Tuesday, October 14, 2008
It Looks Good Now, But.... The Case for Showing Up in the Bluest of Blue States
Think back to 2000.
Vice President Al Gore, Jr., a Democrat, and George W. Bush, the Republican Governor of Texas and son of an admired former Vice President and one-term President, were engaged in one of the nation's closest and most divisive elections. The race came down to one state, Florida.
Weeks later, Bush prevailed after a series of controversial court decisions that ultimately stopped a recount. Gore, who fought hard, lost the electoral college but won the popular vote tally by more than half a million votes.
Think forward to 2008.
Things now look very, very good for Sen. Barack Obama. It's been a tough, long -- make that very long -- campaign. It's gotten ugly, with accusations against the patriotism, honesty and integrity of the candidates.
But people can't be too confident, not after 2000 or 2004. Things can and change dramatically at any given moment, even up to days before the majority of the votes are cast.
You can't count John McCain out at all, particularly given his feisty knack for one comeback story after the other, personally, professionally and politically. The guy's a machine, not always well-oiled, but able to carry on and survive the final cut.
Voter turnout is notoriously difficult for Democrats, liberals and independents to get wrap their fingers around. The sheer act of putting down the Xbox controller, setting your alarm, waking up and heading to the polls is too great a challenge for many Americans. Coupled with routine Democratic overconfidence, this could create a nightmare scenario.
Here's why it's important to turn out in the blue states. Yes, not just the light-blue states like New Mexico or Colorado, but in the hard, hard blue states like California and New York. People telling themselves that they won't vote because "my state will go for Obama anyway" are to be ridiculed and scorned --- after you change their opinion and haul their ass off to the voting booth.
If Al Gore had netted an extra five, ten, fifteen million votes in the popular vote, the GOP wouldn't have had a mandate and it might have been tougher for them to "win" Florida. Gore would have been able to powerfully make his case for the recount to carry on in full, with tens of millions behind him in support.
Further, strong voter turnout and a major victory in the popular vote sends a message. It creates a mandate to help shape policy and direction. It helps promote (dare I say this annoying word) "change."
So, tell people to vote. In the Blue States. In large numbers and small. Carpool. Drive people to the polls. Drive many people the polls over and over. Skip work. Stay home. Call in sick.
Don't mess this one up.