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Diary of a Swing State Precinct Walker

Original post made by Paul Losch, Community Center, on Nov 7, 2012

I spent the weekend before the election in the Reno, Nevada area, canvassing for the Obama campaign. Got home election night, and went to sleep shortly after the President was declared the "winner." After all the walking in the hot dry environs of Reno, hanging tags (not chads), schmoozing when I could, and dealing with various circumstances, I was ready for a good night's sleep back in my own bed.

The Weekly and many other news sources have covered the ground level efforts that attended this election. I provide here some random anecdotes and observations from my last few days.

Samples of interactions I had in my canvassing:

Me: What's important?
Voter: I will not vote for a Mormon
Me: That does narrow down your options

Me: Hola, Espanol o Ingles? (I am fluent in Spanish, and was assigned to places with a large Spanish speaking contingent)
Small Child: Espanol, mami!!
Woman in towel: I am about to take a shower, I will vote for Obama!
Me: muchas

Me: Hi I am from…
She: I have a day care group in my back yard, and let me tell you, anybody who votes for Romney has parked their brains at the door, he is so…blah blah blah…
Me: Glad you are voting for Obama, you need to get back to the kids. (As I walked away, I contemplated how much she had enjoyed having an adult conversation.)

Me: Have you voted?
He: I am a felon, can't vote

Me:
Sign on Door: Go away! I don't need any more visits and no more brochures!

I worked different areas in Reno during my stint. One was a pristine community with theme names for the streets (think Rosetta Stone Way) that had rules from the "Neighborhood Association." Another day I spent time in a vicinity that consisted of trailers, dirt roads, more pit bulls than people, no trespassing signs. A different type of "Neighborhood Association."

I was fed up with the TV ads in Reno for the elections after an hour my first night there. It was nothing like what we had in this neck of the woods. It led me to sympathize for those poor people who were getting inundated with such ads for weeks at a time, and getting the in your face visit from the likes of me trying to "get out the vote."

The group canvassing were largely from Northern California, a mix of Gen X's who were working in public interest, government jobs, some retired folks, and other like me who had some spare days and could participate in a cause.

I saw a couple of TV news stories about this type of campaigning around the country, and they reflected in many ways what I experienced.

I am keeping this write up to some anecdotal points, and there could be more.

Comments (10)

 +   Like this comment
Posted by Sharon
a resident of Midtown
on Nov 7, 2012 at 3:06 pm

Paul: thank you for your service to American Democracy, and to the thousands of others who got on the phones and hit the streets.

332-206, a landslide. Maybe the red team will figure it out, maybe they won't. If they start by teaming up with working Americans, instead of working against them, it'll be a start and working Americans won't have to work against republicans on the phones and streets.

I'm not holding my breath, much as I'm sure persons of color are not either.

Democrats have the majority vote in 5 of the last 6 presidential elections (missing only in 2004.) Get a clue, red team, get a clue. Hate and fear is a bad strategy.

A good day for America.

Thanks again for your efforts. Job well done.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Ducatigirl
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Nov 7, 2012 at 3:07 pm

Paul: I would like to hear more, you obviously have some wild stories to tell!

But, more seriously, can you tell us why you and others like yourself would put forth so much effort for so little return (and a snarky return, at that)?


 +   Like this comment
Posted by real return on investment
a resident of Community Center
on Nov 7, 2012 at 3:15 pm

D-girl: "can you tell us why you and others like yourself would put forth so much effort for so little return"

118 million Americans voted, some put more efort in than others, such as multiple hours waiting in line, taking time off work. Others spent more time on phones, etc..

So little return?!?!?!?!?!? Did you not know what was on the table between Gov Romney and Obama????

So little return -- 118 million Americans disagree with you.

Me, too.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Sharon
a resident of Midtown
on Nov 7, 2012 at 3:39 pm


Obama received 69,456,897 votes in 2008.

He got 59,651,236 or 9.8 million fewer (-14.1%), in 2012.

McCain got 59,934,814 votes in 2008.

Romney received 57,028,531, about 2.9 million fewer votes.

Jimmy Carter's vote total dropped 5.4 million in 1980 vs. 1976 or 13%. Obama was down 14.1%!

How can you do worse than Jimmy Carter and yet still win?

Answer: because nobody thinks we can vote out the Machine any more.

We now live in a world where Jesse Jackson Jr can win re-election from the Mayo Clinic.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Jim
a resident of Midtown
on Nov 7, 2012 at 3:41 pm

Paul, you spent all that effort to guarantee four more years of the new normal (8% unempoyment)? Why?


 +   Like this comment
Posted by GOP snatched defeat from the jaws of victory
a resident of Adobe-Meadows
on Nov 7, 2012 at 3:56 pm

Why? How about it beats the alternative: going back to the Bush years. 60% of exit polls said they blamed Bush for the recession. Romney never told anyone how he was different from Bush.

He wasn't.

That's why he lost such an easy race to win. Obama was vulnerable.

The GOP snatched defeat from the jaws of victory.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by get over it
a resident of Midtown
on Nov 7, 2012 at 4:45 pm

Sharon and Jim can not Get over the fact that Obama won. They are actually looking forward to seeing Obama "fail". Kind of sad, don't you think, that Sharon had to bring in Carter to try to make a case? BTW Mitch mcconnel failed big time-he "worked for 4 years to derail Obama at the expense of the American people. Tone footer him to go though he is Jim and sharons hero.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Nov 7, 2012 at 4:56 pm

I actually felt sorry for those who live in swing states. I saw a facebook status from a very fed up friend who had moved to a swing state since the last election. He was utterly fed up with people from both parties contacting him, often from out of State, to "help" him make his decision. He is very intelligent and quite capable of deciding for himself which way to vote. If we think it was bad here can't imagine how bad it was there!


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Ducatigirl
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Nov 7, 2012 at 8:09 pm

real return on investment: I meant for so little personal return. How do you react when political canvassers come to your door? Most people are rude or insulting or slam the door. Not a very pleasant personal return for the canvasser, to say nothing of sore feet and raspy vocal chords, among other things.

How could you take my comment so wrong?


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Gary
a resident of Downtown North
on Nov 8, 2012 at 7:29 am

I took Ducatigirl's comment wrong, also. Poorly communicated, initially.

Most voters feel pride when they vote. Volunteers feel even more pride when they phone/walk. Look at how serious somone must be to wait in line 4hours ona day they work.

America needs a nonpartisan National Election Agency to insure easier and timely access to voting, like other mature democracies.
Take the partisanship out of election preparation.


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