Volunteers? Grassroots? Let’s pin that down

Mobile phone screenshot of a job posting on the “Indeed” job search app, captured the evening of July 11th, 2018.

Dear Group,

Looking back at my electronic calendar (a more reliable resource than my memory) I see I have been canvassing, knocking on doors, talking with prospective voters since March of this year. I have volunteered as an unpaid local individual for FUSE, for the Democrats, and for Lisa Brown and her campaign. I know many others similarly offering their efforts and time as local folks knocking on doors, listening to our neighbors and conversing about how we feel and what is important to us. We do so because we’re fed up with the people who say they represent us. We do so because we’re worried and frightened about what we see happening in our country. Two years ago, many of us, myself included, could not have imagined we would be knocking on doors, but here we are. Many of us, including myself, previously self-idenfied as independents, or “fiscal conservatives and social liberals.” Every one of us has other things we’d like to be doing, but we’re knocking on doors because we are personally motivated. It does not get more “grassroots” than this.

Last Thursday one of my readers posted the screen shot I’ve reproduced above. It popped up for her in the “recommended jobs” section in a job search app she uses on her mobile phone. The app is “Indeed.” The job was posted by the Lincoln Strategy Group. Lincoln Strategy Group has an international presence. The Lincoln Strategy Group’s welcome page announces: “We Are Influence.” Take a tour of their site. It will make you cringe. They boast “11 million doors knocked on.” The word “grassroots” is broadly sprinkled. 

Tracking down the job posting finally yielded this “Indeed” webpage. Laughably, the job post is by “Lincoln Personnel – Spokane, WA.” At the bottom of the page they acknowledge Lincoln Personnel LLC is part of Lincoln Strategy Group LLC. The contact phone number, 480-799-7699. That is an Arizona area code. 

Republicans representing Spokane are paying people in a firm in Arizona to answer the phone and screen applicants from anywhere to come to Spokane and pose as “grassroots” for $15/hour to G.O.T.V. (get of the vote) ahead of the August 7 Primary deadline. These hires may be fresh-faced youths, but they are not “grassroots,” they are mercenaries, folks paid to sway votes and public opinion. 

Most of my readers won’t meet one of these hired guns (assuming the Republicans can attract any in the current job market). These paid canvassers will use a mobile phone app that sends them mostly to doors of folks thought to be sympathetic Republicans. What you can do, however, is to suggest to anyone who will listen that the first question to ask a canvasser is, “Are you paid to knock on doors?” The response might be an interesting story…

Keep to the high ground,


P.S. The  “Indeed” webpage offers other details. Folks hired as mercenary canvassers get “$15/hr w/ gas stipend.” In exchange for the $15/hour the employee is required to provide their own “reliable transportation” (no mileage allowance, just the “gas stipend”) and their own smartphone on which they are willing to download a GPS enabled app. I suppose these extra requirements (and the fact this employment offers no benefit package) are sufficient in the Republican universe to justify the princely wage of $15/hr.

P.P.S. A friend notes there is a call out among sympathetic folks to provide housing for this paid cadre of out of area canvassers while they are here posing as our local grassroots. Any money they manage to save will likely not be spent in eastern Washington, nor will the Lincoln Personnel’s hiring fee be spent here. 

P.P.P.S. Remember Fox News and various Republicans around the time of Trump’s inauguration accusing protesters of being paid for by George Soros, of being bused in by paid organizers for the purpose of making trouble? How does that lie stack up against using an influence peddling business to hire mercenaries?