The SMITH Diaries Project

Mike Tyson vs. the Ballerina

Saturday, November 4th, 2006

By Tate Hausman

Less than 100 hours to the polls close. And I’m watching the 6,000 pages of call sheets roll off the printer at 4 am.

Get Out the Vote weekend — GOTV — starts tomorrow. At this point, 95 percent of the electorate has made up its mind about who they’re voting for. Now its just about turnout. Who can motivate more of their supporters to the polls?

We’re putting 1000 volunteers on the phones and in the streets to pull in our crowd. We’ll make 120,000 phone calls and knock on 15,000 doors. All with volunteer labor. It’s the largest GOTV operation this district has ever seen — by a long shot. My opponent’s team might be staging something similar, but if so, it’ll be with hundreds of paid canvassers, imported from God-Knows-Where. It won’t look anything like ours. Comparing our grassroots power is like pitting Mike Tyson against a ballerina. A four-year-old ballerina.

It makes us laugh. We saw one of our opponent’s spokespeople on TV the other day. Quote went something like, “We’ve knocked on 1500 doors all over this district, and we’ve found that voters want blah blah blah…” I missed the blah blah blah part because our field director turned to me and said, “We knocked on 1500 doors on Saturday. Before noon.”

The exponential explosion in interest, attention, resources, bodies flowing into this race, it’s all swelled to epic proportions. As I knew it would. When you’re riding a wave like this race, the key is cresting at exactly the right moment. This sure feels like we’re at the peak, just waiting for the perfect crash onto Republican shores.

And once again, I’m seeing the “gateway drug” effect of my online organizing clearer than ever. My Home Teamers have flooded in from around the state, even around the country. Jeff Stein, an enthusiastic Home Teamer who votes in the district but currently lives in DC, arrived this afternoon. We put him to work immediately and didn’t let up. I just sent him out the door with six massive lists of call sheets to deliver around the southern swing of the district. It was 3:45 am.

It’s exciting being part of something so big. The emotional appeal of war becomes crystal clear. The enemy is in sight. The plan is laid. Will it go off as smoothly as Primary Day? I’m sure it won’t. This time we have real opposition. Karl Rove opposition. Millions of dollars of attack ads, voter suppression, fear mongering, ridiculous accusations, and indefensible lies. These are the bluntest objects of modern politics. We fight back with the sharpest sticks we can find — technologically driven voter targeting, peeling away her base one household at a time.

It’s 4:15 am. Tomorrow, the end game begins.

Wish me luck.

Up Next: Bedtime for The Campaignster, Who Is Not Setting An Alarm

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