It’s hard to know what to think about tomorrow. I’ve been a subscriber to the school of “big factors count most,” so incumbent approval, the economy, right direction-wrong direction, party identification. It probably didn’t matter who the Democrats put up this year. That person was going to win owing to the structural factors. In fact, I turn to racism — or if not overt racism, at least race-related conservatism — on the part of white voters on the Democratic side and selection by the Republicans of the maverick with the maximum crossover appeal among the Republican slate for things being as narrow as they are. However much spleen is being pumped up by the far-right in anticipation of the blood-letting to come after their defeat, Johm McCain was the Republican capable of losing by the least in 2008.
But I’m jumping into the details way too fast. The big picture is that I am making sure that I am getting together with my people tomorrow night early. If we wait too long to meet up, we could miss it. I am anticipating that Senator Obama is not just going to win, but win in a landslide. If he wins Virginia and Pennsylvania, they could call the whole election on that basis. With polls closing in those two states at 7:00, they could have a statistically significant portion of votes counted by 9:00 and it could all be over. This is, of course, barring total electoral chaos.
A dash of confidence off the top, I am still significantly worried and tomorrow evening is going to be a nail-biter all the way until it’s called. I think that polling is essentially sound and the big numbers are the ones that count. The lesson of 2004 seems to be that frittering around the margin is misguided. That being said, I can’t help the frittering. There are still seven percent of voters undecided and presumably anyone still undecided is going to break for Senator McCain. The race is tightening somewhat. And I am completely freaked out over a potential Bradley effect, though it hasn’t appeared in this cycle to date. On the other hand, I am also counting on that segment of people only owning cell phones who don’t show up at all in the polls causing an Obama win larger than expected. And opposite a Bradley effect might be the fact that people want to bet on a winning horse. Maybe the heard mentality will kick in with the undecided votes and they will do what’s cool.
All the rational calculation aside, I am trying to contain an overwhelming amount of positive excitement for tomorrow. I have my rational, pessimistic expectations for an Obama administration. That being said, we will get to witness one of the great bugaboos of U.S. history slain: the idea that only a white man can be entrusted with the fate of the country. I feel like there have been two outstanding political events in my lifetime: the end of the Cold War and September 11th. Tomorrow we will be adding a third event of similar magnitude to the list. President elect Obama should lead the inaugural parade down the Capital Mall instead of Pennsylvania Avenue and take the oath of office not from the Capital, but from the steps of the Lincoln Memorial.
Barack Obama is a phenomenon of his own and deserves the enthusiasm he gets, but part of the determination and anticipation of tomorrow is that after eight seemingly interminable years we will finally be closing the door on a dark period of U.S. history, namely the administration of George W. Bush, Jr.
I find the whole media invented “hundred days” narrative tiresome and I wish that an Obama administration would do something to counter it. But I wholly anticipate a frenetic burst of energy from an Obama administration. There is so much in need of fixing, so much done wrong or neglected, or in need of undoing. And in every instance the right thing so damn plain. There is so much pent up energy at this point. We’re not just going to close the door on the Bush years, we’re going to slam it shut.