I have a weekend before Election Day ritual which I have practiced since my first real campaign in 1995. On the Saturday before Election Day I go to a supermarket and listen to people talk in line. Usually, after only 10 minutes or so, I will over hear a conversation about the upcoming election and it will tell me who is going to win.
The conversation is always casual because it’s not between hyper-political people like my friends and me. It’s between normal people who have lives and only think about politics when absolutely necessary—like right before a big election. This ritual has never failed me and has predicted both wins and losses for my party. So this past Saturday I went to a store in Fairfax County, VA, and within 2 minutes overheard no fewer than 5 conversations about tomorrow’s election. Four were for Obama and one was for Mccain. ‘Nice,’ I thought. We’re going to win.
Then I went to my gym and a woman I know who hates it whenever I discuss politics walked up to me and complained she has been trying to vote early in Arlington County for three days and the wait has been more than two hours each time.
When I went to lunch a four year old at the table next to me was watching CNN (no kidding), and pointed to the screen and said, “Look Daddy, there’s Barack Obama.” She didn’t say a word when McCain came on three seconds later.
Finally I opened up the Washington Post and front page above the fold was a story about volunteers in Chase City, VA, walking door to door for Obama. It noted that no one has ever even seen a campaign office there, not to mention so many volunteers.
So it is my very unofficial conclusion that Barack Obama will be our next president. I have certainly never seen anything like this is my political life. And America is forever changed for the better simply by believing in the process and choosing to participate. It is a proud day for our Democracy.
Liz Chadderdon is president of The Chadderdon Group, a Democratic direct mail firm.