Modern political campaigns have set new standards for how successful campaigns are conducted day-to-day. The campaign is conducted in what would seem to the public like pseudo-military style, with a strict chain of command, zero tolerance for certain prohibited actions, and an extended daily schedule that starts early and ends much later than most “day jobs.”
Prohibited actions may include, but are not limited to: lying about numbers generated (e.g. phone calls made, doors knocked, volunteers recruited, etc.) – this is increasingly an issue in offices that are wirelessly connected, without direct oversight; going outside the chain of command (e.g. talking to a superior’s superior who happens to be a friend in order to get special favors or report information); non-press-shop members talking to the press; blogging (considered another form of “talking to the press,” which can interfere with message discipline); and being arrested (or otherwise becoming a potential easy target for opponent smear campaigns).
The daily schedule of a political campaign is hyperextended, and often has no definite beginning or end, only a series of tasks to be completed by certain benchmark times (or, most often, “COB” (“close of business”). COB for political campaigns is generally defined as “the time at night at which your supervisor is required to report his/her numbers” (or shortly beforehand), so that your numbers reporting (generally the last action a political campaigner takes before COB) can be factored into theirs. For example, a Field Organizer may have collected 9 new committed volunteers for an event during the day; he will be required to report this at 8:45pm to his Regional Field Director, so that the Regional can report that all Field Organizers in the region recruited 52 total volunteers for said event; which needs to be reported to the Deputy State Field Director by 9:00, so that THEY can speak to the State Field Director at 9:15 and report that 827 volunteers have been recruited for events around the state; and so on, up the chain of command.
Once each of these reporting sequences is finished, organizers at all levels may do paperwork, send emails, call friends, and do other things which are not effective to do during business hours or “voter contact time.” Political campaigns are generally about contacting voters and volunteers at the nuts-and-bolts level; and so dependent on state law, local peculiarities and the preferences of campaign organizers and volunteers, a certain block of time (usually ending at 8pm or 9pm) is set aside each night for “voter/volunteer contact.” (Violation of this block of time to conduct other activities often cannot happen or needs a strong justification, such as attending an important meeting.) Only a very small fraction of campaign workers (such as people who deal with vendors) do the bulk of their work during traditional business hours.Read more