Sun. May 26th, 2024

Image: via unsplash, Michael Carruth

Marc Goldberg is a student here at West Chester University. Marc studies as a Political Science major, but in his free time, he has worked as an organizer for electoral campaigns in both Chester and Montgomery counties. He was the Chief Campaign Manager for William T. McCoy, who ran for City Councilman in Norristown and was successfully elected this past fall. Now, Marc is a Deputy Manager, working on Chris Pielli’s congressional campaign here in West Chester.  

As Chief Campaign Manager, Marc developed the campaign’s strategy, coordinated volunteers working on the campaign, designed the campaign’s social media approach and advised the campaign team about connecting with the community and local interest groups. Currently, as a Deputy Manager, Marc recruits volunteers and is again developing strategy and the campaign’s social media technique. His experience on these campaigns and serving in other local positions has given him a useful perspective on how campaigns are successful.  

Marc introduced me to what a great electoral campaign looks like by referencing John Fetterman’s 2022 campaign for Pennsylvania senator, which he subsequently won. Marc specifically appreciated Fetterman’s campaign organization, in which he reached every corner of the state of Pennsylvania, and in Marc’s words, “didn’t take a single region in this state for granted.” By being present in many areas around the state instead of focusing on bigger cities, Marc asserts that Fetterman built crucial relationships with his future constituents in all Pennsylvania communities.  

Through our discussion of Fetterman and other local campaigns, Marc and I developed an assortment of qualities present in effective campaigns which I refer to as, “Marc’s List.” After we spoke about the importance of reaching as many communities in-person as possible, he discussed what he referred to as “relational strategies.” He described this as using social networks and individual interactions to mobilize support. He also explained that great campaigns utilize grassroots support. He believes that campaigns that are construed as being elitist and ineffective, as they do not touch on issues the common voter is concerned about. Another strategy that Marc touched on was organizing year-round. Specifically, he brought up President Biden’s campaign, in which they focused on organizing outside of election season.  

After developing this list of strategic components, Marc and I went on to discuss more in-depth how to implement them when organizing. To explain concepts on the list such as grassroots campaigning and relational strategies, Marc talked about one of the people who inspired such strategies, Edward Bernays, who was an expert in public relations. Specifically, Goldberg says his organizing is influenced by, “the idea that every community is an organism made up of subcomponents, and each subcomponent has cells, which are people… each of these subcomponents has a leader, and if you influence that leader, you can mobilize the subcomponents, cells, the people.” In other words, by forming a relationship with the person or people that members of a community look up to or take advice from, you can influence an entire community of people with just one connection. You just need to connect with the right person. Authorities such as the heads of community groups, religious leaders and local businesses are essential for organizing a larger group of people. By optimizing connections with a select group of influential people, volunteers and politicians alike can spend less time reaching out to every individual and more time spreading their message.  

Marc is also an avid fan of Lyndon B. Johnson, former President of the United States. Marc informed me that before Johnson was a politician, he was a teacher, who primarily taught in low-income schools in Texas. Marc asserts that it was these connections that caused him to fight for racial and economic justice later in his career. In Johnson’s case, it was not just about rallying support around a community; it was also important to listen to voices in those communities and deliver on what they need. Marc and I finished our interview with a quote that I think is important not only in campaigning, but in every part of politics: “It all starts with listening, as my grandfather – a Teachers’ Union leader – said, and it just snowballs from there.”  

If you are interested in getting involved with Chris Pielli’s campaign alongside Marc, you can visit this link: https://www.chrispielli.com/get-involved.  

 


Olivia Katz is a third-year Political Science major. ok980706@wcupa.edu.

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