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Thursday, September 11, 2008

Al Giordano: "Forget 'messaging.' It's the ground game, stupid."

The 2008 presidential election is about registering those voters mentioned above, and getting them out to vote. Period. End of story. Little else matters.

So pay no mind to the armchair generals that try to get you riled up over their (mostly terribly errant) obsessions regarding "messaging" matters (the "What Obama Must Do" crowd), few of whom have any real experience managing, much less winning campaigns of any magnitude at all. To them who hold themselves up and out there as "experts" on campaign strategy and tactics, I'll borrow a line that Beckel applied to politics a quarter-century ago: "Where's the beef?"

The beef is in the ground game. And the rank-and-file volunteer making phone calls and going door to door is a hundred times more important this year than any fool shouting "'hit them' is a strategy" from the bleachers. Register someone to vote: that's the square hit to the jaw, and multiplied by millions, it's the knock out punch. This year, the boxing gloves are not in one man's hands. They're in yours.
The analysis of demographic trends from Bob Beckel Al links to is also generally uplifting for Obamaniacs—if, self-admittedly, a bit morbid:
Demographics also favor the Democrats big time in 2008. It is generally conceded that Obama will win the youth vote by a healthy margin, and if primaries are indicators of fall turnout (historically they are) the youth vote will increase substantially over 2004. Millions of new voters have reached 18 since 2004. Some examples according to the US Census Bureau:
• In Ohio (which John Kerry lost by only 120,000 votes in 2004), 750,000 eligible voters between 18 and 22 who could not vote in 2004 can vote in 2008.

• In Colorado (Kerry lost by 99,000) 293,000 between 18 and 22 have become eligible to vote in 2008.

• In New Mexico (Kerry lost by 6000 votes) 145,000 kids have reached voting age.

• In Michigan 690,000 have become eligible.

• In Virginia 465,000 (Kerry lost by 260,000).

• In Florida alone over 1 million young people have reached voting age since 2004.
Then there are black voters. According to the Census Bureau there are 24 million eligible black voters in America of which 16 million (64%) are registered. In 2004 blacks cast 14 million votes or only 56% of the eligible black population. Blacks are registering to vote at historic rates in 2008 and turnout will soar above 2004 levels. Some examples:
• In Colorado there are 110000 eligible black voters. Only 50,000 voted in 2004.

• In Ohio there are 860,000 eligible black voters. Only 380,000 voted in 2004. (Remember Kerry lost by only 120,000 votes).

• In Virginia, 945,000 eligible black voters, 465,000 voted in 2004.

• Florida; 1,750,000 eligible blacks, 770,000 voted in 2004.
Not to get morbid but there is another statistic that is working against the Republicans. The Center for Disease Control estimates there have been, on average, 2.5 million deaths in America each year since 2005, the overwhelming number of whom were 65 years and older. Since it is generally conceded that John McCain will win the over 65 vote the actuarial tables present a problem. But you say millions have turned 65 since 2004. Correct, but among the people who were 61-64 in 2004 the vote split evenly between Kerry and Bush.