Open Thread: Election Predictions

As the world’s eyes turn to America and tomorrow’s election, I just have to join in. This is an open thread for election predictions, rumors, speculation, results reporting, and whatever else you can think of. Once the polls have closed and the results are all in, I hope to write a longer post, most likely to be put up Wednesday, analyzing the results.

So, what do you think is going to happen? I have three predictions:

  • Barack Obama is going to be the next President of the United States. This one ought to be a no-brainer. His massive leads in money, volunteer organization, and supporters’ enthusiasm, plus the fact that he’s been leading for weeks in both national polls and polls of the essential swing states (Ohio, Pennsylvania, Florida, Virginia, North Carolina, Missouri, Colorado), plus his lopsided advantage in the prediction markets, all point to one virtually inescapable conclusion of victory. Some late-breaking results show he’s even within single digits in John McCain’s own home state, Arizona.
  • The Democrats will get to 60 seats in the Senate. This prediction was also made (in two parts) by Bob Geiger, a pundit and editorial cartoonist who can claim the distinction of correctly predicting the outcome of every Senate race in 2006. There are more than enough pickup opportunities to make this possible. Frankly, I think the Democrats have an easier road to 60 seats now than they did of getting 51 in 2006 (which required down-to-the-wire recounts and the ousting of Republican incumbents in two traditionally red states).
  • Prop 8, the odious anti-gay-marriage bill in California, will be defeated. Out-of-state forces have poured enormous amounts of money and effort into supporting it, but there’s little question that Obama is going to win California easily, and I think the wave of voters who support him will also vote against Prop 8 and consign it to defeat.

Am I being overly optimistic? If you see a different scenario in mind, let’s hear it! In the meantime, here are some other election-related posts for your perusal:

And finally, to my American readers, don’t forget to vote tomorrow! Here’s a link to find your polling place if you don’t already know.

About Adam Lee

Adam Lee is an atheist writer and speaker living in New York City. His new novel, Broken Ring, is available in paperback and e-book. Read his full bio, or follow him on Twitter.

  • Joffan

    The main debate on Obama’s win appears to be: “By how much”? I have argued (for the fun of it) for his getting 400+EV. But Arizona wasn’t a state I expected to be close.

    I doubt Dems will get to 60 seats in Senate, even counting Sanders and Lieberman. It’s possible, but unlikely. Incidentally it was 2006, not 2004, when they got to 51 (counting the indies as above).

    I sincerely hope Prop 8 will be defeated, but it is a terrible fact that it is a damned close-run thing. I wish it were not; and in twenty years, perhpas, the people of California may look back in amazement that they were so close to enforcing bigotry.

  • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/daylightatheism Ebonmuse

    Yeah, I meant 2006, not 2004. I saw that as soon as I had posted this and went back and corrected it.

    I have argued (for the fun of it) for his getting 400+EV. But Arizona wasn’t a state I expected to be close.

    Oh, it gets even better than that. Some polling data reported on Daily Kos shows a single-digit race in Alaska, for truth’s sake.

  • MissCherryPi

    Ebonmuse and I have been volunteering for a local candidate running for State Assembly. Please take 5 minutes to check out the down ticket races in your area and look for a sample ballot so you are familiar with who you are voting for and any propositions you may not be aware of (there are two I’m voting on tomorrow that I was not aware of until last week!) League of Women Voters is a good place to start.

  • http://www.atheistrev.com vjack

    I hope you are right about Obama, but I’m predicting a McCain-Palin victory. I really hope I’m wrong.

  • http://www.thewarfareismental.info cl

    Not that I’m voting, but here are my predictions, one optimistic and the other not as much so:

    1) Obama wins and things seem more like the Clinton years.

    2) Obama wins, some idiot neo-Nazi or other right-wrung nutjob can’t stomach the thought of a “black” or “Muslim” president, decides to pull an Oswald, and sends the whole world into tumult.

    Please, Lord / Universe / Krishna / Brahman / Spagetti Monster / etc., let it be #1.

  • http://pointlessness.freehostia.com/ Rhapsody

    I hope you are right about Obama, but I’m predicting a McCain-Palin victory. I really hope I’m wrong.

    I don’t really get the despondency that’s still going around at this late stage. I look towards Electoral-vote.com myself, which was around in 2004 and was predicting a very close race this day four years ago, with Bush slightly ahead. The map for today looks very different.

