I worked a phone bank last night, for the second time in my life and the first time for a political candidate. (If you know me you already know which candidate. If you don’t, see if you can guess by the side-street parked car count: two Priuses, two Fits and a Yaris.)
Cold-calling is hard for anybody, but for an introvert it’s pretty awful. My stomach ached on the way home, and stories like the one about the man who told me he wasn’t voting because of the apocalypse didn’t really make it better. And I was calling people in Oregon, man! A battleground state this ain’t.
So why did I do it, and why am I going to go back? Because of a stubborn faith in Leonard’s concept of vote multipliers and a corollary syllogism of my own devising: that memory is fluid, that people are self-centered, and that therefore vote multipliers affect both the future and the perceived past.
Voting for a winner confers a perceived, and perhaps even deserved, ownership in the winner’s subsequent successes. This is why incumbents get re-elected, and why politicians who abandon campaign promises can ride them out for a while before their approval ratings begin to drop. We take credit for what we’ve done right, but don’t like believing we chose wrong.
My candidate’s going to win the election, and I think he’s going to lead us toward better things; but the more people vote for him, even in long-decided states, the more lasting support he’ll have, and the more he’ll be able to accomplish over the next eight years. It’s not just that I want to be able to look back at a positive change and say that I was part of it. It’s that I want to nudge other people from apathy into agency, and let them see that it is good.