Happy Sunday bunkies! I saw something funny on the news yesterday, so I thought I’d share it with you to lighten up your day before I hit the makeup chair at 4:30 for my big interview. And yes, I know it’s a radio interview, but that just shows you how little they have to work with here.
It looks like the Republicans are finally starting to take the 2018 midterms seriously enough to crank up their “ground game.” With the rise of the Dark Lord of Greed, we Democrats have kind of become used to activism. Starting with the run up to the 2017 Virginia elections, and carrying through the 2018 primaries, we’ve seen a steady stream of news segments about Democratic activists going out and canvassing for their candidates. When you see one now, it’s kind of like going out on your porch at night, looking up, and saying, “Oh, another full moon tonight.” With the GOP, not so much. When you see one of those reports, that’s more like going out on your porch at night, looking up, and saying, “Shit! There’s Halley’s comet!”
There was a segment on MSNBC yesterday about a GOP canvassing event that they nicknamed “Super Saturday,” to get people out canvassing for vulnerable GOP incumbents. The segment I saw was in a traditionally GOP suburb of Chicago, where the incumbent usually sleepwalks to reelection, but the district is suddenly in play. It struck me immediately that there are some significant differences in the way the two parties canvass, and they’re actually kind of funny.
First, there’s the basic mechanics of organizing the canvass. When Democrats want to canvass, the local Indivisible group, or another activist group puts the word out, and people call in, or respond online to find out where to queue up to hit the streets. There’s even a group out there called Swing Blue, setting up Democrats that live in a safely blue district to visit a neighboring district close to them that is a swing district. For the Republicans, a PAC had to spend $100,000 to get a bunch of people willing to put down their i-Phones for a couple of hours, and actually talk to people face to face, instead of by emoji.
Then, there’s the way that they actually canvass. From everything I’ve seen Democrats normally canvass in pairs, like women going to the bathroom at work. Republicans canvass in packs of five, like guys heading into the strip club. When you watch Democrats canvass on TV, it’s two women, or a man and a woman, and they skip up the driveway like a couple of 6 year olds going to school, with smiles on their faces. The Republicans I saw on TV yesterday trundled up the driveway like the Patriots front line on a screen pass. Then they all huddled around the door, like a bunch of guys watching the one picking the lock on a Buick for a joy ride. This doesn’t seem to me to be a particularly effective way to canvass. Having two Jehovah’s Witnesses on your porch at dinner time is bad enough. Having the entire congregation parked out there is a good way to make sure that the door doesn’t get opened.
I think that a good part of the difference is the basic differing philosophy that the two parties have about canvassing. To Democrats, canvassing means the candidate, or volunteers, hitting the parking lot at Walmart, or going door to door, smiling, happy handing, and just generally shooting the shit. For the Republicans, it seems more to mean a bunch of guys who look like they spend a lot of time at the racetrack, with Marlboro’s hanging off of their lower kip, sticking sleazy fliers under the windshield wiper of your car in the mall parking lot.
And then there’s the smiles themselves. When Democrats smile when you open the door, they smile like they just heard this really funny joke that they can’t wait to share with you. When Republicans smile when you open the door, they look more like Eddie Munster behind the podium, waiting for the Gas-X to kick in.
So, there you have it, the GOP is finally getting into the swing of things for the midterms, and the game is afoot. But if what I saw yesterday is anything to go by, the Democrats have a new secret weapon at their disposal. It’s the GOP’s mob mentality, and their personality.