Volunteers: The backbone of campaigning

BY SETH SMALLEY

Presidential election campaigns are extremely active and have much work to be done, especially in key early voting states like Iowa. 

With so much to do and limited campaign funds, the work falls mostly on the shoulders of volunteers. Volunteers do a wide range of work from canvassing for candidates, to helping with the organization of rallies and concerts. Many of these volunteers are sacrificing more than just their free time by taking off work and traveling to contribute to their candidates campaign. 

Volunteers talk to Joe Biden’s Precinct Captains about what their mission is while volunteering at the campaign. Photo by Axel Mueller.

“I’ve been calling, knocking on doors, driving people so they can canvas, and I’ve done a number of tv and radio interviews; I’m just doing anything they want me to do,” said John Douglas, a Biden volunteer and former assistant Naval secretary. 

These volunteers give up so much to passionately support their candidate, traveling from all over the country to join their campaign. Committing such a large amount of time and assets to a cause requires a strong personal conviction. It is this personal passion that drives many of these volunteers to cross the nation on their own time and money. 

Melinda Goforth who worked for the Biden campaign and and is now volunteering for him out of Seattle spoke on her reason for being committed to the campaign. 

“The situation with those children at the border and the level of meanness of separating a parent and a child on purpose,” said Goforth. “That’s what brought me here the most. I think about it every single day. “

Jillian Cornhioccione, a Biden volunteer, makes calls to Iowa residents about voting for Biden at the caucus. Photo by Axel Mueller

For individuals like Goforth, passion for a candidate comes down to a select set of policies that have inspired such support. Throughout all of the campaigns determined people like this can be found sacrificing to be able to leave an impactful mark on the country.

“The campaign is really a personal affair for me,” said a long time Bernie Sander volunteer Anna, from Arizona. “Me and my brother have been campaigning for Bernie across the country for the past year because we feel that each individual, such as our ailing father, deserves the right to medical care.”

Passionate volunteers are not restricticted to the Democratic Party however. Even with this primary election cycle being all but decided for the Republican Party, there is still a slew of energetic volunteers campaigning to get Republicans to vote.

“I think no matter what year it is, it is important that we get our people out to vote,” said Mike, a long time GOP volunteer of over forty years who was working at the Polk County GOP Headquarters in Iowa. “I have been doing this a long time and I can tell you if we don’t get people out to the caucuses we won’t get as many out for the election.” 

In such a polarizing election cycle, volunteer support is going to be more important than ever to campaigns. Without these passionate and committed individuals sacrificing their time and money, candidates would not be able to continue running. The impact these volunteers have on campaigns and elections shows the effects that everyday people can have on politics in our country.

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