Ten Ways You Know You Live in a Presidential Swing State

This state's presidential-preference polls are close...too close, no matter whom you might be supporting. That's why Donald Trump is returning to Colorado, when at one point the state seemed to belong to Hillary Clinton. But last week, Politico called the race in Colorado a "dead heat," with the RealClearPolitics average separating Trump and Clinton by only .2 percent. Yes, that’s point-two, as in one-fifth of a single percentage point. Which shows that this year, every vote counts. (It also indicates that Gary “What is Aleppo?” Johnson and Jill “Real Questions About Vaccines” Stein could have a serious effect on the voting results.)

So what does it mean to live in a battleground state during an election that’s just too damn close? Well, they say that all politics is local — and here are ten local ways that you can tell Colorado is a swing state without consulting a pollster.

10. Nostalgia for Local Advertising
You know things are bad when you start to miss Dealin’ Doug and Jake Jabs every other commercial break. Instead, we have invitations to fear this or that — Clinton will invite refugees to stay on your couch, or Trump will call your mom fat. It makes you yearn to see those ubiquitous Denver ads like Frank “The Strongarm” Azar break in to tell us how we, too, can win a $2 million settlement if we’re delivering pizza and get hit by a truck. Those were the days.

9. Traffic Jams Due to Political Visits
Look, we all get that there are security issues surrounding national candidates, and that means entourages and convoys of vehicles and street closures and that sort of thing. For the most part, we’re fine with that. But for the love of the Courtyard by Marriott, can we at least agree that these bigwigs can rest their wigs out by the airport, so we at least get a break from the political traffic jams at rush hour? 

8. A Run on Hairspray
It’s bound to happen: You go to Safeway, you look in the hair-care section, and where the Aqua Net should be, there’s nothing but dust, cobwebs and broken dreams. The Donald and Hillary do have some common ground: They both have complicated hair needs. Your hair must stay up even when your numbers are down.

7. National Pundits Make Fun of You
Are you tired of the “What-are-they-smoking-in-Colorado” jokes? Yeah, me, too.

6. You Don’t Want to Answer Your Door or Telephone
No one likes to be harassed. Yes, the ground game is important in politics, and, yes, even more so in a hotly contested race. But having someone come to your door or call you up to make sure that you’re going to do something is too much like your mom during your freshman year in college always making sure you’re taking care of yourself. So maybe turn it around on them. When someone asks you, “Are you planning to vote?,” reply with this: “Sure. But are you wearing clean underpants?”

Keep reading for ten more ways you know you live in a swing state.

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Teague Bohlen is a writer, novelist and professor at the University of Colorado Denver. His first novel, The Pull of the Earth, won the Colorado Book Award for Literary Fiction in 2007; his textbook The Snarktastic Guide to College Success came out in 2014. His new collection of flash fiction, Flatland, is available now.
Contact: Teague Bohlen