Building our press and fighting Trump in Baltimore

BY:Margaret Baldridge| August 31, 2016 | Download PDF
Building our press and fighting Trump in Baltimore

The VOTE card is one of the useful tools the CP has given us to get our clubs involved in the crucial 2016 elections.  The colorful card allows you to approach people to make sure they are registered to vote, to say a word or two about the elections and then to sign people up for email blasts.

In Baltimore we have now been out four weekends with the cards and our clipboards.  Two times were to street fairs, once to a festival and once to a farmers’ market.  Each time we were able to get between 30 and 50 signatures for the PW email blasts which potentially means new readers to the People’s World and contact information for local organizing.

At our first street fair in a Northeast Baltimore community we were offered free table space by friends in the Green Party, but we quickly found that going through the crowd with our clip boards and our information was what was called for in order to get contact names.

My own spiel starts with “Hi, are you a registered voter?” and then when the person says yes, I say, “We’re helping build a movement in the Baltimore area to defeat Trump.”  Sometimes, people just grab the pen and sign up at that point.

Usually, though, I explain (pointing to a PW article on the clipboard) that the PW is an on-line news source which will give them updates on the elections from a working-class point of view and that we would like to send them email blasts on the nationwide effort to defeat Trump.  If a person is not registered, I give them a voter registration form or send them to a voter registration table.  At one of the street fairs, a young woman asked us if we were going to be having meet-ups, so we’ll be looking into that.

2016 Vote Card

We’ve been very careful about getting permission to be at the festivals or fairs even with just the clip boards, and as a result, the Communist Party of Maryland has begun a new friendly relationship with a number of the organizers of the festivals.   Still, we were denied permission from one of them last weekend, so we tried our luck at a farmer’s market–with the same good result.

We do not discriminate in our approach to people and sometimes get Republicans.  We find they tend to be pretty firm in their commitment to Trump, but for the most part they are friendly.

In terms of our club, the VOTE card effort of getting out among ordinary people and seeing their strong reactions to our anti-Trump, pro-working class message is having an invigorating effect on us.  We had fun at our last club meeting doing some role-playing to encourage members to join the canvassing.  The effort has also strengthened our appreciation of the correctness of the Party’s “United Front” strategy to defeat the ultra-right at this critical point in our nation’s history.

For the fall, we have an upcoming outdoor book festival and possibly a street fair in strong Trump territory—and of course farmers’ markets.  We’d be happy to exchange ideas about our VOTE card tactics with other districts.

Our thanks to whoever thought of and created the card.



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