All over but the shouting now. The last closing arguments have been made. The last rallies have been held. The last desperate pleas for cash have been made. Tomorrow, the shit gets real. And at the last minute, it all comes down to one thing, grassroots activism.
Earlier today MSNBC had a segment on from Las Vegas, one of the tightest battleground states in the country. And they reported that in the last 7-10 days, The Culinary Workers Union had knocked on more than 1.2 million doors in Clark County, and had personally contacted 40% of the African Americans and Hispanics in Clark County to motivate them to get out and vote. Man! 1.2 million people! That’s more people in the world than the ones who hate me!
A brief explanation. Many, if not most of you have spent at least a couple of days on the Las Vegas Strip at one time or another. I live about 6 miles from it. But the Strip couldn’t exist without the Culinary Workers Union. The CWU is 60,000 members strong. It covers cooks, chefs, dishwashers, busboys, servers, bartenders, hosts, check in clerks, maids, floor stewards, car park attendants, bellhops, and on and on. If it wears a uniform and servers the public on the Strip or affiliated off strip hotel-casinos, it likely has a CWU union card in its pocket.
Stacey Abrams has been using a grassroots coalition in Georgia for about a decade now to register voters, educate, and turn them out to vote. Harry Reid and the Democrats have been mobilizing the CWU in Clark County for more than 20 years. Clark county has the largest population in Nevada. If you can hammer out the Democratic vote in Clark County, and hold your own in Washoe County around Reno, there aren’t enough GOP voters in the cow counties to offset their might. That’s what Abrams is shooting for in Georgia. And it works.
I’ve been writing about grassroots activism off-and-on now for 5 years. The potential there thrills me. After the Pink Pussy Hat protests of January of 2017, those women nationwide, along with their husbands and friends didn’t just go home and call it a day. They mobilized. They created ad hoc local groups to go out and knock on doors to register people to vote, and to educate them on voting. And some of them took the ultimate leap of faith, and became actual candidates for public office themselves.
And when 2018 and 2020 came around, they turned it up a notch. They knocked on doors, they canvassed neighborhoods, the phone banked, they texted, they gave rides to the polls. They weren’t motivated by greed or self interest, they were motivated by a common purpose to turn Traitor Tot and the MAGA crowd into the newest denizens on the ash heap of history.
And now again in 2022, here they are again, out in force. But while they may have organized organically, it still takes money to run an organization. Not to pay people, but to rent an office, print fliers, train people to register voters, canvass neighborhoods, and gas money for poll car pools. And the Democrats have made the investment.
The. GOP. Hasn’t. Not only doesn’t the GOP have an organized grassroots activism program, they’ve never showed any interest. The GOP recipe for success for the last couple of decades is to fundraise from corporations and deep pocket donors, spread money liberally for advertising, and the candidates are on their own. And the attitude shows up in the candidate quality. The GOP is fielding far right candidates like Herschel walker, Hillbilly Vance, Cruise Ship doctor Mehmet Oz, Doug Mastriano, Kari Lake and Blake Masters. What a rogues gallery that is. Meanwhile, the Democrats are fielding candidates that look and sound like somebody you’d sit next to on a stool at O’Reilly’s on Friday night, and bicker about box scores.
Look, the ultimate decision on the control of congress coming from tomorrow’s vote is going to rest on a razors edge. And when the margin is that tight, it doesn’t rely on the big, gaudy shit you did for 6 months, it’s the little things you did in the right place, and at the right time that tip the balance. Remember, it only takes one snow laden branch to start an avalanche. And right now, it’s the Democrats that have all of the branches with all the snow on them. If you haven’t already done so, Get Out Tomorrow And Vote! You may not get another chance that matters.