I'm in Philadelphia campaigning for Senate candidate Joe Sestak and the Democratic contender for Sestak's old Congressional seat, Bryan Lentz.
It's clear that this year Pennsylvania is playing the role of the crucial swing state that was played by Ohio in 2004 and Florida in 2000. Yesterday, Vice-President Biden stumped here. Today, I'm competing with Bill Clinton, and tomorrow President Obama himself is expected. In response the GOP and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce are dumping another $2 million into this state, trying to see if they can buy a narrow win.
Of all the candidates in this year's election, Sestak, who's a former navy admiral, makes probably the best national-security case for a clean-energy economy that would free us from oil. But Bryan Lentz is also a decorated veteran, with a 100 percent environmental voting record in his seat in the Pennsylvania legislature.
Meeting with students at Temple University, though, it's clear to me that the economic case for clean energy is at the top of their minds -- the questions from the students focus heavily on the job opportunities that can be created by getting off oil and coal.
Yesterday, political analyst Nate Silver tweeted that if the Democrats want to hold the House, they need to outperform the polls by two percent -- exactly the kind of range that campaign experts think that a good get-out-the-vote effort can yield. It's in places like this that the effectiveness of canvassing, phone calls, and literature drops can make that difference.
So it really will come down to how many people over the next five days find a way to let others in their community know: "Hey, your vote counts, and it matters to me that you be heard. I've voted. I'm calling you (or knocking on your door, or emailing you, or leaving a door hanger on your knob) because I want you to join me."
It's been heartening to meet the volunteers here who are making hundreds of phone calls, night after night -- and to get an email from another Sierra Club supporter who, by working with President Obama's Organizing for America, has made 600 calls and gotten over 300 of his neighbors to commit to go to the polls!
After all, every poll of the entire electorate -- all the registered voters -- shows that Americans don't want to go back to the Bush-Gingrich years. But they just might -- if we don't pour it on during the next four days.
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