Of all the things that went right for Patrick Tuesday, one big one was Menino’s legendary machine. By the end of the day, more Bostonians had voted than in 2006, supplying Patrick with vital support in the state’s most important Democratic stronghold. Help from labor unions, particularly the Service Employees International Union and the building trades, provided critical muscle on the ground. Neighborhood organizers with decades of political experience lent their expertise and personal networks.
But Menino’s operation did not make the difference alone. A new generation of political activists worked side-by-side with Menino volunteers, particularly in heavily minority neighborhoods, using everything from text messages to fliers on windshields to lengthy discussions to get out the vote.
etc. etc. It's all about the “social capital”, and meeting people face to face. We have those networks in Boston, and in Massachusetts generally; we should appreciate how special that is.
Also see John Walsh's comments, to the effect that after Scott Brown, simply calling land lines wasn't working anymore – we had to do the door-to-door.
Dear Democratic National Committee: If you want someone who can show you how to do winning politics … give Mr. Walsh your careful consideration.