Monday, November 03, 2008

History in the Making



I had the opportunity to head down to New Hampshire a little over a week ago for some campaigning and, I must say, it was a great experience. If you imagine every movie you’ve seen about campaigning in New Hampshire…that’ll give you an idea of what it was like. I don’t know any other way to describe it.

Walking door-to-door in rural New Hampshire, with the leaves changing colour and the weather just perfect for door knocking was certainly a nice change of pace from canvassing apartment buildings in downtown Toronto – you really got a small town USA feel. At one point we were being briefed about the canvass in a giant garage a volunteer had loaned to the campaign, when two men carrying hunting rifles walked through, on the way out to do some target practice - making phone calls to supporters with gunfire in the background was a campaign first for me…mind you, I’ve only been through one election in Toronto.

It was also easy to pick up on the famed independent mindedness New Hampshirites (New Hampshirans? New Hampshies?) are known for – I walked up a driveway with 6 broken down cars on the lawn and giant US flags flying from the roof and found a 55 year old shirtless man at the door…ready to vote Obama. So much for stereotypes, eh?

As for the campaign organization itself, everything was top notch. They’ve been at it for two years, so most of the vote had already been identified. They’d also managed to build up an impressive volunteer base, to the point where some small towns had over 150 volunteers coming by the office a day. The campaign was also effective at using the less hard-core volunteers however they could – one thing I really liked was their idea of having supporters send hand written postcards to a dozen of their neighbours explaining why they were voting for Obama.


But, above all else, what made me the most envious was their use of databases. Now, I know that most people don’t get turned on by political databases, but if you’re at all into politics, it would be hard not to be at least a little excited by this one. Every voter. Every volunteer. Their voting records from the last two elections and primaries. Every bit of demographic information you could possibly want to know about them. As a result, they could micro-target to a degree you just aren’t able to on most Canadian political campaigns.

So I had a fun weekend, learned a little about campaigning and, best of all, I now have an apartment full of Barack Obama posters, every novelty pin you could want (actual buttons: “bird watchers for Obama”, “couch potatoes for Obama”, “kayakers for Obama”), and even a bit of swag the McCain office was nice enough to give me (actual button: Sarah Palin holding a gun, with the words “Read my Lipstick: No More Liberals”). Most importantly, when I watch the results roll in, I can feel like I was a very small part of what will be a historic night in the United States.

And as for tomorrow? I’m going to say 379 electoral college votes for Obama: Washington, Oregon, California, Hawaii, Maine, Vermont, New York, Massachussets, Conneticut, DC, Maryland, Minnesota, Michigan, Illinois, Deleware, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Misourri, North Carolina, Ohio, Georgia, Florida, Nevada, New Hampshire, Virginia, New Mexico, Iowa, Wisconsin, Pensylvania. I’m also gonna predict 8 Senate pick-ups for the Dems (VA, NM, CO, AK, NH, OR, NC, MN) and a lead in Georgia, which they’ll lose in the run-off.

Sure, these predictions aren’t worth much, but I did beat Paul Martin in a Super Tuesday pool I won back in February. So, you know, these picks can be considered to be at least as good as what you'll get from your average former Prime Minister.


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21 Comments:

  • CG for Party President! He's our Howard Dean.

    By Blogger JimTan, at 6:50 PM  

  • I'm jealous as all hell, man.

    By Blogger Ashley_Wilkes-Booth, at 6:56 PM  

  • The Congressional races will be interesting to watch as well, particularly the previously "locked" Republican districts facing strong competition by the Democrats. Most notably (also the ones I'll be following for an American Politics paper) are districts found in Florida such as district 21 and 25. Both are held by the Diaz-Balart brothers, Lincoln and Mario (nephews of Fidel Castro), and have run unopposed in the past. This time however, they are polling behind their challengers, two major Democratic candidates. If the Obama win is as safe as it’s expected to be, these races are worth watching.

    By Blogger Avnish, at 8:07 PM  

  • Cool, thanks for the run-down Avnish. I haven't seen too much congressional polling - any idea on how many districts the Dems will pick up?

    Either way, it's going to be one of the strongest mandates in decades for the Democrats. Comfortable majorities in the House and Senate + the Presidency. Maybe a Filibuster-proof 60 seats in the Senate even. Hell, they might even take 61 and then they can boot Lieberman out.

