Whatever happens November 3, it will make history. If Trump wins, it will be even more impressive than his first. A Trump victory Tuesday will be the biggest comeback since Lazarus.
If Biden wins, it would be the first major victory by a presidential campaign that ignored most campaign essentials.
There are a few basics of campaigning that have not changed since the first candidate for public office traded the secret for how to make fire for a half interest in a dead mastodon.
I’ve participated in hundreds of campaign seminars over the years. Many as an attendant and many as faculty. One-hundred per cent of the time, we urged people to embrace the “block and tackling” of politics. They are as essential to American campaigns as the circulatory system is to the human body.
In 2008 and 2012, the Democratic Party gave much credit for their wins to their massive organizational effort. They did a great job, even keeping offices in some states open between elections.
In 2020, Democrats have punted the organizational schtick entirely. There are lots of people who don’t have the title “president” in front of their names who have done the same thing. Can a person really be elected president without armies of people going door to door? Maybe. We’re about to find out.
Trump has a world-class ground game. Yesterday, a Trump volunteer knocked on our door. They asked if we were going to vote for Donald Trump. I said we would unless the world ends first. And I thanked her for everything she is doing.
Just that 60 second conversation made me feel better. Trump’s team is knocking on a million doors every week. The equivalent number for Biden: zero.
BTW, Trump will have a tough time carrying Nevada. The old Democratic machine of Harry “Whore House” Reid and several unions is still out there. If you can stand in your yard and see the lights of the Strip, you’ve come to understand that a Republican here has to win by at least a few points, or they’ll just steal it.
Where I grew up, in Indiana, they emphasized you could not win without a real grassroots organization. That means live human bodies knocking on doors, registering voters, driving people to the polls, identifying your voters, and making sure they vote. In Marion County, IN, if we weren’t working the polls, we called people on election day. We called them again to make sure they had voted. Then, late in the day, if they still hadn’t voted, we’d go to their homes and offer to drive them to the polls. If they didn’t want to vote, we’d press a cloth full of either to their faces, throw them in the trunk, and not let them out until they agreed to vote. O K. Some minor details there may not be exactly accurate, but it is close enough. You get the point.
As of today, some states have already exceeded the turnout from 2016, thanks to massive early voting, and we haven’t even gotten to election day yet. It doesn’t look like overall turnout, raw numbers, are going to be a problem. But are these your voters? Your opponent’s? Bodies that just sprung out of the giant seed pods you found in the basement? An old saw maintains large turnouts are bad for the incumbent, but at this point, it being 2020 and all, how sure can you be? The huge turnout means something. We just don’t yet know what. One way or the other, you have to get your voters to the polls, and the fewer of the others who get there, the better.
It has been said the perfect election is one in which every one of your supporters votes and on one else on the planet even knows there is an election.
I am at a loss for what to think of the world if Biden wins. I know what it will mean for the country, but what does it say, if anything, about American politics moving forward? It says some things may be true today that have never been true before. Much of it disconcerting. In case you didn’t have enough to worry about, chew on those thoughts for a bit.
More tomorrow. Cheers.