On the Friday night before the 1960 presidential election, tens of thousands of Democrats marched through the streets of Chicago, in a torchlight parade. Their destination: Chicago Stadium, where their candidate, John F. Kennedy, delivered an address that was broadcast on national television. (In the TV listings, the program appeared as “Political Broadcast -- Democratic party of Cook County.”)
This was during the heyday of the Machine, when patronage workers who owed their jobs to the party were compelled to appear at political events. The whole country was watching, and Mayor Richard J. Daley was not going to be embarrassed by a small turnout. Since the Shakman Decree banned political hiring, it’s hard to assemble crowds like that. Politics is now about money, not organizations. If Rahm Emanuel wanted a crowd that big, he’d have to pay for it.
And that’s where the business Crowds on Demand comes in. For a fee, Crowds on Demand will produce a good-sized group of supporters for your political event -- or for your opponent’s event, if you want to sabotage it:
Starting at $5999
Campaigns need manpower and they need it quickly. We can provide that manpower to give your candidate or cause the edge. We can send supporters to a rally, (respectfully) protest outside opposition events, and help with regular campaign tasks such as canvassing or phone-banking.
Our operations in the two largest metropolitan areas in California makes us a perfect choice for ballot measure campaigns. We are available to do elections at all levels from neighborhood politics to national elections.
Unfortunately, as the copy says, the service is only available in California now. Let’s hope it expands to Chicago. We no longer have a Machine, but politicians still need foot soldiers. Crowds on Demand is a Machine for the modern era.
Published at 2:51 PM CST on May 21, 2013