My wife and I typically spend summers in Maryland, near Washington, D.C. Each morning and each evening, we walk our little 18-pound Schnoodle named Dusty through our neighborhood. It is a mostly quiet place—some older houses built in the 1950s and 1960s, some built in the 1980s, brand-new houses popping up on this lot or that lot, here and there. Tall trees provide shade for much of the walk, children play in backyards, dog lovers walk their pooches, bike riders whizz by. The walk takes about 45 minutes.
Montgomery County, Maryland is Biden country. Not just Biden country—it is the heart of Biden country. Montgomery County overwhelmingly voted for Hillary Clinton in 2016. No less than 75 percent of the vote here went to Clinton—in Maryland, only Baltimore and Prince Charles County (just to the east of Washington, D.C.) had higher shares of the Clinton vote. In a state that Clinton won with 60 percent of the vote, over one-fifth of all her votes came from Montgomery County.
In absolute terms, Montgomery County provided more votes for Hillary Clinton—357,837—than any other jurisdiction in Maryland. In other words, this place is as blue as it gets. Biden supporters should be thick to the ground here. And yet . . .
It occurred to me the other day that, despite the election approaching, I am not seeing many Biden for president yard signs on our walk. In fact, I am seeing exactly one such yard sign. One. It’s the featured image at the top of this story—after Dusty peed on it.
Our 45-minute walk takes us past a grand total of 165 houses (I specifically counted), in a deep blue part of the State of Maryland—and yet only one person sees fit publicly to declare his allegiance to Biden. Where are all the Bidenophiles? Where are all the people who adore Old Uncle Joe and his eccentric ways? Where are all those who believe that Biden’s character and decency are so much superior to the alternative? Where are all the voters who can’t get enough of Biden and his virtual campaign from the crypt beneath his house?
This oddity got me so worked up, that I decided to expand my horizons. At 9:45 a.m., I got into my car and started driving around, looking for Biden yard signs. They must be out there, surely? Maybe the houses along our walk are statistical outliers for some inexplicable reason—but elsewhere, there stand Biden yard signs as far as the eye can see?
More Support for “Mosquito Joe”
By 10:15 a.m., I still haven’t seen even one more Biden sign. I saw a few “for sale” signs. I saw a few “Mosquito Joe” signs. I saw many ADT alarm signs. I saw advertisements for local home improvement/construction services. I saw many signs congratulating kids on their graduation, or on finishing this grade or that grade in one of the local schools. I saw about 20 Black Lives Matter signs. I saw lost dog posters. I saw some American flags. I even saw a fencing school advertising its services.
But no Biden signs.
My daughter called me in the meantime. She is a rising senior in college who is finishing her summer internship today. And today, human resources was supposed to call her by 11:00 a.m. and tell her whether or not she is getting an offer for a full-time position for next year. So she was hopeful. But in the meantime, I am looking at deep blue America out of my car window, and still not seeing any Biden yard signs!
I drove around and past an elementary school (which my daughter attended 10 years earlier). It occurred to me that should the police notice a middle-aged man, alone in a car, driving with no discernible purpose in proximity to an elementary school, they might . . . become suspicious. Then I recalled that there is no school in the summer, and no school at all, with all the lockdowns, so I felt a little better.
The streets went by, some names familiar, some not. I was getting further and further away from my own house, and starting to despair of ever seeing another Biden yard sign. And then, at 10:20, there it was! A genuine, honest-to-goodness Biden for president sign! Finally! I found another proud Biden supporter!
I kept going. More streets, more houses. More suburbia, more cul-de-sacs. At 10:50, bingo! Another Biden sign! HR still hadn’t called my daughter but rather emailed her that the time was pushed back to noon, so she wanted to talk about politics. (She studies political theory, including Marxism—that Ivy League education is definitely worth the $260,000, let me tell you . . . )
I decided that it was a matter of honor to find at least one more Biden sign. So I drove on, and on. More graduation signs. More ADT. More BLM. A sign advertising architectural services. More “for sale” signs. More homebuilders’ advertising. A car with a Biden bumper sticker on it—so if I were desperate, I might have counted it. But, no. I decided that rules are rules, and I need a real yard sign, not a bumper sticker.
And then, finally, at long last, at 11:15 a.m., on a quiet side street, I hit pay dirt. A Biden sign, but a different one, with an all dark blue background, and red and white lettering. I was so happy, I almost cried. If the battery on my phone hadn’t died, I would have taken a picture of it.
So after 90 minutes, I estimate conservatively that I drove past at least 2,000 houses on both left and right, for a grand total of four Biden yard signs (counting the original one that got this whole epic adventure started, the one that Dusty urinated on). At best, one house out of 500—in a county that’s so blue, it is in danger of asphyxiation.
Votes Against Trump, Not For Biden
What does it all mean?
I am well aware of plausible explanations for the absence of visible pro-Biden fervor. Maryland is a done deal for Biden, so he isn’t expending any effort here. The election is still three months away, and people just aren’t focused on it yet. People don’t feel the need to demonstrate their Biden bona fides, because Maryland isn’t a swing state, and, being deep blue, there is nobody they need to convince to vote for a Democrat.
People aren’t voting for Biden (so they don’t need Biden signs), they are voting against Trump. With Biden in a vegetative state, people aren’t voting for Biden—they are voting for Kamala Harris, his running mate. There are no yard signs because the Biden campaign hasn’t distributed any yard signs in Montgomery County (though those four people who had the signs did find a way to declare their love for Biden). Yard signs don’t vote, people do.
All of that (or some combination of it) may be true. The Biden campaign can probably come up with one or two more explanations. In all fairness, I didn’t see any Trump signs either (not that I expected to). I recall seeing a few Biden signs back in March when the race was still somewhat competitive—so if you were a Bidenite in March, you are a Bidenite today. No doubt more than a few Bernie Sanders supporters, who had Bernie signs on their front lawns in March, will vote for Biden in November (though they won’t necessarily be happy about it).
Perhaps the BLM signs should be counted as equivalent to Biden signs (or, at least, equivalent to a clear Biden preference—nobody in their right mind would suggest that a voter who puts up a BLM sign will vote for Trump). I counted perhaps 50 BLM signs—so roughly 2-2.5 percent of the houses had a BLM sign. Is that a lot? Or a little? It might be a lot in Louisiana or Alabama, but it doesn’t feel like a lot in Montgomery County, Maryland.
So what’s the upshot of all this? Not to suggest that Trump has a prayer of winning in Montgomery County. But perhaps it is confirmation of what we all already know—that Biden is the one candidate who generates zero enthusiasm. There are hints in the polling that enthusiasm for Biden among blacks and Hispanics is flagging badly. Montgomery County is mostly white, well-off, and college-educated. Not much enthusiasm for Alzheimer Joe here either, it seems.
But this story has one clear happy ending: My daughter got her job offer from Wall Street.