Looking at the factors going into this election, Obama supporters find themselves in a curious position:
We have every proven reason to worry, and every theoretical reason to be optimistic.
What I mean by this, is that every factor Obama depends on for success has, in the past, been proven to fail: The youth vote, the minority vote, new Democrat registrants – they dropped the ball in 2000 and downright fumbled in 2004. No matter the grassroots organizing, the celebrity endorsements, Democrats have failed by relying on those on the margins of the establishment. The elite knows how to get out Rove’s vaunted “base.”
But this year, we’re promised by polling data and registrations, that a flood of activity in the key Democratic Party constituencies has been seen: Perception of the candidates aligns for Obama. Registration aligns for Obama. Public fundraising – meaning from private individuals, rather than Political Action Committees or lobbyists; a gauge of general support – is vastly for Obama. Key demographics, especially youth and minorities, are strong for Obama.
All the pieces are set up, but will they all come into play like they need to when need be? Or will they fail to appear, like before?
Over the last few days, that question has been put into play. Astoundingly, the omens for strong Obama support have been tested and triumphed. Those tests have been in early voting.
Early voting is traditionally dominated by Republicans, by a lean but consistent margin. This year, however, Democrats have been taking over this crucial voting population. By a ratios ranging from a 6-point spread to a whopping 3 to 2 in places like Florida, and even higher in Nevada, early voters are going Democratic. In short, the early vote is turning out to be a battleground landslide for Obama.
This is an even bigger boost than the theories above might have hoped for. Why? Because no one had predicted that the early voter bloc – a largely older, whiter population – would be going so powerfully for Obama. The very demographics he is thought to be weakest in, he is pulling remarkable levels of proven support from.
Obama supporters should, of course, run this race as if we need to sprint just to secure a photo finish. In order for this momentum to continue, let alone be consummated, everyone will have to sign up for phone trees, write e-mails to friends and donate – not just the engaged; everyone.
Still, there is now some amazing developments suggesting that all that hard work might not, for the first time in eight years, be in vain.