Jeannie and I pounded the pavement in small town Pennsylvania this weekend for the Obama campaign. I would use my brain for the election, but unfortunately the demand for African micro-development skills are, well, non-existent. As a two-handed economist, I also make a terrible partisan. So a canvassing I did go.
Long have I known I live in a bubble. Not only do I hardly know any Republicans, I barely know any Hillary supporters. Since moving to the U.S. I have lived in Cambridge, Berkeley, Washington, Manhattan, and now New Haven–the bastions of overeducated liberal elites. So, whenever I see a poll that says “69% of Americans believe X,” I think to myself, “where are these people?”
The answer: small town Pennsylvania.
My big discovery this weekend: lots of Americans really do believe Barack Obama is a Muslim.
My second big discovery: it’s not that hard to convince them otherwise. Especially when your wife is a preacher’s daughter, and a former Republican. Our street cred was solid.
Least expected moment: There are still restaurants that serve you burgers in your car, on rollerskates.
Most poignant moment: knocking on the doors of immigrants from Pakistan and India. When someone asks you how you plan to vote in their countries, it’s usually not a question. We made them visibly nervous.
The best moment: hitting a property that looked dodgy, braving the (restrained) pitbull, and finding two young, unregistered, first-time supporters–both lovely people. We just made the registration deadline.
Your take away message: Get out there. Canvas. Register. Vote. Even if it’s for the other guy.