On the road in OhioNovember 4, 2016
Blood Dirt & Angels’ roving correspondents, retired newspaper editors Jack and Marcia Schnedler, are back on the campaign trail in Ohio — infused this time with a whiff of anxiety. Here is a report by Jack from Toledo, sent on Friday.
Four years ago, we drove nearly 900 miles from Little Rock to Dayton, Ohio, to knock on a bunch of doors and do our bit for Barack Obama’s decisive re-election. It was exhausting work, but also a real pleasure. The victory, and our tiny role in it, was sweet.
Now, after another long drive and three days of canvassing for Hillary Clinton in Toledo, we’re in a fretful frame of mind — hopeful but also worried. Her lead nationally over Donald Trump has shrunk, and polls show the Republican ahead by a bit in battleground Ohio.
The notion of a Trump presidency sends shudders of revulsion and fear up our spines. So volunteering in a competitive state is about the best we can do to help ward off such a catastrophe — Arkansas being hopelessly in the clutches of GOP right-wingers.
As for Clinton, whatever her faults may be, we believe she has the experience and temperament (and human decency) to be a president any fair-minded American can respect. We think much of the antipathy toward her is rooted in the fact that she is a woman seeking what always has been a man’s job.
Marcia and I are working out of a storefront next to a Little Caesar’s pizzeria and a few doors down from a psychiatric clinic — no jokes, please, about the latter’s proximity. Our Clinton staffer, a young woman from Florida named Jennifer, has dispatched us to several racially mixed neighborhoods. We’ve knocked on more than 100 doors, working from a list that previous canvassers had identified as Clinton-inclined voters.
Our mission was to ask if they were indeed Clinton supporters, and whether they had already voted early. If not, we urged them to do so before next Tuesday, then gave them a card printed with the early-voting location and other details.
The point of this mild cajoling, as Jennifer explained, is to maximize the chance that Clinton voters will actually go to the polls. Of those at home on these workdays, more than half had already voted — for Clinton, they assured us. Only one person said she still hadn’t decided. She got my sales pitch — more anti-Trump than a rave for the Democratic candidate.
Our base is one of three Clinton volunteer headquarters in Toledo. Jennifer said the Trump campaign has an office in downtown Toledo. But she and her colleagues have not come across any volunteers knocking on doors for the Republican. With luck, the superior Clinton ground game will bring her a win in Ohio, even if a narrow one.
We got a morale boost at our office on Thursday with a rousing appearance by Cory Booker, the U.S. senator from New Jersey, who is campaigning for Clinton. He is a dynamic speaker who might well be a front-runner for the Democratic presidential nomination in 2020 or 2024.
Marcia and I will be going door to door every day until the election. In urging other folks to vote for our candidate, we admit to being hypocrites of a sort. That’s because we hate to be pestered in person (or on the phone) by political campaigners. But defeating Trump is a job well worth a dash of hypocrisy.