The Loneliest People in Politics

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Photo Courtesy of the Brooklyn Young Republican Club

Glenn Nocera wants to campaign for Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney in Brooklyn.

But with fewer than 40 days to the election, Nocera, president of the Brooklyn Young Republican Club, hasn’t received a single piece of literature from the Romney campaign.

“It’s like twisting arms,” he says. “I’m a little bit pissed off. The materials should be here by now.”

Nocera, 37, who ran for the State Senate in 2008 but lost, serves as a Brooklyn College public safety officer. And though he received assurances from campaign officials at the Republican National Convention that he’d get what he needed to start campaigning, he hasn’t heard anything from officials he spoke with.

Campaigning for Romney in Brooklyn may be a challenge for Republicans like Nocera. There are approximately 112,000 registered Republicans in Brooklyn compared to 851,000 Democrats, according to the city’s Board of Elections. But that hasn’t stopped the borough from producing two rival Young Republican clubs – both of whom haven’t gotten any material from the Romney campaign.

“I think they feel New York is a lost cause and don’t want to waste their resources,” says Nocera.

That sentiment reflects the feelings of party officials in other states who find themselves in a predicament similar to Nocera’s. Campaign workers in both red and blue leaning states say party bigwigs are ignoring them.

Thomas Moyer, 30, is vice president of the San Francisco Young Republicans Club. He was spat on at a street fair in San Francisco after identifying himself as a Republican while registering new voters.

Like Nocera, Moyer says it’s been a struggle to campaign for their party’s presidential standard-bearer in a city where Republicans are heavily outnumbered.

“We are treated like a red-headed stepchild,” says Moyer. “At this point, it would be nice to have more literature.”

But Moyer, an author who works in online advertising technology, isn’t ready to give up. For a short while, he considered leaving San Francisco, where registered Democrats outnumber Republicans 5 to 1, for a state where his chances of being heard would be better. But he decided against it. Though it’s an uphill battle, he believes he can still have an impact even in so liberal a city.

Moyer plans on doing several more voter registration drives before the election with or without campaign materials.

“In some sense, we’re a support group,” he says. “They’re not many Republicans here. But I’m an idealist. I’m gonna do what I can.”

It’s much the same predicament for Democrats in red states like Arkansas, where the job of campaigning for President Obama’s reelection is not easy.

Jessica Xan DeLoach, 28, president of the Young Democrats of Arkansas, says that she is confident that if she were to call the Obama campaign she would get the material she needed. Still, she is operating largely her own. The president has not visited the state in years, she says, and few campaign officials make their way to Arkansas.

But DeLoach isn’t discouraged. She accepts that Arkansas isn’t much of a priority for the Obama campaign and plans to dispatch campaign workers to such nearby states as Missouri, where the senate race is close.

“You can’t automatically assume that people will engage,” she says. “You have to stand for your party or get out of the way.”

Meanwhile, Guy Warner, 29, head of Utah’s Young Democrats, fears that once the election is over, the work he and others have done in registering voters in this traditionally red state, will come to naught.

“I’d love a little bit more help now campaigning,” says Warner, who adds that the Obama campaign is “not interested in building infrastructure. After all, in a few weeks they’ll leave.”

 

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