Fear and Loathing: On the campaign trail ’12 – One week left

 
 

We have one week to go and things are pretty tense.

Each day over the past two months people have been slowly accumulating in the Minneapolis campaign headquarters. There was a time when I knew everyone working in the office by name and everyone knew me as “Francis the energetic Irish guy”. Then, two weeks ago, it was like the campaign flipped a switch.

We doubled our office space by expanding our headquarters into an adjoining building. New faces began flooding in and soon I was helping train newcomers in how to canvass for Obama. Now thousands of volunteers pass through the headquarters each day. Neighborhood Team leaders such as myself are either training new volunteers or spending the whole day at a desk co-coordinating canvassers and recording data. Fortunately, most of my time is spent outside with new volunteers and I spend most of my time helping them canvass.

My favorite day so far in the office was when I met America’s second lady, Dr. Jill Biden. For someone of her influence, she was very humble. She thanked us for all the work that we had done and encouraged us to make the final big push before Election Day.

All the debates and major national public events are done with by this stage and everyone volunteering in the Democratic Party is very relieved. Canvassing door-to-door became noticeably harder after the Obama lost the first debate. Overnight, Romney became credible Presidential material. The Democrats won the following three debates but by then it was too late, the damage was done.

Right now it’s obvious that Obama really needs money. Both campaign teams have been spending huge sums in recent weeks. The Romney campaign is spending $4 million more than the Obama campaign on average each day. Romney finances his campaign largely on undisclosed donations from major corporations and Super PACs whereas Obama relies more on small donations from grassroots donors such as myself. I find it disappointing that my friends, who have already given up a large portion of their time to volunteer for the President, are also asked to fund Obama’s latest attack ad.

In the past I used to receive one email per day on average from the Obama campaign asking me to donate. Currently, it’s becoming ridiculous. I receive more than five emails daily from Obama asking me to donate money. Sometimes, I even receive bizarre personalised emails from celebrities asking me to donate. For example, my friends and I have recently received personalised emails from the likes of Michael Jordan and George Clooney. Beyonce sent me an email and it began “ Francis- I don’t normally email you.” And I thought to myself, well that’s very true.

I would be less annoyed if the campaign spending was evenly distributed across the nation. However, due to the American Electoral College system, all the money Obama raises in Minnesota is being poured into a few swing states such as Ohio. Voters in the swing states are being bombarded with negative attack ads from both campaigns; this is making residents in swing states dislike both candidates and deters them from voting at all.

The Electoral College is terrible system. This race is so tight that it looks like whoever wins Ohio wins the Presidency. Why should the 3% of the U.S. population who happen to live in Ohio have more of a say than the rest of the country?

All my friends and I can do is work hard to deliver Minnesota to the Democrats and pray that the swing states go our way.

Read: Francis McNamara’s first Fear and Loathing entry

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