by Marie-Paule Florestal (Haiti Liberte)
I’ve just returned to the New York metropolitan area after working as a Democratic Party campaigner in rural Michigan for the two months leading up to the Nov. 8 election. This is an account of the deep anger, ignorance, and racism I encountered in the American heartland.
Based in New York City, I am a Haitian-American organizer for the northeastern United States with the American Federation of Teachers (AFT). The union released me to work with the American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations (AFL-CIO) of Michigan from September to Nov. 9, 2016 as a part of the AFL-CIO’s Working America Coalition, which sought to encourage voters to vote for Democratic Party candidates.
My job was to target specific groups of voters among Democrats, Republicans, and independents and then reach them via phone banks, mailings, and door-to-door canvassing.
Using software that tracked the voting habits and histories of AFL-CIO union members and the general public, we identified voters whom we might encourage to vote for Democratic Presidential nominee Hillary Clinton as well as candidates for nine seats in the Michigan House of Representatives.