WORCESTER, Mass. In this, the second-largest but often-overlooked city in New England, final get-out-the-vote efforts are focussing on a slice of the national demographic that pundits, pollsters and politicians have overlooked until the last minute–Lithuanian landladies, sometimes referred to as “Triple L’s.”
“The parties have tested voters every which way,” says Clark University political scientist Melvin D’Onofrio. “Lithuanian landladies do not respond to calls or door-to-door canvassing because they’re out collecting their rents.”
Each ticket had reason to believe they had the Lithuanian landlady vote sewed up, according to Nelson Camera, a pollster affiliated with the State University of New York-Plattsburgh. “The Democrats thought they would take the Lithuanian landlady vote because Clinton’s a woman,” he notes. “What they didn’t count on is that many ‘Triple-L’s’ wear goofy-looking wigs, so they’re partial to Trump.”
Worcester is home to many railroad car diners, which Lithuanian landladies generally avoid as dens of iniquity. “I stopped in to the Miss Worcester Diner one time and I heard a fellow say h-e-double hockey stick,” says Helen Vilunias, who is president of the Lithuanian-American Residential Property Owners Association. “That was enough for me.” As a result, political candidates who eat in diners in an effort to appear to be regular guys and gals often bypass venues where Lithuanian landladies congregate, such as church ham and bean suppers and charity bingo games.
“We tried robo-dialling them, but we didn’t get our message through,” says Trump campaign spokesman Ty McComb. “The Lithuanian landladies would listen to our pitch, then they’d tell us not to have boy-girl parties after seven p.m.”