New idea: grassroots politics!

New York Times: One-Doorbell-One-Vote Tactic Re-emerges in Bush-Kerry Race says that local effort is back in vogue.

After decades of playing poor relation to television advertising, grass-roots politics has become a campaign star this year, as many political pros predicted it would be in the aftermath of the Bush-Gore face-off of 2000. And today it ranges from old-fashioned shoe leather to Web technology that can make a precinct captain of anyone with a computer.

It is a matter of adaptation, or survival of the most flexible. With the country still so sharply divided that political analysts figure as few as 10 percent of voters are undecided, each side is fighting to find and bring out every last one if its voters, and persuade the “persuadables,” too. That means competing door to door, computer to computer, Web site to Web site. A ground war to complement the air war.

“It’s funny; it’s in vogue,” said Steven Rosenthal, a former labor organizer now directing America Coming Together, one of those new tax-exempt groups in pursuit of a large Democratic turnout. “Some of us have labored in the trenches of grass-roots politics for a lifetime and fought with the party leadership for more resources,” Mr. Rosenthal said. “Now it’s the thing to do.” …

“We’re going to find every Bush voter, we’re going to call them, we’re going to write them, we’re going to knock on their doors, and when the day comes, we’re going to physically take them to the polls,” Ralph Reed, coordinator in the southeast for the Bush-Cheney campaign, said to those meeting in Macon a few weeks ago.

Be sure to read all the way through the second page, where phrases like “niche communications,” “527,” and even “palmtop” are defined in Times-reader-level language.