Category Archives: Grassroots campaigning

The Luncheon Society/Former Senator Gary Hart on his memoirs, “The Thunder and the Sunshine”/NY-Prime House November 10, 2010/ LA-Napa Valley Grille, November 17, 2010/SF-Credo November 18, 2010

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Gary Hart has consistently trod the unbeaten path. As a young Denver attorney, he hooked up with George McGovern, the darkest of dark horses, and together rewrote the book on how to win the Democratic nomination. Two years later, Hart ran for the US Senate from Colorado, a state where Nixon had crushed McGovern two years before. He rode the post-Watergate Democratic tidal wave and entered the Senate at the tender age of 37. In 1984, Hart’s own presidential insurgency nearly knocked off Walter Mondale as he challenged Democrats to look to the future instead of their past.

By crafting a candidacy based on “the new,” Hart discovered the door which others, like Clinton and Obama, successfully opened in later contests.  Walter Mondale, on the other hand, represented the past and became a forlorn caricature that Republicans were able to lampoon to a 49 state winContinue reading

The Luncheon Society/First Half 2010 recap/What’s coming up in the Second Half

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I thought I would quickly touch base now that we have completed the first half of 2010. Thus far  there have been 19 gatherings San Francisco, Los Angeles, and Manhattan.  We look for an equal number in the second half and should round out the year at 38-40.

Reminder.  To remind everybody, the SF and the LA Luncheon Society gatherings for Christopher Hitchens have been postponed and will be rescheduled later in 2010.

The Luncheon Society website.  For those who are unable to join us around the table,  you can subscribe to have The Luncheon Society summaries sent via email.  Click on the links below to learn more about the luncheons. Continue reading

The Luncheon Society/Gov. Michael Dukakis/LA-Napa Valley Grille, January 9, 2010/SF-One Market, February 26, 2010

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At a Luncheon Society ™ event several years ago, Michael Dukakis talked about walking precincts. He could not understand those who favored high cost television ads or mailings over the elbow grease of building a grassroots operation. He believed that the best way to know the voters was to knock on their doors and ask for their support.

Dukakis insisted that a good grassroots organization could deliver an extra 5% turnout, which could be the difference between a win and a loss. Massachusetts, Dukakis noted, had 2,300 voter precincts and each precinct could have 5 block captains. If you built a volunteer army of 10,000 people, Dukakis noted, you became unbeatable. Those who solely relied on media campaigns and direct mail pieces often discovered their support was often a mile wide and an inch deep.  

However, one person took issue.  He said that California was too big, too much a “media state” and walking precincts was on the wane because there were too many high tech approaches to drive voter contact. Los Angeles was not like Boston or New York, the person continued. LA was 88 communities held together by miles of double-ribbon freeway and at the end of the day, walking all of those neighborhoods was just too hard.

“That’s not hard. I used to walk precincts when The Boston Strangler was on the loose,” Dukakis replied. “Now that’s hard.”

The Luncheon Society Regular.   Mike Dukakis has joined The Luncheon Society on a regular basis since 1999. In January, he led a discussion in Los Angeles for his 13th appearance and a month later in San Francisco for his 14th visit. In 2010, we hope to get him into Manhattan to visit the third pod of The Luncheon Society.

Over the years, The Luncheon Society  has quietly convened hundreds times for movable feasts at over 40 restaurants like Palio D’Asti, which is hidden away on California Street in San Francisco or Chez Mimi, which caters to the entertainment industry in Santa Monica. The kindness of a gracious friend allowed us to use The Lotos Club, one of the oldest literary clubs in the United States, frequented by the likes of Mark Twain and today residing in a Manhattan mansion once owned by the Vanderbilt family. Continue reading