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Planning a Road Trip – 48 Days

20 September 2016

Hi.

I’m not really sure what to write about today.

My organiser is off at GOTV (Get Out the Vote) Training in some remote part of Virginia, so the house/office is quiet and has been all day.

The phone bank captains are getting the usual Tuesday evening effort going in the usual place.

I’m getting ready for a road trip.

I’ve hired a car from tomorrow until next Monday.

The plan has been to head out along the Eastern Shore of Maryland and Virginia and down to Virginia Beach. I’d like to visit Yorktown and have a look around the Hampton Roads area before hitting the greater Richmond area for the weekend.

The idea is to sign up for volunteering opportunities along the way – same as here: phone banking, door-knocking, and voter registration – so as to get a feel for the more traditionally Virginian parts of Virginia.

However, now it looks like I might have cause to go to Nashville (if it comes to pass I’ll explain why later) – if I do that I’ll take the same sort of journey (volunteering as I go) but in a big loop through Maryland, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Kentucky, Tennessee, North Carolina and Virginia. Or maybe just Maryland, West Virginia, Kentucky, Tennessee, North Carolina, and Virginia.

Pennsylvania and Ohio are critical states in any US national election; no Republican has ever won the presidency without winning Ohio. This year North Carolina is in play as well – it has been reliably Republican but it seems the purple is bleeding south from Virginia.

Whatever route I take it is sure to be interesting and dangerously expensive. To be honest, everything feels expensive right now. I have written three articles for pay since beginning this journey – and I have been paid for two of them so far. Which is good. However, I have a rising sense of anticipated anxiety that I will arrive home with the last of my funds circling the drain and I will be in need of finding paid work quickly. I’m sure I’ll find something and it will all be okay. For now, I’m glad the grocery store is closer to the house than nearly any tempting restaurants, but I’m worried about this road trip.

In lieu of having a whole lot to say myself today I’ll maybe just riff a bit about something I read today – this piece about millennials being “mild” about Hillary.

There’s a lot talk about a lack of excitement for Hillary, in general, not just amongst millennials.

On the one hand I think there’s probably a good bit of stifled excitement – after taking crap from the Bernie people and now taking crap from the Trump people – look I’m really not interested in anyone’s opinion of her emails or if you think she’s an awful human being, I’m really, really not. Wearing a Hillary badge invites dickheads to share their opinions.

On the other hand, I also sort of question the need for the kind of mad adulating excitement that surrounded Bernie or surrounded Obama in 2008. I think there’s a bit of a symbiotic relationship between that sort of excitement and campaigns implying they will weave magic in office.

I understand in a voluntary voting system having excited citizens increases turn out to vote but still – excitement: is it a necessary component of a successful campaign?

I’m trying to imagine if Australian governments would be better if our elections weren’t nearly devoid of genuine excitement. I honestly don’t think they would be. I think of the players I like best – Penny Wong and Tanya Pilbersek, say – and I can’t really imagine them giving rousing speeches to excited masses, in the American way, but I sure do like both of them a lot and think they are good at their jobs.

Also, Hillary Clinton, by her own admission, doesn’t do rousing campaign rhetoric well. It’s not in her wheelhouse. Steady meticulous competency is. Knowing how to get shit done, is. So maybe it makes sense that her supporters are also steady and solid, with nothing too flash, in their support.

I don’t know. I guess I’ll see in this coming week what excitement I can find in other fields of this campaign.

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