Gerald Overholt

Gerald Overholt

Gerald Overholt was born in Jewell County, Kansas, but spent most of his boyhood in Florida.  In 1952, he was editor of The National Prohibitionist.

It Takes Hard Work

A lot of excellent suggestions come to the editorial desk.  But suggestions also come to use that we’re afraid are rather impractical.  Some forget the fact that a lot of things can’t be done without money, and we have to have that before we can accomplish the special project they advocate.  Others would try spectacular stunts that likely would draw the nation’s attention to us – but would at the same time make us the country’s laughing stock and defeat the very goals we are after.
     At the risk of sounding trite, we’re going to quote an old, old saying:  “There is no substitute for hard work.”  While we may not, and probably never will, have the money that the liquor and gambling interests pour into the major parties, we can call upon our reserves for work, and it is a mighty effective campaign technique.
     It is our confident belief that, beginning with the presidential candidates and running all the way down to the precinct level, we need to work everlastingly during a campaign.  Some tremendous work was done by many of the Prohibition candidates in this last election, but there were many who could have been challenged to greater effort in behalf of the Party.  In several instance, we honestly believe, persons running on our ticket would actually have been elected if they had simply gone out and met the voters and solicited their support.
     Too many seem to feel that it is through great spectacular rallies and high-powered advertising that elections are won.  We’re for great rallies, and we believe in advertising, but a close observer of the other parties will notice that they do not depend on that – it is hard, hard work at the precinct level.
     Governor Williams of Michigan, in his first campaign, as a political unknown, never spoke to a crowd larger than 300, but he traveled all over Michigan, spoke anywhere and everywhere he had a chance, got acquainted, introduced himself even to lone voters, and won the election.  true, he had a strong labor vote, but that alone would never have elected Williams governor of Michigan.
     Margaret Chase Smith of Maine, now a U.S. Senator, traveled in her first campaign for senator all over Maine.  She frequently had no advance man.  She would visit a town, call up a friend, the friend would call others, and in a brisk, easy informal way, Mrs. Smith would talk to the voters about the campaign and the issues.  Then she would go on, but she left behind a corps of active workers who went out to campaign for her – and she won the election, defeating men so strong that all the politicians had declared Mrs. Smith had no chance – none at all.
     And this kind of campaigning is the kind Prohibitionists can do!  It is within our means!  Its cost involves only the time, sweat, and energy involved in person-to-person, door-to-door solicitation.  And if the Prohibition Party and national righteousness are a cause to us, if we are dedicated men and women, we will do this.  We can work together, plan our strategy, set up telephone committees to contact voters and persons who are interested.  We can plan our marginal time (for we are all busy people) in such a way that the weeks prior to an election are saved for active campaigning – that solicitation of the voters, the oft-scorned doorbell ringing is put into action – and thus we’ll really put right into the ballot box our answer to the future of the Prohibition Party.
     Let us re-emphasize it, there is no easy way to victory for our cause.  It involves hard work!  It means that during the campaign our nominees should plan to reach the voters, and even though expensive adverting and great rallies may be only part of an overall campaign, no one can keep us from going directly to the voter and there placing the issue squarely before him  Here we have great resources, and it is clearly within our ability to take advantage of them.  Suppose, in a better way that we’re done in a long, long time, we plan to use them now, and in the 1954 campaign.

-- p.4 of the December, 1952 National Prohibitionis