Campaigning under COVID

I wanted to share some thoughts and reflections on this election cycle. The novel Corona virus (COVID19) has upended everyone’s life to one degree or another. This includes how we (political activists) have had to adapt to limitations and demands of campaigning in the age of COVID19.

One of my favorite activities is canvassing on behalf of local candidates for office. There is a certain amount of anticipation and uncertainty when you knock on the door of a stranger. The conversations range from terse and unfriendly, to inspiring and life-affirming. Quite the gamut.

Locally, the Placer County Democratic Central Committee has been very active and has done more than in any other contest during my tenure on the Central Committee. We have recruited an excellent field of candidates for various offices in Placer County (and slightly beyond). Despite tremendous challenges, we were able to raise the funds needed to pay for resources that allowed us to tell the voters about the wonderful candidates we recruited. In past years, we were lucky to reach 15,000 voters. This year, even under the restrictions of COVID, we have made about 90,000 “touches” to Democrats and No Party Preference voters.

I’m writing this on the afternoon of Monday, November 2, 2020. The day before the election. The polls indicate that this will be a close race with most polls giving Joe Biden a lead in the popular vote and a lead in the Electoral College. However, the possibility of Donald Trump winning a second term is a very real and distinct possibility. So, naturally, I am a bit anxious.

I always ask “Have I done enough?” The answer always comes back “No.” There will always be activities that you passed up because you wanted to spend a few precious moments with your spouse or family. After all, they put up with a lot: Countless, sometimes endless, Zoom meetings; a sick obsession with politics; and a slavish dedication to your newsfeed. So skipping an occasional meeting or phone bank to have lunch or dinner with your spouse, or to sing Happy Birthday over Zoom to a child or grandchild, or just sitting alongside your life-partner watching the news together for a few minutes is something that has to happen once in a while. Just not too often!

In a few days, or weeks, we will know the results of the elections in Placer County, including the final vote total in the race for President. Regardless of the outcome, the work continues. We will still have people struggling to find a place to live. We will still have children in our communities who go to sleep hungry. We will still have people ostracized for the color of their skin or where they choose to worship. There will always more to do.

Let’s just hope we’re doing it under a President who cheers everyone on, rather than one who ridicules many of those most in need.

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