By Smita Prakash Washington DC, Nov. 4 : With just four days left for the most exhausting election in the United States, panic is growing in both political parties over swing voters.
"You get out of bed and vote," Republican party presidential candidate Donald Trump said yesterday. He isn't leaving anything to chance. Till the FBI bombshell on Hillary's emails on ex-Congressman Anthony Weiner's computer dropped, Clinton was surging ahead.
Not so now. She needs every supporter out there to get out and vote for her. Polling data has shown that the margin of victory is too slim for either candidate to rest easy during the next four days.
Millions of volunteers have been pressed into service to tap every reluctant voter. The task is well laid out: to ask, cajole, even drive registered voters to head to the polling center and cast his/her precious vote.
Today is the last date for early voting in the District of Columbia. Nearly 19 million voters would have cast their votes ahead of the main polling day on November 8. In 2012, as many as 46 million Americans had cast their votes in early polling. Election day falls in the middle of the week and it is not a holiday. The lines can be long and if you are not an undecided voter it makes little sense to wait for the last day to cast your vote.
The latest polls show Hillary has an edge but her supporters are not leaving anything to chance. In Florida, the two are in an absolute tie. Supporters of Hillary and Trump are knocking on doors, working the telephone lines, speaking in person to voters to just-go-vote.
Both parties have extensive data of voting pattern of citizens and based on that the calls are made and persuasions done.
Christopher Healey, a resident of the District of Columbia, says of the campaign, "This election cycle has been particularly off putting due to campaign volunteers for one candidate already assuming my vote is with their candidate.
Because I am one thing or another then I must vote for their candidate." Dan Pfeiffer, former senior advisor to President Barack Obama, speaking about the 2008 campaign said, "We knew if they had voted in primaries how likely they were to vote for our candidate.
All data is good but you have to have volunteers to ask people to vote. In 2008, we had about a million volunteers." Pfeiffer ran the communications office for the Obama-Biden transition team.
Another communication expert Kevin Madden, who in the 2008 election cycle served as National Press Secretary and Senior Communications Strategist for Governor Mitt Romney's presidential campaign, said Romney didn't have intensity in his volunteers to get people to vote.
"Intensity and momentum is on Trump's side," he said. The highly negative campaigns run by both candidates have put off reluctant voters. Trump said yesterday, "She has spent 500 million dollars on advertisements. The best thing I have going for me is my temperament". And he said that with a straight face. Hillary's team has upped the ante in the last week of campaign highlighting Trump's misogynistic statements.
One ad has Trump saying, "Putting a wife to work is a very dangerous thing." Christopher Healey who I spoke to about pesky political volunteers remarks had this to say, "the rhetoric from both campaigns have really turned off some voters who would rather not vote than cast a ballot for either candidate who's outrageious behaviour may have solidfied the fringe vote of his party.
It has done so at the cost of alienating the more centrist voter in this election. Then you have another candidate that has been so mired in political scandal over the years of public service that it diminishes any legitimacy of their holding higher office.
And both campaigns attack each other with such venom that voters are divided on which of these candidate are the less of two evils." This disgust with the campaign process that Christopher spoke off is what is terrifying the volunteers.
If people are too disgusted to vote then all bets are off. Some volunteers are even going to drive people to vote. In this country, it's perfectly legal for political party volunteers to pick up senior citizens or people with disabilities from their homes to drive them to get to polling stations.
This will be significant in swing states of Ohio and Florida. Winning in these states is so crucial that yesterday President Obama was actually reading out polling station lists.
It has become that nitty-gritty now. A massive sprint as the date nears. Hillary Clinton in a bright pink pantsuit yesterday said she was ready to take the baton from President Obama.
She sounded very very upbeat. Not so her volunteers. They are nervous. Every vote counts. Their voters have to get to the polling stations and pick the candidate..