This week I tried an experiment that had mixed results. I am interested in what you think.
In my town, there is a small private college. The students, and most of the faculty and staff, probably represent 50% of the Democratic votes in the County. The current D County Chair is on staff. Over the last 150 years, (old college), the people who have stayed in town, or returned, also associated with the college, have created and support a cultural-political tradition of liberalism. It is still a minority position. Only one person from this “school of thought” has been elected to community leadership.
The college itself is a very smart business. It makes good financial decisions. It builds cutting edge smart buildings. And the patriarch of local Republican Businessmen (Rich-Deceased), has left huge amounts of money to the college. However, the present electeds and appointeds avoid the campus and contact with the college leadership and students like the plague. There is a “campus bubble” that has a nearly impermeable cell wall.
My organization Many Waters is promoting sustainability, and smart growth. So, I set up a tour of one of the smarter buildings on campus. ($150,000 saved over 20 years, as calculated by my college intern.) I invited electeds, contractors, realtors, planners, etc. Seems like if an elected could tell voters that (he – yes, gender specific) had saved them $150,000, that would be a good thing. There was a lot of expressed interest, and intention to attend. Actual turnout was not very good.
When push came to shove, penetrating the bubble to learn something was just not on top of their list of things to do.
So, what do you think about reaching out to “red-state minds?” Is it worth it? If so, what works?