Friday, October 10, 2008

What's the point of contacting voters in Moscow?

Sometimes it feels a little futile to bother with political activism in my fairly liberal town. A food co-op is one of the centerpieces of downtown, and most of our local elected officials are Democrats. This isn't Darkest, Idaho.

It really doesn't matter whether I vote for President, as long as I'm voting in Idaho. I am going to be honored to vote for America's first African-American President, however, and might as well get that historical thrill.

A column at Slate by Bill Bishop explains why it's voters like me and the people I can drag to the polls who can deliver the red-state upsets like John Tester and Claire McCaskill - these candidates were successful by driving up their numbers in the more-urban areas of their districts. Moscow is nothing, population-wise, compared to Boise or Meridian, so there's only so much influence our area can have on this trend. I have absolutely no feel for how well Obama is doing down South, though when I was at the convention this summer, I got the impression that there was unprecedented excitement throughout the state.

McCaskill won in '06, as did two other Democratic Senate candidates in traditionally "red" states: Jim Webb in Virginia and Jon Tester in Montana. It's a cool threesome. Webb packed heat. Tester sported a flattop. McCaskill could talk to hog farmers, and she looked good at a campaign event standing next to Willie Nelson. Webb dubbed the group the "redneck caucus," and the myth began.
If you're only going to be pulling off people who live within a few blocks of each other, you should consider the return you're actually getting for driving a couple of hours to the edge of your district to knock on the doors of people who just don't want to hear from a politician.
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