Election -4 days: Don’t Panic…

That wrap probably cost $20k+, and didn’t we already buy them a bus? Then again, $20K buys 30 seconds in the metro TV market and that bus sized billboard will be earning media for four days!

‘Bout now both parties are trying to get their followers “fired up”, rolling out wrapped busses to encourage us to “door knock ’til we drop” in the ritual of “modern” last minute panic campaigning… And most of this panic politics won’t change the results one iota.

Lets look at a “sample” ballot that happens to be mine- At the top Governor Walz and Lt. Governor Flanagan are leading by high single digits while our incumbent Attorney General, Auditor, and Secretary of State may be in the political fights of their lives. Below that in this R+ double digit district the outcome will follow the script, with republicans all too predictably winning the congressional and legislative races by huge margins. On the bottom and back of the ballot are non partisan races for 2 council members, a mayor, school board member, and judges and the only contested one is for the school board seat. Ballots for the rest of the counties voters are pretty similar, with the odd contested county board, municipal, school board, or soil and water conservation district race.

That suggests we should concentrate on getting every last democratic and leaning voter to the polls. If it were only that simple- For a start my city’s voters like 30% of the county’s rural voters automatically vote by mail, and as of today about 55% of their votes were already at the courthouse and that’s about the turnout we get in an off year election. Would be nice to know who those unvoted 45% are and which are democrats or leaners, but unfortunately our supposedly all knowing Democratic Party isn’t sharing or more likely hasn’t dug up the data. So we’re stuck blind door knocking the county’s largest city of 13,000, and the best bet is around the university. 13,000 population distills down to about 6000 homes and if we pick the precinct nearest the university that cuts it down to 2000 doors to knock which 40 democrats we don’t have might manage to knock in an afternoon so our ~20 will maybe find 200 home. Of that 200 there’s 80 republicans we’re gonna piss off, 80 are democrats of whom maybe 8 we can persuade to vote, and with some persuasion we might get 2 more independents and round up 10 more votes for statewide races where the “win number” is over a million.

That’s just one reason why canvassing is obsolete.

Couple years back labor funded a huge study in to what actually increased votes for our candidates. They found that advertising at the typical saturation levels is a waste, and calling or door knocking strangers isn’t much more effective. What they did find persuaded and encouraged voters was contact with democratic persuaders they knew and trusted. And given that most of us democrats vote and our friends do to, we’re not the best choices to do this “relational canvassing”- A young democrat with little voting experience with similar friends does a much better job. The Oshoff for Senate campaign in Georgia took this concept and ran with it, intentionally hiring newbie young organizers who motivated their networks to register and vote democratic and thus flipped a seat and made Georgia a purple state.

So relax, take deep breaths, and enjoy the excitement of the campaigns and election… And rest up for the recounts!


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