316,296 calls to members of Congress in one day. THAT’S the power of Organizing for America.
Time to Deliver phone call drive to members of Congress proved the power of OFA and how it will be a major force to contend with in future legislative debates and elections.
The goal was 100,000 calls and commits to call in support of President Obama’s health insurance reform plan. The result was, well, unbelievable.
The 100,000 call goal for the day was smashed by 2:30 p.m. And that was before the evening phone banks across the country had even gotten started.
I arrived about 25 minutes late to the Ann Arbor phone bank in my area. I was handed the last call sheet and was done 45 minutes later. We literally had so many volunteer phone bankers that we ran out of lists.
I talked to a variety of people as I was calling and every one of them said they support the president’s plan as he outlined it to the joint session of Congress last month. Every one of them said they would commit to calling their member of Congress. Most of them said they were for a strong public option and were happy to hear the president is too.
Here’s how OFA head Mitch Stewart put it in an email to us this morning:
Your voice was overwhelming — with reports in the media of congressional offices “completely crushed with calls.” CBS News described your effort as an “onslaught.” And a congressional aide was quoted with a common response, saying their office was deluged by “pretty much non-stop health care calls from OFA.“
You set a new OFA record, you caught the national media’s attention, and you certainly put Congress on notice.
But there’s a bit more to this achievement. Underlying the effort are lists of Obama supporters, people identified during the campaign of being in support of the president and his goals.
These lists of supportive Democrats were honed and refined throughout the entire spring, summer and fall of 2008. The Voter Action Network (VAN) database was improved and strengthened by OFA volunteers as they called and knocked on the doors of a staggering and unprecedented number of voters, culling out the non-supporters, the wrong numbers/addresses and adding email addresses to the mix.
What the Democrats have in their hands now is access to gigantic pool of people who now feel empowered by the election of Barack Obama to the White House and who will be ready to step up in 2010 and beyond to work for other Democrats to get them elected at the local, state and federal levels.
Yesterday showed the power of what OFA can do. Grassroots volunteers, guided by neighborhood team leaders and a small handful of paid staff at the state and regional level, CAN make a difference. They CAN speak with a loud voice in a way that gets noticed.
Yes we can. Yes we did. Yes we will.
I’m just sayin’…