Swing State Destinations

The stakes couldn’t be higher at home or abroad leading into the general election. Polls show McCain and Obama in a dead heat with just six weeks to go. The economy has gone to shit. And if you haven’t been laid off yet, you could be very soon. Seems like the perfect time to pack your bags and leave behind the day-to-day in hope of a better tomorrow. That’s exactly what millions of Americans have set out to do by volunteering for one of the campaigns. If you want to make a difference and help change the world, or if you’re just in dire need of a change of scenery and pace, join the 1.5 million Obama volunteers (or the McCain volunteers who are far less in numbers, though the campaign won’t release how many) and lend the nation’s future some of your time. If you do not live in a swing state, then it’s probably best to dispatch yourself to one, as your efforts will go further (if I’ve lost you, google “electoral college” or “2004 election” or “2000 election” and refresh your memory). If you need some help deciding which destination is best for you, or if you simply want to find out how to parlay your altruism into a well-deserved vacay, then look no further. I have compiled a list of activities and attractions in the most important swing states in the election.

Nevada: There are two ways to go: the party or the nature. If you are looking to get crunk and wet your palette, you obviously should try to find a volunteer placement somewhere near Vegas, baby! (You can check out the new topless strippers by the pool at Rio Hotel and Casino). But if hiking, camping and relaxing by the water with a good book sound better to you, head for Lake Tahoe (it’s not frozen yet).

Colorado: Of course you could go to Denver, but going there now would kind of be like deciding to take up banking right now: the party’s over. Some non-Denver destinations include Rocky Mountain National Park (if you’ve ever seen a Coors commercial, you know what you’re in for), or check out the spa-town-turned-charming-city of Colorado Springs.

Minnesota: The best thing to do here is in the airport. You can check out the Larry Craig bathroom (yes, there are official tours, but you must bring your own condom) and drink a yummy latte from Caribou coffee while waiting for a connecting flight to take you out of this state.

Wisconsin: Forget Milwaukee and Madison and head straight to the northern country near Minocqua. Here you will find reprise after long days of trying to convince life-long republicans who have never left their homogenous hometowns that they should vote for a black guy with an ethnic-sounding name.

Michigan: If you’ve landed in Detroit and are feeling bummed (as most people do), hit the road on a tour of your favorite cities (shit-holes named after their superior counterparts) and pretend like you’re touring the globe: Bel Air, Chelsea, Vienna, Manchester, Milan, Nashville, Beverly Hills, China, Delhi, Genoa, Kingston, Norway, Odessa, and Paradise. Make sure to make a detour from your international tour to stop in Ann Arbor for the sour cream coffeecake from Zingermans. It’s delish.

Ohio: Cleveland

Virginia: This is the newest addition to list of swing states, so it required some extra research. I asked a native Virginian I know where which destinations she recommends and without hesitation, she answered: “The Dismal Swamp.” It seemed like harsh language to use toward your home state, but turns out it’s her favorite spot to take out-of -towners. And there’s no catch: it’s a large swamp on the Coastal Plain, and apparently, it’s dismal.

Florida: As much of the country begins to cool down, South Beach is just now heating up. Relax on the beach with the largest cocktail you’ve ever seen in your hand, and you’ll begin to forget that the state was responsible for the last eight years of the worst American president in history.

–Jamie Wong