This means that each party needs to make sure that every supporter has a clear voting plan if they have not already mailed-in their ballots. The campaigns have to be certain that they have as many people possible canvassing voters and working the phone banks. They need to be certain that they are recruiting as many people as possible, especially younger ones, who are less susceptible to the worst effects of Covid-19, to staff the polling places on Election Day to make sure that the process is as orderly and speedy as possible.
The victorious candidate will be the one whose party is able to use social media as a site for promoting their agenda rather than taking selfies and filming silly dances. The winner will be the party whose supporters do the important work of spreading the word through work, family and friendship networks about what is at stake on November 3 and making the case that their candidate is the only viable option for the nation as it tries to move out of this grave crisis. Each party needs to do the better job selling the message that not voting is simply not an option.
The victor will be the party that does the best job making sure that on Election Day every citizen who has not voted makes that trip to their polling place and feels that they can do so safely. This is the grunt work that turns elections.
We live in a passive, observational age where so much of our politics has turned into what we watch, hear, read, email and tweet. The news media — from cable television to Twitter — provides a permanent platform where one can spend their time absorbed in politics without ever leaving their home.
Winning elections, however, requires taking action. The old-fashioned stuff of politics still matters more than anything else. The battle from now through November 3 revolves around getting people to cast their vote. Although there are troubling questions about what might happen after election day — such as potential legal challenges in close states — right now the focus needs to be on turning out that vote.
The party that can turn the sense of urgency so many Americans feel into actual votes will win the White House and Congress. The party that forgets to pay sufficient attention to the ground game is the one that will be rendered powerless come January 2021.