The politics of laundromats

Where can you reach the working class? Well, lots of places, but laundromats are an under exploited opportunity.

This year, 2019, is a year of local elections. The state legislatures in Virginia and New Jersey are up for election as are many city and county governments. Local candidates have a difficult time getting their name out, especially if they are challengers. So anything you can do to raise your candidate’s visibility will be of great value.

Which brings us to laundromats. We stand in front of libraries and grocery stores handing out literature, but not laundromats, why not?

Choose a Saturday or Sunday afternoon, when many people will be doing their laundry, and hand out literature in front of the entrance. If the laundromat is part of a shopping center you might need the owner’s permission, it is always best to ask.

Wear your candidate’s T shirt or your party’s T shirt if you have one. It is good visibility. Hand out your candidate’s flier in a friendly manner. Be prepared for a unenthusiastic reception. The people who go to laundromats have no control over their employer, landlord, children’s school, or host of other institutions that control their life. You are asking them to believe that they can materially affect their life by walking into a voting booth and making their mark. Nothing in their experience in life suggests that this is so. So if you meet with scepticism, it is not to be wondered at.

However, human beings are social creatures. We respond to social cues. If a citizen sees you handing out a candidate’s literature they will be more receptive the next time they see your candidate’s name. More importantly, they will be more likely to vote. It is not so much that workers vote against their self interest, it is that they do not vote at all. It will take a great deal of effort to change that. Showing up at their laundromat is one way to start that process.