The Democrats, if they have any brains, ought to have a few action items today beyond GOTV if they expect to win. Because simply, it all comes down to their ability to keep people in line to vote despite all the inevitable challenges and delays we can all expect to happen.
On the ground, invest some of that GOTV money into handing out water bottles and umbrellas in all the major, democrat-heavy voting districts. They should know by now where it’s going to rain, and that there will be near-interminable lines everywhere.
On the local media level, send Jesse Jackson to Broward County and Bill Clinton to Philadelphia or Detroit, not for rallies but to give people a pep talk about how imperative it is that they stay and finish the job. Get them covered on the local news posing the following question to groups of voters: “Which would you rather give up: four hours or four years?”
On the national stage, send John Kerry out in the early afternoon to talk about the super-long lines at polling places. Have him offer a few platitudes about how great it is that so many Americans are taking part in this nation’s most sacred process and making their voices heard. Then have him issue a direct call to President Bush to join him in declaring that polling places should stay open “for as long as it takes” to allow every eligible voter to vote.
It doesn’t matter that neither candidate has the power to make it happen. News organizations will juxtapose Kerry’s statement with pictures of lines of voters wrapping around blocks. If Bush joins Kerry in his call, then he will be burned badly by 1) high turnout and 2) any Republicans court action (like in 2000 in St. Louis) to close the polling stations. If Bush refuses to join Kerry, or offers some excuse about local jurisdiction, then he’ll look like he doesn’t want those people to have a chance to vote.
Damned if you do, damned if you don’t. It’s all about positioning.