    I think it needs to be recognized that while there’s such a thing as ‘jinxing it’, there’s also such a thing as ‘needless pessimism’.

  • Kaltrosomos

    Maybe I just have a contrarian streak, but I’m going to go against the ‘common wisdom’ on this election.

    First, I think the presidential election is still a toss-up with a slight advantage to McCain. Why, you might ask?

    For one thing, I don’t think the polls have been as accurate as they should be. Obama’s lead is either inflated or non-existent. There’s a sort of liberal bias at work here. The media is obviously in the tank for Obama. Depending on the demographics of the pollsters themselves, we could also be seeing a nation-wide demonstration of the Clever Hans effect. If pollsters are for the most part liberal in their politics, that could be inflating the results in Obama’s favor. Of course, it won’t do him any favors on election day. Another thing to consider is the number of conservatives/undecided voters who refuse to speak with pollsters. If liberals are disproportionately talking to pollsters, that also inflates Obama’s numbers. For instance, most of my family is, so far as I can tell, conservative and voting for McCain. They also decline to answer pollsters on a regular basis. If you multiply that mass of silent conservative voters to a nation-wide phenomenon, you can see why Obama might have problems.

    For another thing, Obama and all the media adoration he’s gotten have probably energized conservatives and other members of the Right. This means there will be a big turnout for McCain as a reaction to Obama. Since conservatives feel behind, they aren’t going to be complacent and they are going to vote in force. Another factor is a possibly considerable defection of Clinton Democrats for McCain.

    People make a lot of noise about increased Democratic voter registrations and turnout. But that doesn’t mean all these Democrats will vote for Obama. In fact, I’m sure some of them will vote McCain.

    For lower ticket elections, I think it’s probable that Democrats will win more seats but won’t make the magic 60.

    Finally, California could be a shocker. It is quite possible both that Prop. 8 will pass and that McCain will take the state. The higher conservative turnout in support of prop. 8 will translate into support for McCain. And if McCain does take California, I think Obama is pretty much sunk.

    If you don’t think California could possibly go red, consider the fact that Arnold Schwarzenegger, Governor of Cali, is a Republican currently stumping for McCain. At the least, I think California will be a closer race than most have so far assumed. I’m not putting too much faith in the polls that give Obama lavish leads at this point.

    Of course, election day will set things straight. I could be totally wrong in my hunches here. As I said elsewhere, I’ll be watching the election closely.

  • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/daylightatheism Ebonmuse

    I think it needs to be recognized that while there’s such a thing as ‘jinxing it’, there’s also such a thing as ‘needless pessimism’.

    I beg to differ – I don’t think there is such a thing as “jinxing it”. :) There is such a thing as losing due to complacency, of course, although I don’t see much sign of that in this election.

  • http://www.penonblack.com Sam

    Prop 8 is really close. Obama has a great chance of winning California, but I don’t think that carries enough influence to necessarily defeat prop 8, especially with the Yes on 8 camp blatantly lying and deceiving voters about what it is.

    Unfortunately, it’s too close to call.

  • Libby

    I think Obama has a fighting chance at winning, and I’m sure the Democrats will be successful in Congress, overall.

    However, I’m not so optimistic about Proposition 8. The thing about Proposition 8 is that all the logic in the world won’t work against it. I had a bit of an unfortunate epiphany about that last night. I was talking to a friend of mine who lives in California about Proposition 8. We talked for a while, and after correcting a few of his misconceptions about the effect of legal marriage on the church, he was still resistant to accepting gay marriage. I asked him for a real reason. His reply was “Well, I guess logically, you’re right. But don’t you think its just… weird? How would you feel if two guys were allowed to go around and hold hands and kiss? its gross. Anyways, I don’t think the country is ready for it. Maybe in 100 years of so. People just aren’t ready to accept that, gays just have to wait.” (thats a direct quote)

    This comment confirms what I’ve always thought was at the bottom of all the prejudice against gay marriage. Not logic, not even strictly religion for most people. Just plain old fear and homophobia. That it’s “wierd” and they aren’t ready to accept it yet. How are we supposed to fight against fear and homophobia? Logic clearly has no effect.

    I still have my fingers crossed for Proposition 8, and I really hope its defeated tomorrow, but I just can’t be too optimistic about something so deeply entrenched in the American psyche, something completely illogical and emotional.

  • Justin

    Prop 8 is really close.

