I spent a lot of time this weekend exercising my right to participate in the political process. Our family attended a rally to get out the vote for Missouri statewide Democratic candidates, and I also made volunteer GOTV calls on behalf of Hillary for America to likely voters in North Carolina, Colorado, Michigan, and Florida. I made contributions to some of our Democratic statewide candidates as well. Missouri used to be a battleground state, but as the population has trended older, it has become a red state (BOO!). So it has been a busy last weekend before the election and I suspect I will take some time off of work on Tuesday for some final volunteer efforts before planting myself in front of the TV at home to watch the results roll in.
We talk a lot with our eight-year-old son about politics and government, and are careful to model good citizenship and the need to critically evaluate candidates. Like many parents, we are repulsed by the vulgarity of the presidential campaign, although we have allowed him to watch the debates and talk with him about the allegations. He loved the rally on Saturday and soaked up the speakers’ referencing him and his friends as one of the reasons it is so important for us to be involved and active citizens. He is most excited about getting to color in his Electoral College map of the United States on Tuesday night, a little tradition in our household for Election Night.
Anyway, I dropped off my son and some neighborhood kids at a birthday party this afternoon, and was returning home along a local highway when I noticed a large display on the overpass. Specifically, I saw about five huge Gadsen flags and several large American flags, and a *yuge* Trump banner hanging over the side of the overpass. The display certainly grabbed my attention, but on further inspection I noticed there were only three or four actual people up there monitoring it. My knee jerk reaction was to cringe. Ugh.
Upon further reflection, I thought, “What a waste.” Think about it. This is the last weekend before the election. I doubt these well-intentioned activists were connected officially with the Trump campaign. While the display may help bolster enthusiasm among Trump supporters passing below, it is not a good use of their time if they really want to help Trump win. Elections are all about turnout, and the side that can get more people out wins. To do that, GOTV efforts are critical, and while banners are nice, they don’t raise campaign funds or tell people when and where to vote. Many critics of the Trump campaign operation have talked of the lack thereof, i.e., that there is no real statewide organized effort to get out the voters who will support him. That is a critical error, and I wonder if his supporters understand that. He complains about a rigged system, and many of his supporters talk about feeling like they have no meaningful voice with our political leaders. It’s nice and all to hang a banner on a highway, but it doesn’t really move your preferred candidate closer to the presidency. Do they not get it? Or is it just easier to be angry and protest the system?
Perhaps these individuals are also doing other good work. I don’t know. And banners are fine, but the weekend before the election is go time for GOTV. Missouri is going to vote Trump, so it won’t matter, but if Hillary Clinton wins, and Trump supporters wonder why, one of many reasons will be because the campaign’s organization was miserable, including GOTV, and they should blame their candidate, not a rigged system.
All that to say, make a plan, and GO VOTE TUESDAY, NOVEMBER 8! www.iwillvote.com.