My daughter Catherine and I have established a quadrennial family tradition in the years since she grew up and moved out of our house. We volunteer in the campaign of our favorite presidential candidate. There's not much point in doing this where we live, Maryland and the District of Columbia. They're both emphatically blue jurisdictions in presidential years. So we go to a nearby swing state, either Virginia or Pennsylvania. This year, Catherine arranged for us to volunteer in York, Pennsylvania. We drove up there Tuesday morning.
We were not alone. Dozens of out-of-state volunteers were converging on Democratic headquarters in York, which, with no apparent irony, was located on the first floor of a structure called the Rich Executive Building, just across from the county courthouse. We signed in , were issued clipboards and a packet, and then directed toward the room where we would get our instructions.
The instructions were already underway by the time we squeezed in, so I didn't get the name of the person explaining how to canvass and fill out the forms (see picture above). She was black and, judging by her dress and accent, a Muslim immigrant. That gave her four very good reasons to oppose Donald Trump. She told us that we would be the second wave of canvassers going through York in the morning; an earlier crew had already rung the doorbells in our assigned routes.
That suggested that reports about the thoroughness of the Democrats' ground game were not exaggerated. We were going to be the among the last of many canvassers in York. People in prior weeks had already knocked on doors, identifying likely Democratic voters. We were assigned to a neighborhood of row houses near the center of York. Our job was to remind people to go to the polls, to identify the ones who were on the list of likely Democratic voters who had not yet voted, and to offer help in getting to the polling place.
It turned out that we didn't do much of that. Predictably enough, no one answered the knock on most doors we tried. It was the middle of the day and people in this precinct were working. A few people told us, in either English and Spanish, that they'd be voting later. Some said they'd already voted and somehow, their names had not been checked off our list.At most houses, all we could do we leave a sticker on the door, reminding people it was Election Day.
It wasn't much. But if, God forbid, Donald Trump wins this election and unleashes his malignant ego on this country, we at least will be able to say that we made an effort to defeat him.