Monday, November 06, 2006

Election Eve

This is always my favorite day (and evening) of any campaign that feels right — as in, you know you're going to win, or rather, your side, your team, your candidate you've just spent fourteen grueling months working for (for chump change, too, but that's another story ;-) is going to win.

If you're psychic like me, you can feel the mood of the voters. It's palpable, like the oppressively thick heat before a thunderstorm, a coiled, explosive calm. I remember once I knocked off phone calling early on election day, because it was obvious (to me) our guy was going to win (Harkin, i.e., this was 1974, and I was calling on Nick Needles phone somewhere in Warren County, Iowa). When I got back to Ames, John Fitzpatrick, Harkin's campaign manager exploded and threatened to strangle himself if Harkin lost. I was stunned. I think I told him to relax. "Tom's got it won," said I, "Can't you tell?"

On Election Eve, truth to tell, there's precious little for the pros to do. You keep the candidate on the phone, or travelling from rally to rally to rally, but for the most part you just walk around your campaign headquarters in dumbstruck amazement — the place is full of high school kids and college professors sitting on folding chairs at folding tables full of Watts line phones (that dates me, doesn't it ;-) All volunteers, all Democrats (in my case), all citizens who were barely visible a month ago. Where did they come from? This night, the levers of power are in the capable hands of Americans.

Time to sit down in a corner on a box full of slate cards, pop a Coke, space a bit, and smile. Election Day is what it's about, but that's tomorrow. Listen to the buzz.


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