Finally, a Reaction GIF Tumblr for Campaign Staff
BY Nick Judd | Tuesday, August 7 2012
Campaign staffers have a stressful gig and not a lot of ways to blow off steam.
There are the candidate's ever-present needs. There are flaky volunteers and friends working for another candidates in the same primary. There are even relationship problems and workplace romance. None of which non-political friends will understand, and none of which is safe to share outside the campaign for fear of creating a problem.
When Democratic consultant Nancy Leeds saw the "Hey Girl, It's Ryan Gosling" meme spread late last year, she decided to start a reaction GIF tumblr of her own, devoted exclusively to campaigns and named "Campaign Sick," after a blog she also maintains. What she didn't realize was that staffers and consultants around the country — even some Republicans, she says — would take advantage of the opportunity to send their own submissions in numbers, creating an anonymous escape valve for campaign pressure.
"You're not supposed to be posting stuff on the Internet outside of the campaign because you're a representative of the campaign," Leeds told me by phone Friday. "And second of all, you want to be a soldier. You don't want to be complaining and venting and asking for advice, you want to look like you're in control and nothing ever bothers you."
Using Tumblr's "submit" function, campaigners across the country have been filling Leeds' inbox with their own ideas. She says she gets about 60 a day on everything from raves about VAN, the Democratic field organizing software, to complaints about yard signs or no-show volunteers.
"I wasn't surprised to find that Republicans do field, but I guess I was surprised to find that they had some of the same interest and grassroots mentality," said Leeds, who recently worked on Nydia Velazquez's congressional campaign in New York and also worked in Brad Lander's City Council run here. Leeds got her start in the 2006 Minnesota Coordinated Campaign and also worked on John Edwards' presidential campaign in Iowa.
"That they could relate so much in the same way and were laughing at the same things we were laughing at," she continued.
For an outsider, Leeds' "Campaign Sick" tumblr is a peek into the psyche of the modern field staffer. The output creates a composite sketch of the hopes, hangups and humor of the political operatives slogging their way towards Nov. 6 this year around the country.
"There's a real sense of community and camaraderie in especially the Democratic campaign community, and it's nice for people to have somewhere to laugh about it," Leeds said. "Because I think that's really the thing, is people are just grateful to have somewhere to put the good, the bad, and the ugly about working in campaigns out there. I like to think that it's in that way providing people a service."
Here are a few highlights from the tumblr. The GIFs were submitted to Leeds' tumblr, and the titles and subtitles written, either by Leeds or her network of anonymous contributors:
"When my candidate keeps coming up with things she needs from me after I go home"
"When you are running a race by yourself and all your volunteer help flakes"
"When FOs complain they have too much data entry to do every night"
"Seeing a friend on a rival primary campaign"
"Explaining the importance of accurate data"
"When the last vol leaves so that we can drink while doing data entry"
"We’re all like"
"When my broworker started to judge me for sleeping with a volunteer."
"He only wishes he had as much game as I."
"When The Campaign Manager Announces That You Have Won"
This post has been corrected. John Edwards' presidential campaign was not Nancy Leeds' first major campaign.