Day 59: Formulating a personal pro-Biden campaign

Whether Joe Biden or Donald Trump wins will depend on which candidate’s voters are more self-motivated and organized.

The COVID epidemic has disrupted normal society. It has displaced millions of people who have moved or altered their living arrangements to be safe, to care for loved ones, or because they’re suddenly out of work or their workplaces are closed. The risk of illness has estranged Americans from one another, making ritual gatherings, including all those associated with politics, rare.

COVID-related conditions have blunted every normal, in-person aspect of political campaigning. The conventions were virtual, rallies are extinct, and stumping, whether by the two candidates or state-level surrogates, must be so highly orchestrated as to sap its momentum and energy. The face-to-face aspect of American politics has been declining for decades in favor of electioneering that is more impersonal, media-driven, and premised on masses of sociological data. COVID has pushed those trends to almost pointless extremes.

At the same time, many of us crave a politics that is more immediate, local, and personal. Only by restoring honest personal discourse will Americans forge a new political consensus, and will a new generation of leaders be empowered to govern in a more accountable, forward-looking, and effectual way.

The temporary lull in national “retail” politics invites each of us ordinary voters to fashion personally appropriate ways to further the Biden cause.

All over the US, small grass-roots efforts are coalescing to get out the vote for BIDEN, to help people vote successfully during the pandemic, and to persuade inactive, new, or disaffected voters to “86 45” and make Joe Biden POTUS 46. One of my family members, for example, is active in the newly formed We of Action Virginia. Many other such local volunteer groups are loosely organized under Indivisible. Check out this map on the Indivisible website to find a local pro-Biden group near you.

I hope you will join me in committing to elect Biden on November 3. Please check back for American Inquiry‘s election count-down posts devoted to these themes.

  • Making a personal plan to vote, whether in person or by mail.
  • Voting in a timely fashion.
  • Lending your talents and influence to the campaign.
  • Deploying swag.
  • Considering who voted for Trump, and why they might switch.
  • “Each one, reach one:” personal GOTV efforts are the surest kind.
  • Aspiring to turn a pink county blue.

American Inquiry will disseminate information and materials in support of Biden. More soon.

Image: from this source.

Running to see Taft

photo taken from the train during Taft's 1908 whistle-stop campaign.
It occurred to a photographer traveling with William Taft during the 1908 presidential campaign to take this picture of the people of De Witt, Nebraska, running to catch up with Taft’s slowing train.  Taft, a Republican and then vice-president, was running to succeed Theodore Roosevelt.  It was the hey-day of the whistle-stop campaign, which Roosevelt had taken to new extremes.  In an age when newspaper was the nation’s reigning mass media, seeing a leading politician in person was rare and precious.  In a small town, the visit of a future president generated universal excitement.

The image registers photography’s growing ability to capture the spontaneous action of everyday scenes.  Despite the movement of the crowd (and the train), the camera captures the running townspeople and the setting with remarkable clarity.  A woman in an enormous hat smiles while shielding her eyes from the sun; the flags’ stripes flap crisply over others as they run;  in the distance, a retreating train billows exhaust.  A decade earlier, such a photograph would likely have been an impossible blur.

Technical advances had widened the scope of photography, which in turn began comprehending more of the scene: not just frozen dignitaries but the living, breathing citizens they aspired to lead.

Image: from this source.