GOTV in Pennsylvania
Spent a good part of yesterday at home making phonecalls for Barack Obama as part of his campaign's Get Out The Vote effort. Their online set up is pretty smart, and allows a volunteer to choose which (leaning, toss-up) state to call. I chose Pennsylvania, for obvious reasons, and it mostly went OK, although at least 90 percent of my calls resulted in 1) leaving messages, 2) wrong numbers, or 3) nobody home, which is different than 1) in that there was no answering machine or service to leave a message on or with. The phone just rang and rang and rang. A throwback to the '70s.
The most interesting person I talked to was an 80-something year-old woman who was voting for Obama, and who complained about all of the mail and robocalls she was getting from the McCain camp. “I'm not a Republican!” she kept saying indignantly. She also implied that FDR helped her father get a job during the Depression. Apparently he told his kids, and he had 12 of them, before he died, “If any of you vote Republican I'll roll over in my grave.” She was proud of that.
The most interesting polling location? “Prison Training Academy” in Philadelphia.
My friend Andy, who was doing the same all weekend, got me on board yesterday and probably immediately regretted it, since I called him about five times with various questons. During one of those calls we got to talking about McCain's robocalls and what a nuissance they were. Andy said that whenever he left a message he always used the voter's name so they'd know it wasn't a robocall. That's when it hit me. Why McCain uses robocalls. Because he doesn't have people like us.
Yet another difference between the two campaigns. McCain uses a dehumanizing technique to dehumanize his opponent. Obama uses actual volunteers from around the country to make sure everyone gets out and votes.