There are no Obama signs at the polling places in Highlands County, Florida. The signs were not stolen, and there were plenty of volunteers to put them out. The Obama campaign consciously decided NOT to have Obama signage at the polling places.
In result, some loyal campaigners decided to do what they could to give Obama representation at the polling places. One of my customers pulled a battered sign from her car trunk, and donated her sons as human poster holders:
They represent the entire Obama visual campaign at one of the largest polling places in the county. There has been a conspicuous absence of Obama signage -- right up to today, I believed that was the choice of local voters. That is not the case, however:
Barack Obama's campaign made it clear to volunteers at the Democratic Headquarters that they do not support providing yard or polling place signage, or the practice of selling campaign gear as a fundraising activity.
The result of this policy is that in rural areas of critical swing states, there has been a distinct lack of access to campaign buttons, bumper stickers, t-shirts, hats -- just about anything that could have been purchased and worn to advertise personal support for Barack Obama. As a seasoned retailer, I see a fundraising opportunity missed, not to mention an opportunity to create enthusiasm for the candidate .
In large cities such as Orlando, Tampa and throughout South Florida, there have been no shortage of entrepreneurs willing to sell Obama paraphernalia for a profit. Their consumer base is much larger, therefore there is less risk with the initial investment. In spite of offers to drive anywhere in Florida to pick up more supplies, none were offered to this rural county with just under 67,000 voters, about 32,000 of which are Democrats.
My county (again in a critical swing state) has the latent potential to be "turned" to Obama. It would be a big task, but there have been snowbirds arriving early over the past two weeks to cast their votes. They believe that in Florida their single vote might just matter. Good for them -- smart Democratic registration is one way to combat the potential of another stolen election.
We have more registered Democrats in the county than Republicans, yet there is less than one Obama sign for every fifty McCain signs. Rural Obama supporters have been told that their focus need be placed on door knocking and phone calls, rather than on trinkets and signage. Obama's local campaign has carried out the directives to the letter. Obama gets an "A" for consistency as a guy who took a strong stand on refusing to wear a flag lapel pin as a "symbol" of patriotism.
Although the campaign seems to know exactly what they are doing, some people have been offended by their position on signage and Obama gear. Personally, I would have liked to have the car magnet for which I donated $15 that never arrived...I had big plans for driving my broker crazy by parking next to him every day with the sticker in plain view. Maybe not the best use of advertising, but I felt a little sad to be deprived of the opportunity to poke at his old Southern sensibilities. :)
Obama is likely to win, but the kids have allowed that prayer can never hurt the best efforts:
Bless their sweet little hearts, I hope they were not afraid among all the Republicans waving and shouting. I said my own little prayer for their safety as well as an Obama win. Maybe not coming out of this abandoned little bastion of Democrats among savage right-wing Republicans, but we can only hope for the best!
When left to making signage, sometimes mixed messages are sent out:
Go Obama! I Support Obama Gear for 2012!