Evan Falchuk Launches Statewide Tour

ivn-falchuk.v5
In today’s world of impersonal politics, where elected officials are largely out of reach and social media is viewed as an effective substitute for in-person contact, it is easy to reminisce about the bygone era of retail politics. The days when candidates would literally stand on tree stumps to address crowds of curious voters has become a nostalgic, if not obsolete, image in American culture. While most candidates wouldn’t even consider taking on the burdensome task of an old-fashioned “whistle-stop tour,” choosing instead to rely solely on strategists and the mass media to disseminate their message, Massachusetts’ independent gubernatorial contender, Evan Falchuk, has chosen a different, more personable route.

The Falchuk campaign has embarked on a “County Caravan” tour of the state in an attempt to meet voters firsthand to learn what issues they really care about and which solutions they have identified for the problems that plague the political system. Falchuk believes such events as opportunities to really engage with voters on a personal level, viewing them as the unique and freethinking individuals they truly are, not merely as numbers in some strategist’s hypothetical diagram.

“We have been doing tours in cities and towns across the state throughout the last year,” said Falchuk. “As we were doing it, we said, ‘there is a way we can do this where we can really highlight and go to each one of the different sections of the state and meet with voters in the places where they work, where they live, and meet with community leaders.’ It’s really been terrific; it’s been everything we hoped it would be.”

Falchuk, who is running with the newly created United Independent Party, has positioned himself as a fiscally conservative, socially pragmatic alternative to the two major parties. Though it is somewhat early in the campaign, the candidate’s hard work seems to be paying off, as he has been recognized and warmly received during his appearances.

“We are there with groups of campaign workers and volunteers, knocking on doors, outside of supermarkets, going into businesses, meeting with community leaders,” he said. “Its just real conversation, the kind of thing like when you see those old pictures of politicians on whistle stop tours, working hard to earn votes. Many people you meet are almost surprised to see a candidate out doing that kind of work, because they are used to seeing the candidate on television or if they are there it is for a short drop-by to shake hands at a coffee shop.”

In the age of focus groups, statistics, and ideological allegiance, the individual is often lost, pushed aside in favor of million-dollar campaign teams and high profile ad blitzes. For Falchuk, such behavior is unacceptable, and though he knows it would be impossible to meet with every voter in the state individually, he still strives to get down to the grassroots level, to find out what the people really need, not what the pundits think they want.

“There is a lot of energy around people trying to do really wonderful things,” said Falchuk. “And what they are looking for, all over the state in all these different places, is that same kind of thoughtful, practical action from people in government. They don’t see it, and they are disappointed by it. There is this incredible opportunity to build off of the energy everybody already has. Its one of these things where we are so close to being able to push in that new direction, because its what people want, but what they are looking for is a vehicle to make it a reality.”

For Falchuk, a campaign isn’t about scripted talking points or partisan propagandizing. It is about reaching out to those who often get lost in the shuffle, approaching the citizenry and inquiring what they expect from their elected officials. It’s about conversing, not preaching, and recognizing that Massachusetts, like the country as a whole, is a diverse place with a great number of differing needs and desires:

“This is real genuine conversation; its something that has gotten lost in politics over the last number of years. We needed to bring it back; it’s a hugely important part of what the campaign is about.”

Falchuk wants to assure voters that this tour is a preview of what will come should he be elected governor. His connection to the people and willingness to listen to their needs personally will not be severed if he assumes office:

“When you go back more than once to the same community to visit with people, voters appreciate that you are paying attention, that you are there, and care enough to spend the time and be respectful of the community and the work the people are doing there. You have to have that direct connection with people to do a good job and I look forward to doing that as governor.”

The completely itinerary of the tour can be found here.