    By Blogger calgarygrit, at 9:34 PM  

  • Interesting country CG, if a Canadian were caught dead within 100 miles (160km) of a Republican campaign, they would be a pariah back home, yet you brag. You brag about working on the campaign of a product of the Chicago machine, a political system so corrupt that it makes Quebec look squeaky clean, yet you brag.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 3:06 AM  

  • Obama Takes Tuesday's First Vote Tallies
    Democrat Takes New Hampshire's Tiny, 1st-To-The-Polls Towns From GOP, 32 Votes To 16

    (CBS/AP) Barack Obama came up a big winner in the presidential race in Dixville Notch and Hart's Location, N.H., where tradition of having the first Election Day ballots tallied lives on.

    Democrat Obama defeated Republican John McCain by a count of 15 to 6 in Dixville Notch, where a loud whoop accompanied the announcement. The town of Hart's Location reported 17 votes for Obama, 10 for McCain and two for write-in Ron Paul. Independent Ralph Nader was on both towns' ballots but got no votes.

    Both towns had favored George Bush in the last two elections.

    Dixville Notch's first voter, following tradition, was picked ahead of the midnight voting and the rest of the town's 21 registered voters followed suit in Tuesday's first minutes.

    Town Clerk Rick Erwin says the northern New Hampshire town is proud of its tradition, but says "the most important thing is that we exemplify a 100 percent vote."

    By Blogger JimTan, at 4:49 AM  

  • It is difficult not to understand why no one opposes the election of Alcoholics, or the use of Alcohol to try to secure votes.. but they will oppose the election of Christian persons

    is it so difficult to understand why some newspapers would splash a headline on the topic across their front page, thereby starting the entire insanity in the first place.

    By Blogger paul kambulow, at 7:09 AM  

  • Who opposes the election of Christians? In the states, that's basically a requirement for the job.

    By Blogger calgarygrit, at 9:43 AM  

  • Hmm ... I agree with anonymous.

    How would you feel if an American were to come up here and help one of our parties campaign?

    I know it's a free country, but I'm not with you on this. They're a separate, sovereign nation and we really shouldn't be down there telling them for whom to vote. That's just my opinion.

    By Blogger Robert Vollman, at 10:30 AM  

  • Don't worry, the hick wanted CG off his property so he told him what would get him off his property as soon as possible!

    By Anonymous The Exorcist, at 11:49 AM  

  • "Who opposes the election of Christians? In the states, that's basically a requirement for the job."

    Watch it guys. Sounds like Paul Obeda!

    The crazies are going crazy down south.

    By Blogger JimTan, at 11:57 AM  

  • "Watch it guys. Sounds like Paul Obeda!"

    Naw. But despite the rhetoric, few politicians are qualified theologians. Most of them are ordinary, everyday people.

    I'm more in line with the questions asking whether Canadians are in the States to learn, or to "help". And if there to "help", how would reciprocity be viewed - how many howls would we hear if a foreigner were to "interfere" in the same way in a Canadian election? And rightly so.

    By Blogger paul.obeda@, at 4:15 PM  

  • I agree with Vollman, it would be similar to Frank Lutz coming up here and assisting the Conservatives with their campaigns for years.....

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 4:15 PM  

  • "...making phone calls to supporters with gunfire in the background was a campaign first for me…mind you, I’ve only been through one election in Toronto."

    Yes, but you have been through several others in Alberta. Maybe you should campaigning in Crowfoot next time, see what happens.

    By Blogger Maestro, at 8:40 PM  

  • Obama declared victor at 8pm PST by the networks. Count CNN 338-156. Bush calls him. McCain gives a nice concession speech but doesn't pump the losers. No vision forward! Gets booed. Obama gives a careful victory speech. It's a historic moment and there are tears. But, he doesn't pump the crowd. Some will be disappointed. But, Obama gives a struggle speech ala Martin Luther King. There is much to be done, and you must do your bit! I am not the Messiah and I can't do miracles. He does promise the audience that things will be better.

    By Blogger JimTan, at 12:42 AM  

  • That very same Republican office turned into a dress shop before Obama's victory speech was over.

    By Blogger Sarah Turnbull, at 9:32 AM  

  • Thanks for share the history, is very interesting!!!

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  • I am almost sure that they are called New Hampshirians. I hope that this election will be a complete success. Thanks for this contribution. Buy Viagra Viagra

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  • Actually Shaheen pledged to veto any new broad-based taxes for New Hampshire, which taxes neither sales nor its residents' earned income. A school-funding crisis, however, pressured the state's reliance on property taxes
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  • This is wonderful. Thanks for sharing.

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