The first rule of canvassing is pretty simple. So simple, in fact, it’s usually the last thing you teach because it’s literally a matter of common sense.
To put it as simply as possible, rule one is mind your manners. Watch what you say. When you canvass or phone bank for a campaign, you’re not just expressing your political preference, you’re speaking for the candidate.
For Republican Gary Gates, stuck in a second close race with Democrat Eliz Markowitz for the Fort Bend-area House District 28, someone may have forgotten to mention that.
In a video obtained by Signal, a video doorbell picks up a canvasser for Gates approach and ring the bell. The voter steps outside to escape the sound of their barking dogs, and the canvasser informs them they’re visiting on behalf of Gary Gates for State Representative.
“I wouldn’t vote for (inaudible) if he was the last person on the planet.”
The voter turns to go back inside, but the young canvasser remains undaunted.
“So…Hitler is your second choice?”
It may seem like a fairly banal exchange, but it’s anything but. Canvassing is a huge component of electoral politics because it’s effective, but it’s also a numbers game. The less time you spend talking to people who won’t vote for your candidate, the better. It allows you to move on to the next door and win a different vote. It is fairly uncommon for canvassers to disrespect or insult voters who disagree with them. You usually say thank you and keep moving.
But, as we said, this canvasser remains undaunted. They’re also incredibly flippant. As you may have noticed…they literally rang the same video doorbell that caught their cringeworthy aside.
It fits a larger pattern of rumblings we’ve heard around the state about Republican canvassers agitating or otherwise being disrespectful toward voters who disagree with them. This is the first video of one such exchange we’ve been sent.
If you or a loved one has been insulted or disrespected by a canvasser visiting your home, we want to hear about it. Send tips to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Photo: Gary Gates campaign website