When you ask staffers for Hillary Clinton’s campaign to describe their organizing strategy, the same phrase comes up again and again: They say they aim to “meet people where they are.” This rather ambiguous sentiment could, of course, refer to any number of tactics or goals. But one thing it apparently means is that on a random Wednesday evening, Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta will show up in the Nevada desert in a “Hillary” logo T-shirt and black-and-yellow athletic shorts to join a “Runners for Hillary” meet-up.
Runners for Hillary—which hosted Podesta in August—is one of numerous activity-oriented groups surrounding the Clinton campaign. Through their on-the-ground organizers, Clinton staffers have put out the word that they’re very interested in creating outside-the-box events—and supporters and volunteers have risen to the challenge. On New Hampshire’s Seacoast, a yoga instructor who supports Clinton offered to host yoga sessions followed by traditional volunteer activities at a local field office. A suggestion from a supporter in Kellogg, Iowa, led to Kayakers for Hillary—which led to pro-Clinton paddlers ranging from high school students to middle-aged enthusiasts plying the waters of Rock Creek State Park in Kellogg and Rodgers Park in Vinton. In West Branch, Iowa, a 73-year-old Democratic activist’s Facebook comment about Clinton’s logo (“This would make a great quilt”) spawned the Hillary Quilt Project; in Nevada, there are plans for a Hikers for Hillary group. “It’s really been a lot of volunteers and supporters talking to each other and coming to us with these ideas,” says Punya Krishnappa, a regional organizing director for the Clinton campaign in Iowa. “We’ve been able to help work out the logistics.”