    Look on the bright side, Sam. If Prop 8 fails, then gay marriage will be legal for at least 4 years (or can the initiative be brought up in the 2010 congressional races?). It doesn’t matter, because by that time more and more Californians will get used to the idea of gay marriage. They will know gay couples, see that gay marriage and gay parents are not a threat to (anything) and any attempted repeat of Prop 8 will fail by a wider margin next time.

    If the side of equality wins this time, then there’s no stopping marriage equality across the country. California is, what, 10% of the country’s population? That many people would be a wonderful power base for the gay rights movement.

    On another note, I would love to see 400 + EV for Obama, just to see the Republicans reaction. Maybe they will learn to repudiate the worst elements of the party? I hope so.

  • Larry Kulp

    Re: Kaltrosomos’ last.

    I agree with these points, and that McCain has an outside chance. I boil it down to three effects, all favorable to McCain: (1) the Bradley Effect; (2) the Underdog Effect; and (3) the Pollster Hostility Effect. Kaltrosomos mentioned the last two, of course. But how come nobody’s mentioned the Bradley Effect? Is this the Bradley Effect squared?

  • Larry Kulp

    Re: Libby’s last.

    You have missed the logic of “traditional” marriage. Romantic marriage is a fairly new development in societal evolution. Marriage began as a brutal sort of practice, at least by modern standards. It began with plain old monopolization of sex by force. The stronger fellow could corral his women, fight off the competitors, and have as much sex as he wanted. This no doubt had beneficial effects for the species from a Darwinian standpoint. Later was added the refinement of establishing or solidifying political alliances. Romantic marriage probably didn’t begin until the Age of Greece, and it really didn’t catch on all that pervasively until the Renaissance.

    Anyway, at some point along the way, the state determined that romantic marriage was a good thing, because it fostered procreation and the raising of children. There was more assurance that children would receive a proper upbringing (i.e., would be “socialized” to accept control by the prevailing institutions of the time. And don’t forget that parents looked at their chidren as assets, that is, as cheap labor. That was a trade-off, I suppose. The older uses of marriage (harems and politics) are still around today.

    The state had an interest in such marriage and made it a legal institution. Homosexual marriage–as an institution–would be quite inferior in producing the same effects deemed so salutary by the state. Accordingly, the preferential legal treatment given heterosexual marriage was quite logical.

    Frankly, after taking away the prejudices of the state, I see no logic in providing marital benefits (other than by contract) to EITHER gays or straights. Now put that in your pipe and smoke it.

  • http://www.brucealderman.info/blog/ BruceA

    Rhapsody -

    I don’t really get the despondency that’s still going around at this late stage.

    I think it’s probably due to the closeness of the last two elections (both of which went the wrong way), questions about the accuracy of voting machines, the unknown of whether young people will vote in large numbers, and countless other factors.

    I also think its the nature of conservatives to believe things at a gut level and never question them, and liberals to question and doubt and wait for verification before being certain.

    Finally, after eight years of George W. Bush, it’s hard to be hopeful.

  • Richard P

    I think that this election will be rigged so that McCain wins.. the country will go up in chaos. The military will be called in. George Bush will refuse to turn over power. The USA will begin it’s term of terror as a police state, with it’s newly beloved dictator….. but this is only because of my lack of faith.

  • Crotch

    I find your lack of faith disturbing.

  • Jennifer A. Burdoo

    I am cautiously optimistic. I’m also pessimistic because I have watched Democrats throw away opportunities in the past, but Obama has run a pretty tight campaign. What hurts is that I’ve always liked McCain, probably because I grew up in Arizona. I think he would make a good president (far better than Dubya, anyway), regardless of my disagreements with his policies. Sarah Palin, though… Brrr.

  • silentsanta

    I’m with Sam on this one. I expect that Proposition 8 will go through, unfortunately… while the figures for Obama are inspiring, I don’t quite have enough faith in humanity to think that an enormous proportion of Obama supporters will vote no on prop 8.
    He’s excelled at uniting people, but I think Obama presents a much more approachable face for swing voters than something than Gay Marriage witch many people sadly still find unsettling.

  • silentsanta

    which. Lord, I’m operating on very little sleep.

  • Valhar2000

    Holy shit, are the elections not over yet? When will they end?

