5:50 p.m. November 6, 2012

Critical Insights From The Tar Heel State

After arriving from Cleveland, I exit the plane in Charlotte at 5:13pm. My flight to Las Vegas is scheduled to board at 5:30. Plenty of time to monitor the election here in my home state.

Rushing to my gate in another terminal, I try to catch a glimpse of something election-related. I get nothing. I don’t even see any televisions tuned to CNN. The Quiznos and Burger King are uncharacteristically devoid of their usual highbrow political repartee. Does no one in this airport care about the election? Or could it be that every single person here is laying low, concealing the dark truth that they’re all perpetrators of massive fraud and/or intimidation?

I see one woman with a voting sticker. Okay, the system works. The rest of these people apparently couldn’t be bothered. Or have voted early. Or don’t even live in North Carolina. This is, after all, an airport.

By surprise, I run into my friend Allen Gannett at the gate – he’s a venture capitalist from DC, headed to San Francisco in the name of some mystery project he refuses to tell me about. Guess that’s what it feels like to write for PandoDaily.

I inform Allen of my swing state quest, and note that my Charlotte dispatch will probably consist of the conversation we’re having now. Hungry for political fodder, I notice he too has a voting sticker, and for a moment I’m hopeful that he’s living in Virginia where his vote might have mattered. Alas, he’s still in meaningless DC proper. He doesn’t sweat the unfairness of it, though – sometimes, he says, you get jury duty for a murder case. Sometimes it’s a traffic ticket. I wonder which he thinks is the preferable scenario.

Boarding the flight, I grasp for some last minute NC voting info. I call my mother in Raleigh – she voted for Obama. But my brother voted absentee for Romney. A swing state vote negation!* The guy in front of me on the jet bridge overhears my conversation. He’s Lex Larson from Chapel Hill, one of the most liberal parts of North Carolina. He volunteered for Obama and says he’s nervous. I guess there’s some political spirit in this airport after all. But we aren’t at the airport for long – soon, we’re wheels up for fabulous Las Vegas, the final stop on my swing state tour and the seat of NSFWCORP’s election headquarters at The Cosmopolitan.

Airborne, I pass Lex a note to get more information. He writes back:

Flying to Vegas for a speaking engagement. Hoping I’m not going to be too bummed out to speak. I volunteered as a greeter at early voting sites and as an observer as well. When I planned this trip I was oblivious to the fact that it is Election day – I wish I were watching the returns now!

Thankfully, I am watching returns via in-flight Wi-Fi. And I’m filing this dispatch. And I’m ready, America. Let’s get crazy.