In 2000, our consulting firm helped put together a field operation in the South Florida Congressional race for a wonderful Democratic woman named Elaine Bloom.
We organized a terrific program -- great voter identification -- great get-out-the-vote. But in the end, Bloom lost by about 550 votes. They were the same 550 votes that cost Al Gore the presidency of the United States.
In the end it didn't matter that we had done a great job. What mattered was that if we had gotten just one more vote per precinct in the last half hour of that Election Day in 2000, Elaine Bloom would have gone to Congress -- and George W. Bush would never have been president.
As you consider whether you should take the day off to knock on doors to re-elect Barack Obama -- or whether after you have worked your heart out all day you will go out in the last 10 minutes before the polls close to get that one last voter -- remember what happened because we fell 550 votes short in Florida in 2000.
If Elaine Bloom and Al Gore had won those 550 additional votes:
- There would never have been a war in Iraq. That would have saved the lives of5,000 Americans, and hundreds of thousands of Iraqis. It would have saved tens of thousands of Americans from being injured and maimed. It would have saved trillions of our dollars that could have been invested in building schools and roads and creating jobs. Our enemies would never have been able to create recruiting posters featuring the shame of Abu Ghraib or an Administration that embraced torture.
- There would never have been the Bush tax cuts for the wealthy that channeled trillions into the hands of the wealthiest 1 percent and -- together with the wars -- wiped out the surplus left by Bill Clinton and created the worst federal deficit in American history.
- There would never have been the Bush trickle-down economic policies that created zero net private sector jobs -- the worst record of jobs growth in 60 years.
- Bush would never have had the opportunity to preside over Wall Street's recklessness that sunk the American economy and created the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression.
- Bush would never have been able to cut off all U.S. funding for family planning organizations around the world that use their own money to pay for abortions.
So might the votes that are cast -- or not cast -- Tuesday.
The bottom line is simple. Your vote could be the vote that determines whether we have another war in Iraq -- or go back to the trickle-down policies that benefit only the wealthiest few and do nothing to create jobs.
You owe it to your kids. You owe it to your friends. You owe it to yourself.
Before the day is out, make sure you have cast your vote. If necessary, stand in line. Stay in line.
Make sure your wife or husband or adult kids vote. Make sure your mother and mother-in-law vote. Make sure the people you work with, or go to school with, vote. Make sure that everyone you know goes to the poll and votes.
Don't let Tuesday pass and look back and say: It was so close, I wish I had taken the time to vote; I wish I had volunteered to get that last handful of votes that would have changed history. It's happened before -- not long ago. Don't let it happen again.
Robert Creamer is a long-time political organizer and strategist, and author of the book: Stand Up Straight: How Progressives Can Win, available on Amazon.com. He is a partner in Democracy Partners and a Senior Strategist for Americans United for Change. Follow him on Twitter @rbcreamer.