The curse of writing a column for Nov. 5 when Nov. 4 isn’t over means I have no election day results. In their place, I offer two final election thoughts:
• Not nearly enough attention was given this season to the Barack Obama campaign and its use of new communications tools to mobilize voters and donors.
According to the campaign, 3.2 individuals gave money to Obama this year, ranging from pocket change to the maximum allowed $2,300.
I know, he pulled out on his promise to accept public financing. But looking at how he broke fund-raising records with small donors, one can conclude his campaign was publicly financed — and without tax dollars.
I signed up for the Obama text message service to find out who he selected as a running mate, and would have certainly taken the option had McCain given me one. Over the next few months, I got a stream of messages telling me when and where to register, how I could donate and how I could volunteer my time to support Obama — and Monday night, I was asked to bring three friends to vote.
I did none of those things, but I imagined this tool in the hands of somebody who was active. And that’s not even mentioning the online social network my.barackobama.com, which put like-minded Obama supporters together and tracked funds raised, phone calls made and doors knocked.
And supporters (of Obama and others) were active broadcasting home-made ads and news reports. Any time a candidate said something, you could be sure an online user was scouring videos of the time the candidate said the opposite and editing them together for thousands to see on YouTube before the end of the day.
I’m not sure that 100 percent of the credit goes to Obama for this campaign, because it’s the first time the technology has existed for a campaign to harness. I’m looking forward to seeing what the next presidential campaigns, and grassroots supporters, do with technology I’m sure doesn’t exist yet.
• And, of course, there’s my favorite election season story, courtesy of the Curry County Republican party’s fair booth.
While passing some time, I stopped for a chat with House candidate Dennis Roch. We tried to avoid political discourse for the most part, because we had the next few months for that.
However, I couldn’t resist discussing the tip jars prominently displayed in the booth. The sign above said, “Put your money where your vote is,” with plastic jars for Obama and McCain.
I know Curry County has generally backed Republicans, but that didn’t explain why I estimated $40-50 for McCain and could see all six $1 bills in the Obama jar.
I figured out why after I asked Roch, “So, where does this money go?”
He chuckled and said, “Well, we take those two jars, we pour it into one jar and we give all of that money to the Republican party.”
Obama supporters funding Republicans? No matter how Nov. 4 turned out, Roch found change he could believe in.
Thanks for staying with me and Freedom New Mexico during this long, contentious election. Be sure to come back when we discuss matters we’ve been neglecting.
You know, like the 2010 election.
Kevin Wilson is a columnist for Freedom New Mexico. He can be contacted at 763-3431, ext. 313, or by e-mail: email@example.com