    Anyway, I myself am somewhat optimistic about Obama’s chances, though not very optimistic otherwise. I think Obama may win, but he will preside over a very deeply divided country, and will not able to do anything about it. Eventually, another lunatic will be elected, and anything Obama has acheived will be destroyed. This vicious circle will repeated until the US is so utterly destroyed that even the most faithful of the faithful realize that maybe, just maybe, they were sold a bill of goods (much like Germany after WW2, and no, this is not a Godwin).

    So, like much of modern history, two steps forward, one step back.

  • mikespeir

    Obama wins, some idiot neo-Nazi or other right-wrung nutjob can’t stomach the thought of a “black” or “Muslim” president, decides to pull an Oswald, and sends the whole world into tumult.

    My fear, too, cl.

  • bestonnet

    Kaltrosomos:

    Another thing to consider is the number of conservatives/undecided voters who refuse to speak with pollsters. If liberals are disproportionately talking to pollsters, that also inflates Obama’s numbers.

    What about the liberals who don’t talk to pollsters?

    Kaltrosomos:

    Another factor is a possibly considerable defection of Clinton Democrats for McCain.

    LOL. Didn’t you hear that McCain picked Sarah Palin as running mate?

    Look, pretty much the only way for McCain to win would be massive electoral fraud (though Obama might not win by as much as the polls predict for him to lose with the lead he has would require foul play).

    Valhar2000:

    Anyway, I myself am somewhat optimistic about Obama’s chances, though not very optimistic otherwise. I think Obama may win, but he will preside over a very deeply divided country, and will not able to do anything about it. Eventually, another lunatic will be elected, and anything Obama has acheived will be destroyed. This vicious circle will repeated until the US is so utterly destroyed that even the most faithful of the faithful realize that maybe, just maybe, they were sold a bill of goods (much like Germany after WW2, and no, this is not a Godwin).

    Well you have made the comparison so Godwin’s law does apply to this thread, but anyway, legitimate comparisons to Nazi Germany are perfectly fine (and the religious riech in the US certainly has many similarities to the Nazis) with Godwin’s law being more about the ones that aren’t legitimate.

    In the long term demographics will deal with the religious right if they can be prevented from doing major damage but the US isn’t safe yet and won’t be for at least a few decades. The fact that the economic crisis was largely caused by Republicans and the US populous knows it probably has a lot to do with the Republican massive defeat looming.

    As for what those of us in the rest of the world are doing, we’re hoping that the election hasn’t been too rigged and that the non-religious can get major influence in the democratic party to counter the wannabe theocrats. If not then we’ll hope that the US becomes a third world nation peacefully (at least to the rest of the world).

  • RiddleOfSteel

    Here are my predictions:

    1) Obama will win the election. But in the event of a loss, 500 lawyers will be in place to claim a fraudulent and rigged voting process. (The clandestine effort to train Democratic voters on how to mess up a ballot was halted, when it was found Dem voters already had that “skill”.)

    2) After the win, Obama will handle difficult Washington Press corp questioning, by complaining that reporters are engaged in negative attacks. Sam Donaldson will then experience the same thrill up his leg as Chris Mathews.

    3) Obama will follow through on his “change we can believe in” mantra, by only supporting 95% of Democratic initiatives, as opposed to the 96% he supported in party line votes prior to the election.

    4) Continuing to build on previous strategy, Obama will not sign or veto a single piece of legislation during his first four years in office, thus keeping a clean record for the 2012 contest, the campaign for which will begin on Jan 21, 2009.

    5) Obama will defend his lack of accomplishment in the Whitehouse, by claiming he is too involved in the 2012 campaign.

    6) Illinois residents will demand a refund for the 2.5 years Obama spent campaigning for president. Mayor Daley will respond by bulldozing the O’Hare Airport runways in the middle of the night (as he did previously with now defunct Meigs Field), until residents back off the refund petition.

    7) True believers will respond to Obama’s failure to remove troops from Iraq by asking everyone to “just believe” there are no troops in Iraq.

    8) Obama will follow through on his campaign promise to build “God’s Kingdom” here on earth, by supporting a pork project to build “God’s Kingdom Amusement Park and Petting Zoo” in Branson, Missouri.

  • Joffan

    An interesting thread developing here and a strong demonstration, if it were needed, that atheists do not constitute a voting bloc.

    I applaud Kaltrosomos‘ boldness in predictions, although I disagree with them completely. In looking for a McCain win in California, however, I think the predictions have drifted into either folly or self-satire.

    For Larry: I’d speculate on the existence of an anti-Bradley effect, where people whose social groups casually use racist language don’t want to admit they’re voting for Obama.

