to verbal abus. (In my experience.) You get some mean responses in text-banking, too, but it’s just pixels on a screen and it’s easy to thank them politely and move on. I’ve enjoyed knocking on doors, although admittedly it has always been GOTV for Democratic candidates so it’s a self-selected, receptive group. I did house-to-house canvassing in for Obama in 2012 in northern Virginia and the very first guy my partner and I encountered was an argumentative Libertarian type who harangued us for about 15 minutes with some very confused thinking. Turns out we were supposed to be talking to his son, a registered Democrat with the same name as his dad. But everyone else we encountered that day was lovely, and many of them thanked us for what we were doing.
@J R in WV: Same here in the wilds of the Upper Peninsula. I don’t own a cell phone because it’s just a paper weight most of the time, have never texted, and wouldn’t even know how to. And I’m fine.
@Montanareddog: The craziest part is, my mom loves to text! But actually using the cellphone as a phone, that’s a step to far. And my dad NEVER keeps his cellphone on!
We have cell phones but still keep the landline because it is useful in our rural area. We have audio identifying, sort of, who the caller is. I might answer a phone bank or polling call if I could could tell from the id info but that would be rare. I’ve seen local area code numbers show up that are not actually from local businesses or personal numbers. I will note it’s a local number that is not familiar to me, it’s identified as from a local business and then the message left is from a marketer completely unrelated to the local business. Scammers. There are other calls with unusual numbers that don’t leave any message. We just don’t answer any call that we aren’t completely sure is legit.
@geg6: My mid-80’s mom still has and uses a landline, but even for her it’s largely a backup, for when her phone is dead or for businesses she deals with (mostly doctors) who have that for her number. I have literally not answered my landline for years, check messages once a month or so, and only use it to find my phone when I’ve misplaced it.
Apologies if this article has already been mentioned, but it’s the opposite of all those NYT profiles of trump supporters.
link: Middle America Reboots Democracy
@germy: That is exactly what’s going on around here.
Where’s our bonus picture of Cisco? Pizza optional.
I am currently between houses as I just sold one and are hunting for the next. I had a land line and will again. its required if I foster again. often after storms, the cell towers go down. once it was the other way around, but mostly cell just isn’t as reliable. that said if you want to catch me, cell is better. currently all phones are getting too many fraudulent robo calls with spoof numbers showing up on cells so I can’t tell where they are really calling from. Do not call is now pretty much useless. I prefer to answer because I think there is always a chance I am getting an emergency call about family, possibly from the school, previously day care. i resent getting scam calls at work but concern for various family, some with health issues means I am going to pick up on numbers I don’t know. since I don’t like talking on the phone anyway I find the dumb sales by robot to be infuriating. I may be upgrading to a new expensive phone so I can get newer services blocking known robo fraud numbers.
Never bothered to listen to political pitches on phone. not sure I have gotten any but I prefer to read info, don’t even like video. My taste and choice. people are different. Someone tried door knocking me for Trump. I refused to answer. Horrified.
Thanks for this! I should do some phone banking too.
The Moar You Know
Mr. Steel, I’m probably close to if not exactly your age. I stopped answering the phone in the early 90s as well. Job-related, had a job working for a bunch of slumlords and was tied to that fucking electronic slaver’s box for eight hours of abuse per day. I was done with the motherfucking phone as a medium of communication after that. I went from being able to pull thirty minute phone calls with courtesy and joy to hanging up on people who took longer than thirty seconds.
My parents and stepparents all give me shit for it to this day…and I still don’t answer it. Sometimes if Caller ID is working but that’s about it. I hate the goddamn things.
@Elizabelle: Next time! I totally owe him since I’ve clowned him twice on this blog. He’s really a beautiful boy. But right now what her really wants is a walk in the unseasonably warm weather. Can do, bud!
@The Moar You Know: Nice! I’ll send you my number and we can not call each other.
@Betty Cracker: It might be a coping mechanism, like turning off hearing aids or pretending to, to allow excuses for not doing something. OTHO he is probably just in denial.
GA the state of free enterprise
The Georgia Senate blocked a lucrative tax break bill on Monday that would benefit Delta Air Lines after the Atlanta-based company severed ties with the National Rifle Association.
Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle said he would not support tax legislation that helped the airline “unless the company changes its position and fully reinstates its relationship with the NRA.” He echoed a growing number of conservatives who opposed the measure over the weekend.
Because of this and the discussions on discriminating the gays, I guess Amazon will no longer consider us for HQ2
@gvg: Same here, but I use a whitelist so only numbers I authorize ring on my cell. Even then it’s only 50-50 that I’ll actually answer the call, unless it’s my wife. And no, work isn’t on the authorized list. They have me email if they need me.
I have made phone calls and door knocked for local candidates. Neither is enjoyable but I understand the need for phone calls as long as it’s a real person leaving a message. Each year as more and more people disconnect the list gets smaller.
btw I’d prefer to help with meet and greets.
The nearest hospital to where he was in Glendale (Glendale Memorial) just happens to specialize in heart surgery, so he really lucked out.
Holy crap that’s straight up sociopathy. Any credence to the meme that holds Georgia as purple trending blue? Because this cretin needs to be shown the door, and then the gangplank.
@JPL: Talk about doing the right thing for the wrong reasons. Giving tax breaks to selected businesses is usually a losing proposition and the opposite of free enterprise.
