There are lots of theories about why Joe Biden beat Donald Trump.
That Trump had offended lots of people. That Trump had alienated Americans of color. That female voters hated him.
But the reality is that Trump dramatically increased his vote total over 2016 — including with minorities and Republican women. The reality is that the Republican President received the second-highest share of the popular vote in American presidential history.
But it wasn’t enough. He lost.
Because the reality is also this: Joe Biden won an even bigger share of the popular vote. And that happened — his win happened — because of organization.
Full disclosure: This writer worked as an unpaid volunteer for Joe Biden and the Democrats for many months. I’ve helped the Democrats for years, and was to be an accredited volunteer at their August leadership convention in Milwaukee.
But the coronavirus had other plans. With the border closed, I couldn’t cross the border to knock on doors and get out the vote for Biden.
So, I and many others worked the phones. Night after night, day after day, we ran phone banks, calling millions of American voters. And our objective was always the same: Encourage them to use absentee ballots. Encourage them to vote early. Encourage them to mail in their ballot.
Over and over, we’d tell voters how to use the so-called absentee ballots: Get them from the town clerk. Put an X on the ballot. Put it in the small envelope, seal it. Sign it — with your real signature. Put the small envelope in the big one. Then take the sealed big envelope back to the town clerk — and don’t trust the postal system!
I made hundreds of such calls to Americans from New Hampshire to Florida to California. And, over and over, I was amazed by how enthusiastically voters — particularly Democratic voters – were embracing early voting.
We would’ve preferred a landslide election-night win, of course.
But months ago, Biden campaign manager Jen O’Malley-Dillon told us on a conference call three things: One, the polls were wrong, the race was going to be tight. Two, our voters were much more concerned than GOP supporters about the coronavirus. They were more concerned about possible vote suppression dirty tricks, too. And, three, we weren’t going to win big landslide on election night. Instead, O’Malley-Dillon told us, we’d have to fight a long, hard organizational war to identify our voters early — and then get them to vote early.
So we did that. And the Republicans just didn’t.
The other guys had big rallies, sure. But those rallies are always just preaching to the converted — particularly when the TV networks aren’t televising them.
Trump needed to grow his vote base. He needed to reach out to first-time voters. But he didn’t do that.
Joe Biden did. The Democrats did.
The media, and the Republicans, didn’t pay attention to what we Democrats were doing. I will never understand why. When around 100 million Americans are voting in advance, isn’t that newsworthy? When that many voters are motivated enough to vote in that way, isn’t that something that should deeply worry the incumbent?
Joe Biden won because he was a specific antidote to Donald Trump — he was decent, he was human, he was less partisan, he was experienced.
But mostly, we won because our voters were more motivated, and because our disciplined army of staff and volunteers were one thing the Trump Republicans simply weren’t:
[Kinsella worked as a volunteer for Joe Biden and the Democrats in several US states]