Sunday, July 16, 2017

Keep Calm And Fax On


-by Tom Sullivan

The U.S. Senate vote to repeal Obamacare is coming any day. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell appears to have lost (or given a bye to) two votes: Rand Paul (Kentucky) and Susan Collins (Maine). If one more Republican senator goes rogue, a half dozen more will follow and the Better Care Reconciliation Act (BCRA) will be a zombie again. (We should know by now with these bills not to think of dead as dead.) The lobbying targets still tempted to vote no are Lisa Murkowski (Alaska), Rob Portman (Ohio), Dean Heller (Nevada), and Shelley Moore Capito (West Virginia). The trick is to make an impression loud enough to counter McConnell's arm-twisting-- and bribes.

Here's something outside the box.

March 21, 2010 was the day of the make-or-break Affordable Care Act vote in the U.S. House. But it was a Sunday, rendering inoperative the plan to email our large, 2008 Obama volunteer list and ask supporters to call North Carolina Rep. Heath Shuler's Washington office. Outside of regular business hours, no one would pick up and voice mail would be full, wasting volunteers' precious time. So Plan B. We would use the fax machine, an old-school tactic off many millennials' radar. Back in the day, unions called this fax-jamming.

Setting up took only an hour or so. We drafted a letter in support of the ACA and sent it to the list. If people approved us sending a fax on their behalf, they could hit REPLY and add their full name and contact information to the letter (plus any personalized edits). Responses poured in a dozen at a time. Our team bundled the letters into PDFs (sets of five) as they arrived and faxed them to D.C.

There might have been a more elegant way to do this, but we were pressed for time. That day we sent 600 faxes (electronically via an all-in-one fax/printer; no paper our end). A Shuler staffer later told me we trashed their fax machine. No, it didn't change Shuler's vote, but 600 people got their voices heard on a day they otherwise wouldn't.

It might be time to reprise that tactic to target the fence-sitting senators from AK, OH, NV and WV with "HELL NO" (or whatever) letters ahead of the BCRA repeal vote. If nothing else, senate offices will have to physically handle and log a bundle of paperwork. They won't forget it. Shuler's people didn't.

Videotaped and posted online, the team effort might energize new activists. Sure, anyone can do this alone at home 24/7 using a free faxing service, but you won't send hundreds en masse or know how many on your list did. Done centrally, you can track the response rate and feed numbers of faxes sent back to your mailing list volunteers for some positive reinforcement. All you need is a phone line (preferably not a personal one; we used the local party HQ) and an all-in-one machine.

And here are some fax numbers you might be looking for:
Shelley Moore Capito (WV)- (202) 224-7665
Rob Portman (OH)- (202) 224-9075
Dean Heller (NV)- 202-228-6753 or 702-388-6501 in Las Vegas
Lisa Murkowski (AK)- (202)-224-5301 or (877) 857-0322 in Anchorage
Keep calm and fax on.

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At 9:40 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Here is the sentence that makes this whole piece moot:

"No, it didn't change Shuler's vote"

If any R is on the fence, he's either holding out for something better for him/herself or he's got kin who would be killed by the bill... kin that he likes.

In either case, the RNC/RSCC will have a bag of cookies for him/her.

No number of faxes, calls, letters or e-mails will make any diff. They'll especially ignore any com that does not include a promise of a 5-figure donation or comes from outside their state.

And, no, the democraps are no different.

At 5:59 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Part of the most peculiar psychosis of American voters is that they can truly be against being ass-raped, but they will vote for the serial ass-rapists because they hate... hate being the issue above all other issues.

And, of course trying to convince politicians won't work unless you are prepared to give big donations. There are scant few pols who give a shit what little people think.


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