    I wonder, sometimes, how much secret ballot changes the voting patterns of communities. It allows dissent without repercussions (assuming the sysem is honest) and then publishes that dissent in anonymous form, which is good, breaking free of a preconception of unanimity. However all the discussion and opinion forming is held in the open. In a small community it may be hard to hold an open debate, and publicize all points of view.

  • Polly

    You guys are dreaming about 400+EV for Obama. It wouldn’t surprise me if McCain won (by a small margin). The support of the youth means precisely nothing. Young people don’t vote – they didn’t come through for Gore or Kerry. All those large rallies also mean nothing. In the end there are tens of millions that don’t attend rallies, don’t get interviewed or polled, but they vote.

    I hope Prop 8 goes down in flames, but it’s really close – I have friends who are Mormon, nevertheless, FUCKING MORMONS!!

    So what if Democrats control both houses? They’ve shown that they’re no better than Republicans when it comes to matters of military spending. Plus, the one and only argument McCain has made for his candidacy that actually makes some small sense is that it’s better to have opposite parties in the executive and legislative branches.

    I don’t support either candidate and am voting 3rd party. I know Nader will not win, nor will McKinney, or Baar. So, I do hope that Obama will win given the awful choice. Either way, the US is about to make another huge mistake.

    I’ll take up the Godwin mantle. McCain’s rallies look like 1930s Germany. He’s got the good herren volk so afraid of a takeover by the Jewish, communist Muslim & socialist cabal that they’re breathing out epithets that are more rightly reserved to the KKK, ie “off with his head” “kill him”, “terrorist” etc. McCain refers to the Vietnemese who saved his pitiful life, as “gooks” and hopes that our export of cigarettes kill more Iranians. He’s a racist and an ignormaus.
    Just a few days before the financial meltdown, he was talking about how sound the economy is. He tried to backtrack by attributing his statements to the workers of the country. Does anyone buy that? Utter bullshit.

    He keeps saying he knows how to fix the economy and get OBL. Really, John? Why don’t you tell us instead of holding out until you’re elected? Do some REAL** service to your country that doesn’t involve blowing up peasants in Southeast Asian jungles.

    Obama is little better. He promises to win the “good war.” He doesn’t mind invading Pakistan to get the terrorists. Does anone even remember that the Taliban =/= Al-Qaeda? We harbor Cuban terrorists on our own soil, intentionally. Should our government be overthrown? He promises the world and the sun, but he won’t deliver on any of it. Just like Clinton, he’ll talk about healthcare but won’t do a damn thing. I don’t see how he could even if he intended to. Our government spends so much on developing the military and subsidizing industry – those same country club motherfuckers who talk about small government – that it can’t possibly afford to do anything but initiate a few token programs for the bottom rungs.

    **Stupid Americans praise a man as a war hero who bombarded villages from 30,000ft. IF he was tortured it’s the same treatment metted out to middle easterners in prisons at the hands of Americans without a shred of evidence against them, today. At best, I pity him and others like him for being forced/tricked into a moral quagmire.

  • Joffan

    I’ll clarify, Polly, that my 400+EV for Obama was in fun. My serious prediction is about 360EV for Obama, 59 Dem/Ind Senators, about 250 Dem Representatives.

    On a world view, Obama’s election will do much to temper negative opinions of America, at least temporarily, and allow some breathing space to make good on expectations. A decisive Obama win, as per my numbers, would be slightly more effective that a marginal win for this, but to a large degree a win is a win.

  • J Myers

    Polly, if you know a 3rd party candidate won’t win, and you honestly think that Obama is better choice for the country than McCain, how can you vote for a 3rd party candidate in good conscience? What does this accomplish?

  • Valhar2000

    J Myers:

    The only way to break the 2 party system is for enough people to vote for 3rd party candidates, and the only way to do that is to have a few people voting for them at first. Somebody has to do it; it might as well be Polly.

  • Valhar2000

    And by the way: rather than comparing McCain’s supporters to the Nazis, I was comparing the reaction of a country to the absolute failure of a social, governmental and religous system, and its subsequent enthusiastic acceptance of something very different. Germany provides the best known example. That’s why I said it was not a Godwin.

  • http://anexerciseinfutility.blogspot.com Tommykey

    I live in New York, and to borrow from Senator McCain, this morning I voted for “that one.”

