Embedded with the Dems: Day 1
Written by Bwog Staff
Bwog editor Lydia DePillis hitched a ride with the Columbia Democrats this weekend on their annual fall campaign trip. Over the next few days, she’ll be filing dispatches from the trail, wireless permitting.
LEXINGTON, Ky.–I’m not sure why I woke up at 5:40 AM this morning, evidently without my alarm.
I catapulted out of bed, swearing loudly, glad that my roommate wasn’t there to be rudely rousted from slumber. I was late for a road trip to help oust a governor.
Still cursing, I threw my electronic implements and their assorted chargers in my half-packed bags and shuffled over to College Walk, where four vans sat idling, full of 43 Democrats munching bagels. They had gathered to spend their election day weekend as Columbia’s historical mandarins had intended: pleading with apathetic Americans to vote Democrat.
I doubt that those who switched fall break from Columbus Day to early November considered political off years. There are almost no competitive elections around the country, and the one the Dems picked—the Kentucky gubernatorial race—is as uncompetitive as they come when both candidates have a pulse. Ernie Fletcher, the state’s first Republican governor in 30 years, has been charged with conspiracy, official misconduct, and political discrimination for one of the most blatant patronage schemes since the heyday of machine politics. His Democratic opponent, Steve Beshear, could be your grandma’s fruitcake and still lead the polls by 23 points.
But a campaign without the specter of defeat—like last year’s trip to Ohio for Sherrod Brown, or the massive mobilization for election 2004—can still be exciting. Kentucky isn’t solidly in either column for 2008, and the Columbia squadron will be shoring up support for whatever Democratic candidate ends up coming through with the nomination. Meanwhile, it’s a free trip to Kentucky—the Beshear campaign is paying for lodging in Lexington, the student councils and governing boards kicked in a few grand for transport, and the Dems covered the rest with their ample and undisclosed (if this year reduced) club allocation.
Over the next four days, I’ll be tagging along with the young activists as they canvass the state for undecideds. Having never been south of the Mason-Dixon line before–besides Washington, DC, which doesn’t really count–I have pretty much no idea what to expect. Fast horses? Abe Lincoln? Waffles and chicken? Stay tuned!