The only time I really cashed in on a presidential election reduced to the Supreme Court was Al Gore’s collapse in 2000. I had recruited 6 British Labour Party staff to come to Cleveland and plug into the Gore campaign exactly the same way I had done with Labour in 1997. Found ’em nice places to stay for two weeks, and hustled a “GOTV” contract from the local consulting grand poobah (who I shall not name to save him further embarrasment) which paid for car rentals and reimbursed stateside expenses. I treated it like a visiting international delegation, which it was. A kind of “thank you” to my British friends.
The client was People for The American Way, the campaign was a door to door “issue” thus “non-candidate specific” canvass, thus technically legal. Through this contract, I put my eight Labour mates to work knocking on doors in Cleveland delivering this door hanger. The targets were high Democratic high turnout precincts, because a turned off Democratic base was a major issue for Al Gore in 2000, just as it is for Hillary Clinton in 2016.
Despite Al Gore having pulled out of Ohio by the time the Brits arrived two weeks out, it was a blast, of course. My Labour colleagues were mini local celebrities, and they got to see the Florida recount horror begin. “We left and you Yanks still didn’t have a president!” was the joke in later years.
Democrats have thus heard this argument when their presidential candidate is nose diving before. Repeatedly, in fact. Especially in Ohio, the dumping ground of millions in “GOTV” cash every four years. My Labour mateys knew the score, too. Their popularity was based not just in their accents, but mostly in their ability to show up in force as a team of six people, volunteers being extremely rare commodities in Ohio in 2000. To boot, door knockers weren’t all that welcome on those Democratic doorsteps, British or not. We were having zero impact on the election’s outcome. Our international delegation did cross polinate our transatlantic freindships, so it was all a success nonetheless. We drank a lot of beer.
Sixteen years later, the Supreme Court looks likely to end up the Clinton campaign’s closing argument, again. There is some cosmic explanation for all this, I’m sure.