Taking a mobilization vacation in Reno

I hear swing states are beautiful this time of year. And for the next three months.


Back in 2008 I volunteered for the Obama campaign. Not in the “I led a major OFA field office” or “Hey I’m Dan Pfeiffer kinda way. More in the “a lower-level staffer told me how to properly pronounce Nevada so as to avoid sounding like a Californian begging voters to get their asses to the polls when I called for hours on end from a conference room in LA” kinda way.

While the race was tracking closely in polls, The Maverick and his politician-cum-reality-star running-mate lost Nevada by 13 points. I still felt like I was a small part of the movement.

Here we are in 2016, I now have two kids with futures to look after, and as of two weeks ago — before the RNC bump — Hillary was polling only four points ahead of The Hair there.

Reno, the home of thousands of swing voters and six rather important electoral votes.

Last weekend I was with a few close friends intending to discuss how we redesign our education systems. Instead we were sucked into the vortex of presidential politics. Deflated and despairing, we started planning our now-annual family fall getaway when one suggested — almost demanded — that we reroute its purpose, and location, to getting out the vote.

In Reno.

As the closest swing state and with nearly all of us toting toddlers, it made the most sense. What kind of message would we be sending to our children, not to mention ourselves, if we didn’t?

And like that, we were all-in on Reno.


Campaign volunteering and canvassing obviously isn’t new or novel, but it can often feel like someone else’s job. And if your candidate doesn’t get elected, well…shoulder shrug. Yet the potential for our days to darken even more dramatically this time around feels slightly greater.

Whether you’re a family of five or a swinging single, consider what you’ll tell yourself and others when asked what you did during 2016 election season with your limited time off. Scrolling through social media feeds sighing deeply as you lounge by the pool, or actively influencing the humans whose votes we need?

Listen to them, empathize with them, and give them all the information they need to get out and “vote with their conscience” as Ted Cruz has instructed.

So check out Ohio’s three c’s (Cleveland! Cincinnati! Columbus!), the sights of State College, and the brilliant beaches of Broward County as you plan a weekend (or longer) getaway over the next few months.

Who knows, you might even have fun.