  • Samuel Skinner

    For those curious, there have been 2 assassination attempts, both stopped by the secret service. lets give a hand to those guys!

    On the subject of the two party system… ha! The problem is structural. You can’t fix it. It is better to simply join a party and change it. That historically HAS worked.

  • Polly

    @J Myers,

    Fair question. I’ll respond with a question: What part of “huge mistake” was unclear? In my view, Obama’s only slightly less evil than McCain. I mean that. It’s not the “pefect becoming the enemy of the good.” I’m nowhere near a perfectionist or an idealist. It’s more like “the good being the enemy of the really awful.”

    It’s not my responsibility to go with the herd. It is my responsibility to vote for the candidate that I think is best suited to govern. Otherwise, our “democracy” will become an even bigger farce than it already is.

  • Leum

    Plus, the one and only argument McCain has made for his candidacy that actually makes some small sense is that it’s better to have opposite parties in the executive and legislative branches.

    Unless, of course, one of those parties is so corrupt, immoral, and intellectually bankrupt that it shouldn’t be trusted to manage a hot dog stand.

    The only way to break the 2 party system is for enough people to vote for 3rd party candidates, and the only way to do that is to have a few people voting for them at first.

    I disagree, it’ll take a lot more. The only way to break the two-party system is to fundamentally restructure the government on all levels. It would probably require a Constitutional Convention.

  • Joffan

    The obvious and most likely process to break the two-party system is that one of the parties splits. This could in principle happen to either party in the next few years.

    The Republicans, assuming they lose today, may indulge in sufficient recrimination to schism between fiscal and social conservatives.

    The Democrats, if they win today or perhaps if they make more Senate gains in 2010, may throw off an initially cooperative but increasingly competitive progressive wing.

    I’m not sure that a third party generated from either of these possibilities would necessarily lead to a wholesale three-party system, though. More likely it would shake back down in a decade or so into two parties. I think a more significant reform, as Leum illustrated, would be required, probably including changing the voting system and tightly restricting election spending (and, of course, enforcing that restriction).

  • http://atheistthinktank.net L6

    It’s funny how we have the rock-paper-scissors of the branches of government, but not of political parties.

  • CJ

    In the event of someone “pulling an Oswald,” I would remind you that Joe Biden would take control of the presidency, with VP possibly going to Michelle Obama or even (here’s a nightmare for the Right) Pelosi. So even if one of these skinheads gets through with their plan, it’s not going to have McCain win by default.

  • http://stepping-stones.livejournal.com/ D

    I have too much personal investment in the outcome to rationally predict what will happen without tainting it with “what I really really hope will happen.”

    That said, I hope Obama wins and things improve some.

    I do have one prediction in the event that McCain wins and dies of old age in office: if Sarah Palin becomes President of the USA, the world will come to an end. Literally. Her overwhelming stupidity will run our nation into the ground, and somehow manage to bring the rest of the world with it.

    Even though I know he’s not a saint, Obama is far and away the best choice in this election. “Little better,” my eye; the stuff the GOP is raising on him is trivial, insignificant, or downright false, which indicates that if that’s the best they can do, he’s squeaky-frickin’-clean. On top of that, you’re not just voting for a person as a person, you’re voting for a suite of policies that will be pushed through that person by the party backing them. As has been pointed out here and elsewhere, the GOP has shown themselves to be the party of theocracy, bigotry, ignorance, fascism, and insanity. If you’re a CEO or similarly highly-paid executive with short term interests and no desire to help your fellow humans or the environment, then yeah, McCain’s gonna be your guy. If not, however, you have no excuse not to vote for Obama – that third party noise is weak sauce, at least at this point in time. If the election determined merely the specifics of how we’d prosper in the coming four years, and who would reap the most benefits, and generally how to tweak our resounding success, then yes, I am in favor of more parties and more options. But in this election, the choices are simple: vote for “struggling out of the toilet,” or vote for “further down the shitter.” Since, as you’ve said, Nader isn’t going to win, then voting for him does nothing.

    The GOP votes as a bloc because they’re able to rally their troops under a banner. Independent thinkers don’t work like that, we want choices and we think reason ought to prevail despite numbers – and this is what splinters the left and lets the GOP have their way. If everyone was an independent thinker and could not be swayed by “us vs. them” politics, if everyone abandoned partisan thinking and would educate themselves on the issues, if everyone looked into things with an open and rational mind to decide their position, then we could talk about third, fourth, fifth parties. Until that time, we need to unite against the clearly backwards elements which are capitalizing on the worst aspects of society. Now is simply not the time to vote independent.

