Doorstep Democracy: Face-to-Face Politics in the Heartland by James H. Read

By James H. Read

The well-known Tip O’Neill axiom “all politics is neighborhood” comes alive during this chronicle of Democrat James H. Read’s hard-fought yet unsuccessful—by ninety eight votes—bid for kingdom legislature within the socially conservative groups of Stearns and Morrison Counties, Minnesota. learn door-knocked 7,500 families in the course of his crusade, traveling with electorate and fascinating in actual discussion on doorsteps from St. Anthony to St. Joseph. right away a memoir of a hard-fought contest and a meditation at the kingdom of yankee democracy, Read’s paintings contrasts the trendy media-driven political crusade, the place applicants glean their wisdom of electorate from pollsters and conversation purely flows a method, with the type of precise figuring out of components and matters that may simply develop from person encounters. Face-to-face doorstep conversations, he claims, provide a candidate (or volunteer) and voter a chance to actually convince and research from each other. In a district the place the pro-life move ruled politics, Read’s invitation to truthfully speak about abortion and reject single-issue politics resonated with many citizens. Refusing the “red kingdom” as opposed to “blue kingdom” view of yank citizens, Doorstep Democracy exhibits the ability and significance of kitchen-table politics—people sitting down jointly to take on the problems that impact us—and proves that electorate and applicants should be confident to alter their minds. learn eventually demonstrates how conversations among electorate fascinated about their groups can get us past the tv advertisements, mass mailings, and sound bites to rejuvenate American democracy.

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Extra resources for Doorstep Democracy: Face-to-Face Politics in the Heartland

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In my phone conversations with them I made clear where I stood on abortion so they could decide then whether to support me or keep their distance. Joe Bertram (the state senator, half of whose district coincided with the one I would be running in) was noncommittal but friendly enough that I concluded he would not be out there working against me. Jeff Bertram said he would support me. This was a good sign. Given the intensity of the abortion issue, Jeff would not have taken the risk of supporting me if he had not judged me to be a competitive candidate.

From a social-scientific perspective my door-knocking records constitute a “database” of respectable size, though of course I was not engaging in an impartial scientific survey. In what follows I draw wherever possible directly from my door-knocking notes. I do not trust myself to improve on the description after the passage of time. My notes record people saying things I could never have invented on my own. Confronting and Moderating Cynicism It will surprise no one that in my door knocking I encountered my share of cynics and politician haters.

He favored automatic capital punishment for everyone convicted of murder. On the term limits issue he told the St. ) He did have some vulnerabilities as a candidate, but fewer obvious ones than I had. His two-year record as mayor of St. Joseph had received mixed reviews, resulting from a number of local controversies with which I never had to involve myself. Linnemann’s store, the old family business, 26 ª How I Got into This had under his ownership recently succumbed to the pressures facing many small grocery stores and gone out of business.

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