This year I canvassed in MI before the primary and in NC last week. I don’t like canvassing, it’s boring and tiring, but you do meet some interesting people and see things you would not otherwise see. A few observations.
Many people seem to be *deeply* isolated. One woman said she could not open the door. I wasn’t sure if she was disabled or scared. A lot of people do not have doorbells, or their doorbells are broken. That shocked and saddened me. It sure didn’t seem like they have lots of friends coming over and people just bang on the door to get in.
In many places you could see McMansions and some pretty grim houses and apartments a few blocks apart.
I met a fair number of black voters who were either Trump curious or so angry at the political system they were not going to vote. Mostly men, but a few women too. The anger some voters expressed was shocking in its intensity.
I met a young man, black, recently released from prison. He wanted to vote but thought it was illegal for an ex-felon. I explained to him that a court recently ruled that ex-felons can vote in NC. We talked for quite a while – he really wanted to vote – but he had seen film clips from Florida of ex-felons being arrested for voting, and he quite understandably didn’t want to go back to prison. He called his parole officer, who turned out not to know if he could vote (wtf – ed). I offered to take him down to the Board of Elections, which was right next to the library where he could have registered and early voted, but he decided to wait and talk to his parole officer the next day. If he did finally vote, my guess is he voted Republican, but he spoke obliquely about this. A white ex-felon believed me when I told him he could vote.
Rationally, I know that most voters know very little about politics and current affairs, but the extent to which this is true always surprises me. A co-canvasser and I talked to an older woman who had never voted before and wanted to not vote for Trump but didn’t know what that meant or how to do it.
Despite canvassing in democratic neighborhoods, I didn’t see any BLM signs, but I saw quite a few “we support our local police” type signs. I also saw a few rainbow signs and “anybody welcome here” type signs. There are a lot of nontraditional living arrangements. In many communities people are very transient.