I’m an introvert and I like to be alone. I generally dislike talking to strangers. Canvassing the votes, which is really just going door to door in a neighborhood, seemed like a terrifying idea at first. What if they want to get into the intricacies of Obamacare? (I first started doing it in 2012). What if I don’t know enough about the candidate to answer their question? What if they think I’m a Jehovah’s witness? People are suspicious of any sort of unsolicited street enthusiasm, and expect to be sold a bag of goods. They open the door, cautiously, and there I stand, with my resting bitch face. They’re immediately intrigued!
That’s the good thing about canvassing – you’re not trying to sell people anything. On the contrary, you’re encouraging them to stop being a consumer and actually become a citizen, and you’re showing them an available avenue to do so. Generally they will be responsive to you even if you don’t have a ready answer for them. “We’re trying to gain/hold the control of the Senate/Congress” is a good enough answer.
As a canvasser, you will be given a list of voters that are already registered Democrats. You won’t be asked to knock on doors of Republicans and try to convert them. The whole purpose of this exercise is to bring out people of your own party to the polls, not waste your time on goners. So you probably won’t find yourself talking to a belligerent redneck, as was my original fear. (As a side note, my canvassing experience shows that even when an R somehow makes it to your list, they tend to avoid any sort of confrontation. People generally just don’t want to be assholes in a face to face encounter. Worst case they shut the door.)
So, if you feel like the time has come to do more than just post on Facebook and complain, there are plenty of opportunities to canvass in and around your area in the coming weeks. In just a few clicks you can find the nearest candidate’s office and show up there for a 2-3 hours of meaningful exercise (both physical and civic).