On May 15, 2007 Unity08 started a new program to try to implement in reality the “grassroots” label it had claimed for itself a year before. It was called Unity08 Trailblazers, and as I wrote about it at the time:
Unity08 seems to actually be trying to adopt the grassroots strategy that is has to date used as just a pose. The Trailblazer strategy, announced in an e-mail to people signed up to Unity08, asks every current member to sign up ten more members, and to find two more people who agree to each sign up ten more. If that is actually done, then the number of delegates will expand by a factor of 30. Itâ€™s a rank-and-file-based approach that might work and might not workâ€¦ but thatâ€™s no longer up to the Unity08 corporate leadership â€” itâ€™s up to the everyone who chooses to lend a hand. From this point the success of Unity08 will be not only a mark of Unity08â€™s leadership connections to mass media outlets, but also a mark of the passion and dedication of its followers.
Unity08′s e-mail, sent out to tens of thousands of people on its list, referred to the Trailblazers program as “our most important outreach for Unity08 Delegates.” The e-mail set out a deadline:
Each Trailblazer team will start in the middle of May with a Captain (I’m hoping you will be one) and at least ten Trailblazers. Each Trailblazer agrees to recruit at least ten Unity08 Delegates over the next two weeks and to recruit at least two more Trailblazers to do the same over the following two weeks, and so on, for the six months until November 6th (exactly one year in advance of the 2008 election).
Each Trailblazer should be able to sign up their ten Delegates in two weeks just by reaching out to the folks they know — family, neighbors, close friends, co-workers, etc. If people want to go beyond that, great. But if everybody in the six-month chain just does the minimum, the result for the team would be over 800,000 Delegates. No kidding. Most teams will probably fall well short of that goal, but we are hoping to have over 100 teams working at this. So, you can see, it is a big deal.
800 thousand delegates per team! Wow! With a number of teams to be started, that’s a lot of recruitment to be going on, and a lot of delegates to be signed up, all by November 6, 2007. If the plan works, there should be millions of delegates by the target date of November 6, 2007.
Well, three months out, how is the Unity08 Trailblazer program coming along? The answer indicates the extent to which Unity08 is actually catching on as an actual grassroots movement. The Unity08 Trailblazers website indicates just how many people have been signed up as delegates through the program. Out of the tens of thousands of people on Unity08′s mailing list who were asked to join the program, 80 people have signed up for the Trailblazers program and recruited at least one other person to join. 36 of those recruiters just recruited one other person. The total number of people recruited through the Trailblazers program, halfway through its schedule, is 381.
Unity08 has recently reiterated its overall recruitment goal of 10,000,000 voting delegates. Unity08′s grassroots recruitment campaign has recruited just under 4 thousandths of one percent of that goal. It’s fair to conclude that Unity08 is not catching on at the grassroots level.