Saturday, November 08, 2008

Your Vote Counts: Winning by a GASP

In the little I did about campaigning, I was plagued and hindered by the thought that I wasn't doing any good for my candidate. Phone-banking--well, I did it, but at the same time I know I've never been persuaded of anything by somebody calling me from a campaign. Same thing with door-to-door canvassing.

However, when I look at the campaign group that formed and blossomed in my town in only the last weeks of the campaign, I'm convinced as never before that every single vote matters, and that every effort to help a voter get registered and to the polling place counts.

Here's the persuasive (to me) data: GASP began with ten women about six weeks before the election. By election night, there were more than a thousand: registering people to vote, cooking meals for volunteers, writing, making calls, and giving many thousands of dollars.

Then when the votes were in, North Carolina went for Obama, first time for a Democrat since Carter in 1976, by roughly 14,000 votes. Wake, where GASP was at work, went for Obama by about 15 percentage points. Had Obama led in Wake by only 12 points, Obama would have lacked the votes to win the state.

Though it cannot be absolutely nailed down, I am convinced that the 1,000 + women made the difference. Disclosure: I'm not even officially a GASPER, never went to the first meeting. But from now on, when doubts arise about whether my effort will help, I'm going to remember this, and do what I can.

Addendum: GASP is now looking at what their next effort should be.

If you like this post, please bookmark it on, share it on StumbleUpon, vote for it on Digg. Thanks so much.


K.B. said...

Perhaps they could help the Republican party figure out how to move to the center without alienating their lunatic fringe. Somehow.

That was, for me, the biggest shock of the election: that there are people who are still so racist, so ignorant, so immune to reason. The woman who called Obama an "Arab", the senator who responded by saying that, no, he was a good family man (as if an Arab couldn't possibly be a good family man), the people who kept ignoring all the refutation of all of the silly rumors, who are STILL calling for a birth certificate (for the love of God, do they think the press wouldn't have figured out if there was a problem with something so basic and trumpeted it loud and clear?), still saying he's connected to terrorists, those who are still saying things like, "my parents raised me never to trust anyone who's black", people calling for Obama's death -- good Lord, people, what are you *thinking*?!?

Absofreakinglutely unbelievable in this day and age.

That's why Palin appalled me so badly -- she appealed to and amplified the absolute worst in all people, not just Republicans, to all of the things in them that are divisive and unthinking and fearful of The Other. She, McCain, and their GOP advisors tried to make self-esteem try to do the work of self-respect, not only for their campaign, but also for their supporters. (Who would come right out in front of God and everyone and say that unreasoning racism and fear is their political platform, and are they *truly* comfortable with that?)

She's not unintelligent; she's obviously come too far to be stupid, but it was appallingly idiotic that neither she nor McCain said, "um, excuse me, that's ethically or morally screwy and it won't play anywhere but lunatic fringe USA" when they were told what to do by their advisors and handlers. I don't think the GOP leadership should be taken out and shot at dawn, but metaphorically, this would be the best thing for the GOP.

Palin has four years, possibly eight years depending upon how well Obama's presidency goes, to study up on foreign policy, on global economics, and perhaps even ethics. Perhaps GASP could help her out by asking if she'd like to politically be someone who wouldn't have to be a standard-bearer for hate and intolerance, whose very name has become code for "lunatic fringe conservatives", and can they help advise her on that?

I don't know if Palin's political career has been ruined by this election, it's entirely possible. But a group that makes her very name part of their reason for even existing should really be reaching out to make their reason for existing stop being exactly that, by my logic, and in the reasoning and logic of hope, change, and consensus...

Peggy Payne said...

GASP did shift focus after a few weeks to electing Obama. But Palin was the spark, and GASP is such a good name.

I'd like to see a party that was socially liberal and financially conservative and working with the UN on any intervention into other countries' business.

K.B. said...

I think I've heard that wish (socially liberal, fiscally conservative) from so many people over the last decade or so, including me.

Peggy Payne said...

It would be a variation on Libertarian, large variation. You start it, okay? But not until Obama has had eight years. Right now, he's my political dream come true.

K.B. said...

Yes, and it sounds like he's being very decisive in the days before the hand-off. Here we go!

Start another political party? I need to go find out what some of these other ones were. HeartQuake '08? The Boston Tea Party? lol!