The episode begins, and running for town council has reinvigorated Claire's ambition and only heightened her competitive spirit, which dates back to the days spent selling rogue Girl Scout cookies. On Election Day, she'd hope her inner circle would be equally as organized and committed to winning as she was. Assignments are given, but between confusion over how much change is in a phone bank and Luke's belief that you can promise anything for a vote the Dunphy clan isn't exactly knocking it out of the park on Claire's behalf. Meanwhile, the candidate herself is having a hard time keeping things together, holding her anxieties inside her tightly wound ponytail and actually losing her front tooth during two separate interviews.
Cam and Mitchell are now proud owners of a Craigslist find, which promises to drive them towards a few more votes or a neighborhood noise violation. Decked out in Claire regalia, the car also came with a working megaphone, always dangerous to those with a taste for power. As they drive around inserting Clarie's name into any unrelated word or phrase ("The choice is Claire," "Claire-voyant"), Cam and Mitchell start to realize that a booming sound emanating from a tacky car also works as the voice of God change. Deciding between lecturing strangers on the importance of traffic safety and getting back at the dry cleaner who ruined a shirt is tough, but it is the complexity of the microphone's on/off switch that proves the most detrimental. Everybody knows it's typical to end a long campaign day with gelato and a good gossip session — except for Sandy from Lily's pre-school with the potentially gay fiance.
Well, she does now! And yes those flowers were beautiful. Phil's job of the day included helping senior citizens make their way to the polls. First on his list was Luke's pal Walt, who forgets that he often forgets to take his medicine and reorder his oxygen tanks, serious to-do list items Phil didn't seem all that concerned about. Of course he was frightened by the possibility that a man could die on his watch — hardly how he'd rehearsed it on the ongoing cop show in his head — but the thought of Claire's rage face was even scarier. He was already skipping taking her to get pesky tooth fixed in order to help her chances at securing very important votes among the Over 60 demographic.
If he'd have to listen to Walt wax on the merits of libertarianism and Greek food while repeatedly convincing him his wife is not an alcoholic, so be it. Jay's lone task for the day was to just make it to the polls and vote, which is harder than one might think when you have to tip-toe around a former fling. Having met Gloria's ex, it was interesting to see her non-reaction to one of Jay's past lovers (conquests?). After his divorce from Didi, JP was somewhat of a "hit it and quit it" type, going so far as to back out of a driveway in neutral lest his bedroom companion start sniffing around for pancakes. Gloria didn't seem too fazed by his run-in with Dottie, who now mans the local polling station, which is either an acknowledgment of her stable relationship or a silent recognition of her superior youth and beauty.
Pair the latter with her throwaway line about not doing radio because "people need to see [her]" and she's now become a walking boob joke. When the voting was complete and those pretending to campaign had finished negotiating their own mini-crises, Claire returned home, having to reassure her entire family that she was not doing that thing where you pretend to get bad news when it's actually good. She lost. At the end of the day it wasn't the missing tooth or drunken voice that would keep Claire from a seat on the town council. It was her trusty team of family volunteers too caught up in their own lives to get out the vote—and the strong and familiar platform of her accomplished incumbent.
In local elections, people tend to vote who they know. So what could Claire have done better? Educated herself on the issues most important to voters, rather than just act like a broken record obsessed with all things red and octagonal? Scheduled a preventative dentist appointment to check up on that nagging figure skating injury? Same goes for Haley. Yes, she really did start trying this year, but she had to have known that applying to Northwestern was a bit of a reach unless she thought she'd been promised a spot in the forthcoming alternative geography department.
The college application process can be stressful, and it's understandable to be distracted from family affairs when your entire future rests on the contents of one letter. Pulling the entire family into the kitchen to cheer on her tiny envelope just created more pressure for Haley. Luckily higher education institutions have developed the Wait List to lead you on, which is enough of a dangling carrot to give Haley ammo to hold her own among Duck in Training, Becky, and the entire family reason to not throw away that "Congratulations" sign. The episode ends on this note.