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December 4, 2008 @ 0:09 UTC

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Barack Obama
Activism & Protest

Oh, look.  It’s election night again.  Brilliant.  Cold turkey maybe the norm in the days after Thanksgiving, but there’s no way I can go cold turkey over elections.  My resolve for sleep and normal UK hours may be about to weaken.  Run-offs may not be the best way of deciding elections where no one gained over 50% of the vote - my preferred method is Instant Run-Off Voting  (aka the Alternative Vote) - but this way the fun for us politicos (if not the voters) gets carried on for another month.  And that brings us through to tonight.

Lousiana has a couple of congressional races that will be decided, but the main meal is being served down in Georgia, with a Senate seat up for grabs.  Republican Saxby Chambliss narrowly missed hitting the 50% mark last time around, and a win for him today - in a straight head-to-head with Jim Martin - would mean the Democrats would definitely not get to 60 seats and have a filibuster-proof majority in the Senate.  So important stuff.

538 have again been on the ground, charting the election campaign and giving us a inside account - from the “boiler room“.  What I find most fascinating is the way so many Obama organisers, field office workers and others have made the journey to Georgia over the past few weeks (some within days of Obama’s victory) to take part in the campaign.  Partly that is because of the significance of the race.  But there’s something deeper, more emotional. Something I can empathise with, even these thousands of miles away. As Sean so movingly puts it:

“At the human level, there is almost a wistful, gravitational pull for many of these organizers in returning to a race. To work on the Obama campaign, these folks had to disconnect from their previous lives. Friendships, relationships, and other plans all took a backseat to the single-minded mission to elect Barack Obama. Plugging back into the world, especially when job plans for most of these twenty-somethings are uncertain, is a difficult task. While the pride is evident, conversations with many of these organizers reveals a strange sense of feeling lost, untethered from an all-consuming routine. So when organizers hear other organizers are coming to Georgia, it’s a form of therapeutic reunion for many, much like a reunion of military veterans. Unless you’ve been through it, it’s hard to explain.”


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