Some of them are, out of fear that the timing of Jon Stewart’s and Stephen Colbert’s dueling rallies will interfere with GOTV drives. Weigel explains:
The Facebook page for Jon Stewart’s Oct. 30 Rally to Restore Sanity was on its way to 100,000 attendees when liberals rediscovered that most familiar of emotions: panic.
Why would there be panic about the first fun or galvanizing event that Barack Obama’s liberal base had to look forward to since their limited edition Shepard Fairey prints came in the mail? It’s simple. Democrats look at the electoral map and see that they’re doomed. Their hope rests on the resilience of liberal activists and union members, who will be spending the final 72 hours of the campaign pulling voters to the polls. And all of a sudden here come Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert, turning a joke into a mega-rally and plucking liberals right out of their get-out-the-vote operations during their most crucial weekend.
“A lot of people on campus are going,” says William Vogt, a Georgetown University junior and spokesman for the campus’s College Democrats. “I’m planning to attend it, too. Right now I don’t think we’re worried about an effect on GOTV. The rally is Saturday; Halloween is Sunday. We’re still going to vote on Tuesday.”
This is high-grade Democratic nightmare fuel. In 2008, college kids from Washington, D.C., campuses regularly boarded buses to campaign for Obama-Biden in Virginia. In Iowa, twentysomething Obama volunteers erased bad memories of Howard Dean’s messy campaign by getting to know locals and mastering caucus politics. Both of these activities seemed more useful than an attention-getting rally that, like so many rallies, will just reinforce what the activists think. And what they think when they watch Stewart and Colbert is: “Aren’t these right-wingers a bunch of rubes?”
Democrats don’t think this is helpful, and a few of them poured their hearts out to Politico’s Ben Smith. “To the extent that some people who will attend his rally would otherwise be involved in GOTV efforts,” wrote party strategist Steve Rosenthal, “this is not helpful.”
I’m not sure I think the Democrats are right to be scared. Barack Obama owes his election to a one-of-a-kind narrative of post-racial, post-partisan American redemption that was compelling (and let’s be honest, entertaining) enough to rouse young first-time voters and get them to the polls on Election Day. The Venn diagram of those folks, and the folks who take their political cues entirely from The Daily Show, looks an awful lot like a single circle. I bet the rallies will bring an awful lot of armchair activists to DC in the way that no serious political march could, and they’ll need something to do between Colbert’s set and the next hack-e-sack game.