  • RiddleOfSteel

    Polly wrote: I don’t support either candidate and am voting 3rd party. I know Nader will not win, nor will McKinney, or Baar.

    As a collector of old cars (or old junk as my wife would claim), I can’t vote for the guy who “killed the Corvair” and contributed to the end of the muscle car era style. So Ralph Nadar is out for penning “Unsafe At Any Speed”. If I want to crash due to a single master cylinder failure, or get impaled by a non-collapsing steering column, that should be my right as an American;) Seriously though, if you own an old car, consider upgrading to a dual master cylinder, else you may loose all braking due to single system failure. I found out the hard way one day while driving my 1965 Mustang, as did the car in front of me.

  • http://www.thewarfareismental.info cl

    CJ wrote,

    In the event of someone “pulling an Oswald,” I would remind you that Joe Biden would take control of the presidency, with VP possibly going to Michelle Obama or even (here’s a nightmare for the Right) Pelosi. So even if one of these skinheads gets through with their plan, it’s not going to have McCain win by default.

    No need to remind me, and I didn’t imply that an Oswald would “have McCain win by default.” It would, however, throw the nation and world into tumult, IMO.

  • Chase Johnson

    I think, as some other commenters have noted, that the two-party system is structural. It probably would take a constitutional convention to break the two-party system. All the suggestions about how its possible to break the two-party system ignore the dichotomy between transient and steady state behavior of a system. Two-party is the steady state behavior of the American electoral system. Even when a third party rises to prominence, it either rapidly falls away again, or it becomes one of the two major parties. No matter what you do, within the current political framework things will always settle down into two parties. To destroy the two-party system we need to utilize a different voting system, like instant runoff voting, Condorcet, or Approval voting. First-past-the-post is archaic and mathematically very bad, and I believe is the biggest contributor to the two-party system being our steady-state.

    The other issue is winner-take-all. If our state representatives were proportionally allocated based on statewide vote, that would help get in third parties that can’t win an entire district by themselves. That sort of change would be quite controversial, and I’m not entirely sure its a good idea to move away from district-based representation.

  • J Myers

    Fair question. I’ll respond with a question: What part of “huge mistake” was unclear?

    The part right before that, where you said’ “I do hope that Obama will win given the awful choice.” The supposed “awful choice” is a given.. are you hoping for a huge mistake, then? If your statement is to be believed, you want Obama to win under these circumstances… wouldn’t the sensible course of action be to vote for him?

    In my view, Obama’s only slightly less evil than McCain.

    In what sense is he evil at all? Your “invading” Pakistan comment is terrifically unfair; Obama, to my knowledge, does not endorse the seizing of land, nor the subjugation of any part of the population, nor the toppling of Pakistan’s goverment, any one or combination of which might rightly be considered a military invasion. Obama advocates a continuation of what you might have realized is an existing strategy: isolated attacks against Taliban and Al Qaeda military targets in Pakistan when the Pakistani government is unwilling to carry out these operations and also unwilling to authorize our forces to do so. Incidentally, the remarks McCain made about this during the second debate were, in my opinion the dumbest of the many dumb things he’s said in the course of this campaign. McCain 1)misleadingly labeled Obama’s statement as support for “an invasion of Pakistan,” presumably in effort to shock people with the idea, but then 2) went on to imply that he would do the exact same thing, and then 3) he continued to say that he wouldn’t say so outright as to not “tip our hand,” even though such attacks were already occurring, and 4) everyone–including Pakistan–should at least suspect that any president would be likely to continue this strategy, even if (perhaps especially if) that particular president publicly states otherwise. And this distilled stupidity was offered on a foreign policy issue–supposedly McCain’s strong suit…

    Now, you may disagree with such a strategy in general, but then Obama is no worse than McCain on this issue, so there is no point in highlighting it in the context of this discussion as one of Obama’s faults. Likewise with the Taliban/Al Qaeda distinction. Your other remarks basically state that you don’t see how Obama will be able to accomplish any of the goals he’s outlined, which, when offered as a criticism, imply that you at least sympathize with these goals.

    Where is the evil here?

    It’s not my responsibility to go with the herd.

    And who so much as implied that it was?

    It is my responsibility to vote for the candidate that I think is best suited to govern. Otherwise, our “democracy” will become an even bigger farce than it already is.