Don’t fuck with librarians. As a group, they are very liberal.
Proving yet again it’s better to be lucky than good!
I’ve phone-banked more times than I care to remember. People in Wisconsin, Virginia, and Maine answer their phone and are generally polite. People in New Jersey and Florida get irritated at pestering calls. I’ve also knocked on doors when I could in neighboring Pennsylvania, written postcards etc etc etc. None of this stuff is fun but I believe an all-hands-on-deck approach to get your voters to the polls is important so I do it. I don’t have a twitter or Facebook account but I hope party activists are covering all bases on the social media front.
By the way, Conor Lamb’s campaign seems to be very good. I got a “fake” handwritten thank you card today from them that was enough to move me to make another small donation. Well played.
I’m kind of assuming he ended up at Memorial and not Adventist — it makes more sense given his locale at the time.
Bill may have an opinion as well. ?
For phone answering adverse people like me I recommend nomorobo that blocks robocallers. Free for landlines (if they support it) and for a fee for cellphones/smartphones. I haven’t had cell phone problems so I don’t use it there but the landline gets a few each week that nomorobo drops. After a while the overall number of robocalls has dropped off, so perhaps they give up.
@Mnemosyne: And even the conservative ones are very, very committed to the notion of civil liberties.
@JPL: Since I live in an area that is both extremely rural (“frontier” is our actual demographic designation) and extremely red (over 60% Trump voters), door-to-door tends to be hugely impractical and possibly dangerous (as we also have our share of gun nuts to contend with). Phone banking is really the only practical way to reach people. Yeah, I don’t love it, but I’ve done it and will continue to do it until a better outreach tool comes along.
@Jay S: Telling a corporation how and who to support is not free enterprise either.
Cagle who pushed for this is one of the saner republicans running. Just think about that.
I live in a very blue part of a blue state. Door to door is probably wasted. Although manybe not in the turnout area. Democrats own the CA government. We do have a problem with too short state office term limits so we are always having new people rotate through. If there are going to be term limits, they have to be reasonable, not so short as to make the job unreasonable/undesirable but not so long as to keep shitty people in place. Like everything else in life, it’s a balancing act, not too little, not too much, somewhere just about right. OTOH, my state reps are good to great but the concept that they are always running for office, in leu of actually being lawmakers, seems stupid.
@Miss Bianca: I was door knocking locally and it’s a suburb north of atlanta. Of course, some doors slammed but I only was yelled at once, so that’s not bad.
@geg6: We got rid of the landline at the family beach house in the Outerbanks when we discovered that the phone was out, and we had no idea how long it had been that way. Haven’t missed it at all.
BC in Illinois
I phone banked for Hillary in 2016. Calling from St Louis to numbers in Iowa, of people who had already made some pro-Democratic action, so we were mostly calling friendly people. In reality, we were mostly calling wrong numbers or disconnected . . . which has value in updating the data for the campaign. Then there were the friendly responses. Then there were the others.
I never got a hostile response. My most memorable exchange was as follows:
There were people around the table that evening who could have handled that call and transitioned smoothly into an extended conversation. I am not one of those people. I will knock on doors (I think), but I won’t phone-bank again.
Since much of my state is not walkable for canvassing, I end up doing a lot of phonebanking. The completion rate drops each election season so it takes more time and volunteers to make the necessary number of contacts with each voter.
I’ve had a lot of nightmare calls but I’ve also had some amazing calls, especially with elders who are living alone in the boonies and take full advantage of a willing listener. My favorite call of all time was an old guy in Machias who told me all about being a logger and running on the “booms”. Finally at the end of the call he told me that of course he would vote for HIllz. Part of me wanted to save his number to keep in touch but that’s a no no.
@Ruckus: Ruckus, use the eraser end of a pencil instead of your fingers to text. Much better than fingers.
“President Trump’s job-approval rating drops to a new low, 38%”
These polls are meaningless. In 2018 and 2020, when they have to choose between a “R” and a “D”, almost all trump voters will still vote for the Republican – whoever it is.
It’s a tribal thing, a PERCEIVED values thing, and a hate thing.
Greg in PDX
Everyone should have a landline. I learned this when I was living in KY and a huge ice storm killed all the power for about a 30 mile radius. It was out for 3 days at minimum and some didn’t get theirs back for two weeks. All cell phones were useless within about 24 hours. On the other hand, my partner and I also had a landline and we had people in our house constantly to use the phone. When I lived in the Florida Keys most everybody kept their landlines because cell service went out all the time.
Approval polls are a decent indication of whether the voters will show up to vote. Furious opponents show up. Disgruntled supporters stay home, so the fact that they’d still vote for a “R” makes no difference.
As someone already said, landlines tend to keep working even in power outages. And I use DSL because the alternative is Comcast.
@geg6: When I do canvassing or have a speaking engagement, I come home completely exhausted and have to be alone and silent for a few hours to recover.
That was my reaction too, after running a Cub Scout meeting as Pack leader. Usually involved a glass of bourbon too.
I’ve phoned banked and GOTV’d for years and it’s as hard as manning the express line. Thankless, necessary, and when you make a connection, it makes the work worth through while.
And keep the landline if you’ve got one! You don’t know what you’ve got til it’s gone.
We need reminding that utilities have reliability as a foundational principal, along with reasonable rates…