In the end, it was a perfectly fine Election Day. I was assigned to the same precinct I worked in August, with most of the same crew, plus extra help because November. And it went fine. Great weather. Turnout was 3x what we had in the summer, but it was never more than a couple-minute wait for anyone.
The surrounding area is pretty poor. I don’t have data, but the view out the front door of the church where we were set up was of a large commercial building, formerly an activities center, now blighted and boarded. Turn your head a quarter-turn to the left, and there’s a vacant block with one little blighted house on the prairie. It’s a block or three from where I took the French journalists in 2008, when they asked to see the houses they’d read about in the European press, the ones you could buy for a dollar. The voters were almost entirely African-American, many elderly. Which is to say, not a representative demographic of anything other than their precinct.
I looked at the totals tape when we printed them out at closing. No surprises whatsoever. But as the sun rises, however, it may well be that the fate of the nation lies in the absentee ballots now being counted in the basement of the TCF Center downtown. Which gives it maybe a little more drama. Kate, who also worked the election, was crestfallen as the results began to come in. “I hate Trump,” she said. “And I hate Democrats. They’re useless.” I couldn’t really respond to that, as it appears she is right. I imagine we’ll be analyzing this election for years, but my takeaway is pretty clear: There are far, far more racists, bigots and self-interested assholes in this country than I ever dreamed. And Democrats may well be useless. All the money spent, all the polling, all the door-knocking and leafleting and phone calls, and it comes down to this. Not many bright spots.
So let’s let today be a thread devoted to nail-biting, and Monday-morning-quarterbacking, and mourning, and further discussion. Because I have a little work to do today, and then will turn to all of the above.