The “lamestream media” likes to tell us that there’s an “enthusiasm gap” this year between Democrats (not enthused) and Republicans (fired up). Perhaps that’s true. Or, perhaps, it’s (at least partly) a creation of the media pounding on the same theme, over and over again, and also giving enormous positive publicity to the Tea Party day in and day out? Also, perhaps the “enthusiasm gap” has closed as the election nears?
Anyway, we’ll leave that argument aside for the moment, because there’s no way we can really settle it. For now, let’s just enjoy some photos from Virginia Beach, where the Democrats didn’t appear to be exhibiting any sign of said “enthusiasm gap” at yesterday’s annual “Elephant Roast,” where 400 people (up from 100 last year, when Creigh Deeds was on the ballot) enjoyed some Sunday partying and pro-Democratic rallying.
What could account for the sharply increased “Elephant Roast” attendance this year? I mean, it’s not like Virginia Beach Democrats have a super-progressive on the ballot in Glenn Nye. Here’s a theory, in just two words:
That would be Virginia Beach Democratic Committee Chair Susan Mariner, of course. As many of us have known for several years now (I met her in 2006 during the “Draft Webb” movement), Susan is one of the most talented, contagiously enthusiastic Democratic activists and organizers in Virginia. Basically, when Susan puts her mind to something, she gets results. In this case, she has put her mind to a project she calls “Operation Energize” – fight the “enthusiasm gap” and get Virginia Beach Democrats out to the polls for the “blue team” on election day. Based on the turnout yesterday, “Operation Energize” appears to be succeeding.
more comments, photos after the “fold”
Here are comments from a few other Virginia Democrats. Also, more photos are after the “fold”; note in particular the diversity you see here, and that you do NOT see at Republican events. Just a coincidence that the person a forwarding racist email around was the Virginia Beach Republican Committee chair? Hmmm.
“This is a great event. Attendance is outstanding and the speeches were very motivating. This is exactly what we need to help push us over the top in November.” Gene Magruder, Chair of Virginia Democratic Chairs
At the end of the event: “Over the years, I’ve been to and worked on events with 50 people and many hundreds of people. I’ve never seen a better organized event than this one. Susan did everything right. Everyone was buzzing about how much they loved it and what an amazing job she did.” Thyri Magnusdottir
“We must be doing something right in Virginia Beach. This year’s Elephant Roast, with more than 400 people in attendance, was by far our largest ever! It helps to have a national Democratic Party heavyweight like Terry McAuliffe as your keynote speaker. I think that most any of the thousands of Democratic organizations across the nation would kill to have someone of Terry’s stature at an event like this. We were very, very lucky to get him.” Paul Baker, Vice Chair Virginia Beach Democratic Committee