Relax. No, I’m not spiking the ball on the 1 yard line, and I’m not slowing down to look for the checkered flag at mile 499 of the Indy 500 either. But if we do the “sweat equity” to be the offshore earthquake, the impending “blue wave: that people keep talking about actually is going to be a tsunami. And I’m using logic here, something you normally don’t expect from me.
When people consider the existence of, and possible size of the impending “blue wave,” the most common barometer is polling. There are two basic forms of polling that the media traditionally uses, there are “registered voter” polls, and there are “likely voter” polls. Normally, likely voter polls are considered more accurate, since they poll people who have actually pulled a lever, as opposed to people who have just checked a box at the DMV. But even if the polling is accurate, both of the kinds of polls are missing something, and they’re missing the same damn thing.
My favorite example on this subject is Beto O’Rourke down in Texas. For months now, I’ve been predicting in my articles that Beto has been my sleeper pick for the “upset of the cycle” in 2018. And it’s not just a case of me supporting a fellow Mick. When you’re scraping up against the margin of error in Texas, 55 days before the election, running against the Crypt Keeper of the GOP, you’re doing something right.
O’Rourke is doing a lot of things right, but two things in particular. First, he’s working his ass off. O’Rourke set a goal to physically hit every district in Texas, some 430 locations if I remember correctly, by election day. Beto is going to see more Texas towns than Garth Brooks on his “Hey guys, remember me?” tour. And at every rally he does, and at every town hall that he holds, there are activists registering voters.
And Beto O’Rourke isn’t the only one doing this. In the aftermath of the tragedy at Marjorie Stoneman Douglas high school in Florida, there was story after story in the media of high school teachers nationwide bringing in stacks of voter registration cards for eligible students to fill out, collecting them, and then returning them for processing. A couple of months ago, I posted an article reporting how, here in Vegas, I couldn’t take out the trash without a smiling face with a clipboard asking me if I was registered to vote. They were in the parking lot of the Walmart, standing under the shade of a tree on the corner in front of the Walgreens, even circling the parking lot of my complex, like an activist “Shark Week” episode. In a desperate, winner-take-all election, if people wouldn’t blow 3 hours at the DMV, then the activists were bringing the mountain to Mohammad.
These people are our sleepers, and they’re flying under the radar. They’re not being captured in polling, for one simple, logical reason. They won’t appear in a likely voter poll, because they have no voting record. But they are also unlikely to appear on a registered voter poll either, simply because most of them registered remotely, and well after the polling organizations would have pulled their master rosters from state records. But they are out there.
And to my way of thinking, if those people signed up, then they’re highly likely to show up on November 6th. It’s not like they never had the chance to register to vote before, they just never bothered to. But if they’re even showing up at a Beto O’Rourke town hall, much less bending over a folding table to fill out a form, or standing in the 108 degree Vegas sun to scribble on a clipboard, then they’re pretty highly motivated to do so. And what they’re motivated by is one Donald John Trump, the “Bluto” Blutarski of American politics.
Last week GOP Senator Lindsey Graham took a break from belittling the memory of his dear friend, John McCain, to opine that he honestly expected Democrats to pick up 10-12 more seats than they need to take control of the House in November. That’s a change of 33-35 seats. But if our candidates spend the next 55 days effectively getting their message to the people, and if the rest of us spend the next 55 days knocking on doors, and making phone calls, and reminding every single person we’ve ever met just how important November 6th is to the future of this nation, then I think that Lindsey Graham is at least 10-15 seats short in his estimate. And like Brad Pitt in Inglorious Basterds, “I want my goddamn dead Nazi scalps. Every one of them.” And I think you do to. Let’s do this.