Long time lurker, first time poster.
One of my closest friends lives in Florida now. He was laid off from his job in late 2009, and due to personal reasons (family health issues), he decided to move in with his parents in Florida.
It's been a tough couple years for him. He's 30 and still living with his parents. He's been able to find some work, but never consistently, and not in his field (previously his career has been in IT desktop support, and Florida's just not a good location for that industry). He was recently laid off again a couple months ago. The past four years just haven't been good.
I've been following this election closely and like the Obama campaign, I've framed this election to anyone I can that this is a choice. This is not a vote on approval on whether Obama "kept his promises." This is Obama versus Romney. If you aren't happy with Obama, I have no issue with that opinion, but don't vote for the other guy just because!
His Dad, unfortunately, is a rabid Fox News watcher. Growing up in the northeast in an upper middle class suburb, I knew his Dad was Republican. All our parents were back then. Even my dad used to listen to Limbaugh on the radio before he was so grossly toxic. But while most of us have gone left as we got older -- sometimes even shoved left, his Dad has just become more and more right-wing, believing all the garbage about taxes and socialism "out of control government spending."
My friend was ripe to be picked off by the Romney camp. You had a discouraged 30 year old having trouble finding work and still living with his right-wing Dad. Pretty much right in Romney's wheelhouse.
I don't talk about politics too much with my friends. Most of them still live in the northeast, so any Republicans I do know are lamely supporting Romney, but ultimately just hoping adults take control of the Republican party again. But with this friend, as a Florida resident, I had to ask who he was voting for. He said Romney. He quoted the usual Fox News bullshit. "I just think Romney has a better plan for the economy."
So I said: "If I send you some information on everything you just said, would you have an open mind about it?"
Him: "Of course. It's just so hard to get good information anywhere. I don't even know what's true. I'm just discouraged overall."
So I went to work. I'm not too good at winning verbal arguments, but I'd like to think I can make a compelling case in writing. I sent him information about Obamacare, and how the individual mandate was necessary for it to function. I sent him detailed information on everything else Obamacare does. He was one of those people who liked everything provided by Obamacare, he was just conditioned to hate "Obamacare."
I sent him information on Obama's stimulus, and how it prevented a recession from becoming a depression. I sent him information on the Republican Congress and their efforts to block Obama from doing anything, including the deficit deal last year. I sent him information on Republican state legislatures and their laws that basically try and ban abortion through the back door.
I sent him information Romney's tax plan, and how it simply doesn't add up and doesn't make any sense. I sent him information on rising income inequality. I sent him information on how trickle-down economics doesn't ever fucking trickle-down. He's received enough 2.7% annual "raises" while his CEOs got fat bonuses to understand that. I sent him information on the history of tax rates in the US, and how Obama having the audacity to increase the income tax rate on the highest income earners by 4.9% was being considered "OUT OF CONTROL TAXES!", and how absurd that was.
I sent him information on the national debt, and how growth in federal spending from 2009-2012 has been the smallest its been since Eisenhower. I showed him how Clinton balanced the budget just by modest increases in federal spending as the government made more in tax receipts as unemployment went down.
For whatever reason, it was the last thing that really sold him. Things were good during the Clinton years. He wanted to go back to that. The Big Dog has never failed to be Obama's best surrogate, and he didn't fail now.
Then my friend said he wasn't free to vote on November 6, he had an all-day job interview scheduled. I told him about Florida and early voting. I sent him a link to all the polling places near him. Having gotten this far, I wasn't going to let up now.
My friend just called me now. He voted for Obama. He said he was proud, but in some ways he felt uncomfortable. He said he was going to tell his Dad he wasn't going to 'vote' at all.
I told him a vote for Obama doesn't mean you're a bleeding-heart liberal. It's an election. It's a choice. Parties and platforms change. There may be a day the Republican party more closely resembles the one we grew up with. But that's not going to happen if Mitt Romney is president.
It was a lot of work for one vote. But it feels good. And it felt really good to do the research and show that when you focus on the facts, Obama is just objectively the better candidate.