For the first time in 44 years, the state of Indiana voted for a Democrat for President. While we know about the massive coordinated Obama campaign volunteer effort, it is essential to mention the strong and active Republicans for Obama movement in Indiana. These RFOs, as they're called [full disclosure: I'm one of them], received local, national and international attention, including the New York Times, XM Radio, coverage in Brazil and the 100 million Japan Broadcasting Station viewers worldwide.
These RFOs were supported by the Obama campaign, and, through meetings, emails, telephone calls, blogs, and one-on-one discussions, created an impressive impact in Indiana.Indianapolis NBC affiliate, WTHR, writes:
"Obama got some help from Republicans in his Indiana win. More than a third of Indiana voters said they consider themselves Republicans, and a strong majority of them voted for McCain. But the percentage of self-described Republican voters supporting McCain was smaller than the number who voted for President Bush in 2004."
I live in Hamilton County, known to be the most Republican county in Indiana, and one of the richest counties in the United States. At the polls, there were over a dozen positions with no Democratic candidate even on the ballot. On Election Day, Hamilton County voted almost straight Republican. In fact, Barack Obama lost Hamilton County. But that does not mean Hamilton County did not play a major role in Obama winning Indiana.
According to the official election statistics:
129,256 people voted in Hamilton County on Election Day.
38.44%, or 49,691, voted for Obama.
In 2004, Hamilton County gave Kerry only 25.2% of the vote.
So, the difference between what Kerry and Obama received is 13.24%, or an extra 17,113 Hamilton County votes went to Obama compared to the Kerry vote percentage.
Obama won Indiana by 22,986 votes.
That means about 75% of the reason for Obama winning Indiana was from Hamilton County voters.
In September, WTHR covered one of our Republicans for Obama meetings. They interviewed me, then went to an exclusive golf course clubhouse to interview the Hamilton County Republican Party Chairman, Charlie White. The following quotes are prescient of the change that was coming:
"Anyone alleged Republican who is for Obama, is either not a Republican, but they are into more form than substance," says White, said: "If you can fit 'em in a couple of mini-vans, its not a movement."
But Republicans for Obama say the GOP supporters may be surprised come November 4th, "it's going to be a lot more than a mini-van," says Lasker.
Even if only 10% of the 17,000 voters in Hamilton County who helped tip the scales towards Obama were Republican, I would conclude that 1,700 people would have a difficult time fitting into a couple of even the largest Hamilton County soccer mom's mini-vans.
The lesson learned is simple. One man joining together with others for a cause can create a ripple, that makes a change, that tips a state, that tips an election, and changes the world. As President-Elect Obama said in his acceptance speech, "And where we are met with cynicism and doubts and those who tell us that we can't, we will respond with that timeless creed that sums up the spirit of a people: Yes, we can."