barack with senator bob casey at the avenue diner in wyoming, pa
With all the hoopla around Sarah Palin, let's remember to keep our eyes on the prize.
One thing about the Obama Campaign, if you have been following, is upon conception this campaign has committed resources to state building. Barack has followed the lead started by Howard Dean of 2004. Building up our states to bring more competitive races with strong candidates, a presence of the Democratic Party, and the ability to perform massive GOVT (Get out the vote).
As Barack built ground operations all across this country, you saw activity awaken. Many people who had given up on grass roots activities in states like North Carolina, Georgia, Montana, etc. started to get involved again. With the candidacy of Barack, many new voters stepped up and came forward. You saw the results of this hard work by Barack's initial win in Iowa. Many did not believe he would win, but it was the ground operation, which was stellar and I was there in Cedar Rapids, which brought that victory.
Through all these months, wow it seems like years, the main focus was voter registration drives. From the grassroots operations across this country, the Obama Campaign made voter registration their number one focus along with building state operations. Now we are seeing massive numbers.
Five days a week, Linda Graham trolls tattered neighborhoods of this once thriving steel city outside Pittsburgh for unregistered voters she can sign up as Democrats — one of thousands of unknown volunteers whose work outside the limelight has already altered the basic arithmetic of the November election.
The epic nomination battle between Barack Obama and Hillary Rodham Clinton helped put millions more Democrats on the voter rolls while Republican registration declined. Now Graham, 45, has taken three months of unpaid leave from her job at Pittsburgh's Central Blood Bank in the hope of adding to those gains before the presidential vote.
She's encouraged by the response here. "They're all feeling the crunch" of lost jobs and a sagging economy, Graham said. "But people are feeling empowered. They're feeling like, you know what, I hold a little bit of power in this."
To counter this effort, the Republicans are counting on a formidable, high-tech get-out-the-vote operation that has helped them win the past two presidential elections.
Since the last federal election in 2006, volunteers like Graham combined with the enthusiasm generated by the Obama-Clinton struggle to add more than 2 million Democrats to voter rolls in the 28 states that register voters according to party affiliation. The Republicans have lost nearly 344,000 thousand voters in the same states.
The Democrats hope their voter registration efforts can boost Obama to victory in competitive states like Pennsylvania, Nevada and Florida and perhaps even give him a shot at winning traditional Republican states like Georgia, North Carolina and Virginia. continue
This is why the Sarah Palin pick was necessary for McCain. She was picked for primarily what she has caused pandemonium among the conservative base of the Republican Party. John McCain had no ground operation in place, period. During his time as the 'presump' he did not open offices, did not put money into any ground operations and did not commit to voter registration drives. Instead McCain picked Palin to bring the George W. Bush section of the party in play to perform the necessary GOTV that is needed for November.
The problem is this; it just may be too late. I don't doubt, nor will ignore the operation of GOTV that won Bush his second term in 2004, it was massive, but this is 2008 and the chips are different. The conservative base doesn’t like, nor trust McCain, but with this pick it is for Palin. The Republicans have catch up to do, this includes working each state's voter registration rolls, purging folks, and performing voter registration drives, getting enough volunteers, phone contact, canvassing, etc. They are behind in all of this and McCain Campaign is just starting to open offices across the country, while Obama's operations have been up and going for months.
Sarah Palin will perform 30 fundraisers in 60 days. Money is needed for GOTV and ads for targeted states. Joe Scarborough of morning joe on MSNBC has been consistent about speaking to state party chairs on the Republican side, their sentiment is that they appreciate the attack ads that McCain has up on the air, but are terrified at the ground game of the Obama Campaign and are worried about the new voters being registered at break neck speed.
Finally, the GOP should be worried. These new voters may not be enough for Barack in some states to win, but they are enough for local, state and persons running for congress, too. This could mean a landslide in November for more seats in congress and state level. This is equally important, as Barack winning the presidency.
Register to vote, here.
Voter Registration information, here.
Volunteer for Obama Campaign, here.
cross-posted @ This Week With Barack Obama