“What are you thinking about?” she asked.
“I’m just trying not to dwell on what happens when this is over,” he said, referring to the transition ahead.
On Thursday, he was a convention delegate from a swing state, his cocktails paid for by super PACs and his time sought by governors, senators and the secretary of labor.
On Friday, he would fly back to a state with a 12.5 percent unemployment rate and continue looking for a job.
When President Obama finished his speech to conclude two weeks of political conventions, rhetoric gave way to reality, and party platforms gave way to the problems of everyday life. The Bureau of Labor Statistics was scheduled to release its monthly jobs report Friday morning — one more reminder that the final two months of this election will be determined not only by issues in abstract but also by people like the Cavazoses, who feel their acute effects.
The “unemployment issue” they heard talked about so often in Charlotte was also the résuméBob has been sending out since he lost his job in March, trimming down 39 years of experience in management and telecommunications to a single page and sending copies to job listings he found on the Internet, even if it felt like “addressing mail to a black hole.”
The foreclosure issue was what ruined their block in Henderson, Nev., where many of the single-story homes had been vacated and bought by investors from California. Now the neighborhood where they had lived with children and grandchildren since 1993 was filled with renters and transients. There had been two break-ins at their house, leaving police to measure a size-11 footprint stamped in their steel front door.
The health-care fight was in fact their fight, because they disagreed about what to do for insurance. They lost their coverage when a new company took over Bob’s data center in January and fired him and the other managers with 60 days’ notice. Linda wanted them to buy insurance out of pocket. “You’re no spring chicken,” she often told him. But Bob was in charge of keeping their detailed household budget, and they were already bleeding $1,100 a month from their diminished savings. “We can’t afford to spend any more,” he said.
An answer in activism
They had decided to become delegates — Linda elected and Bob as an alternate — because they believed politics could provide solutions to some of their problems. Linda was a devoted Obama for America volunteer, and in 2008 her enthusiasm had won over Bob, a disenchanted Republican who twice voted for George W. Bush. But only recently had Bob started volunteering his own time for Obama, helping to create data systems for OFA, railing against the 1 percent and buying Democratic paraphernalia.