    False dichotomy. In fact, these things aren’t even mutually exclusive; I would argue that casting your vote in what is, at best, a symbolic gesture, rather that voting in effort to bring about what you consider to be the best achievable scenario is itself a disservice to our democracy.

  • bestonnet

    Joffan:

    An interesting thread developing here and a strong demonstration, if it were needed, that atheists do not constitute a voting bloc.

    Atheists actually are a voting bloc, just one that is prone to disagreements and which has many people who haven’t got their priorities straight (although despite the pro-theocracy atheists probably are just a vocal minority).

    Polly:

    I don’t support either candidate and am voting 3rd party. I know Nader will not win, nor will McKinney, or Baar. So, I do hope that Obama will win given the awful choice. Either way, the US is about to make another huge mistake.

    valhal2000:

    The only way to break the 2 party system is for enough people to vote for 3rd party candidates, and the only way to do that is to have a few people voting for them at first. Somebody has to do it; it might as well be Polly.

    There is some merit there but the threat of Sarah Palin becoming US president is dire enough to take precedence. Besides, voting for a third party would only be effective in getting some reform if third parties keep taking enough votes away from a major party to give an election to their opposition which doesn’t seem very likely to happen often. I personally doubt you’ll manage to get away from a two party system, maybe get rid of the spoiler effect through using preferential ballots, and it should be noted that two party systems do have the advantage of actually getting things done and not being held to the single issue of a small minority party that most of the population oppose (which can be a problem when coalitions are needed to form government).

    Still, that should really wait until the crap that Bush has done has been reversed.

    valhal2000:

    And by the way: rather than comparing McCain’s supporters to the Nazis, I was comparing the reaction of a country to the absolute failure of a social, governmental and religous system, and its subsequent enthusiastic acceptance of something very different. Germany provides the best known example. That’s why I said it was not a Godwin.

    Probably the biggest difference though is that the blame is placed on who deserves it in this case (i.e. the Republican party).

    Joffan:

    The Republicans, assuming they lose today, may indulge in sufficient recrimination to schism between fiscal and social conservatives.

    Probably not, though the factions that aren’t religious reich might have an opportunity to take the party back. The demographic shift is against the religious reich so the Republican party is going to have to throw them off at some point in time if it is to survive although that assumes that the demographics shift is allowed to continue (as opposed to being violently stopped by a theocracy).

  • Vin

    Hey guys. I’m actually rootig for McCain. I don’t see the wisdom of taking money out of productive people’s pocket and putting it into those who are not. Also taxing business more just means job cuts and passing those taxes onto the final cost for consumers…not a good idea right now. Do we really need to grow the goverment right now?

  • Polly

    J Myers,
    Vote however you wish. I’ll do the same.

  • Kaltrosomos

    “Look, pretty much the only way for McCain to win would be massive electoral fraud”

    bestonnet, why do you assume the only way McCain can win is by fraud? That is just like what happened in 2004. Liberals thought Kerry was going to win, and he didn’t. Response? They shouted “Fraud!”. But it wasn’t. It just turned out more conservative votes came in than liberal ones.

    This is, in a way, a fascinating social experiment. Do people only like democracy when they’re in the majority?

  • http://www.whyihatejesus.blogspot.com/ OMGF

    I thought the polls showed a tight race in 2004 that could have gone either way, so I’m not sure what you are getting at Kaltrosomos.

  • lpetrich

    Except that there’s a little something called Duverger’s Law. In a first-past-the-post system, many people fear wasting votes on candidates unlikely to win, so they end up voting for the likeliest ones. Additional candidates often get considered “spoilers”, because by attracting votes from the better of the two biggest candidates, they can enable the worse one to win.

  • Polly

    because by attracting votes from the better of the two biggest candidates, they can enable the worse one to win.

    This is a real effect but it cuts both ways. Nader ws blamed for Gore’s defeat in 2000, but independent Libertarian candidates are likely to siphon votes away from Republicans, too.

    The most logical strategy, as far as I can tell, is to vote 3rd party in uncontested states, while those in swing states could vote for the closest major party analog of their favorite 3rd party candidate. This gives the 3rd party a chance to grow while keeping the “bad guys” (whoever that may be to you) out of office.
    I don’t know if there’s a name for this strategy. “Duverger’s effect” is new to me.

  • nfpendleton

    Hopefully the election will stand as an object lesson for future politicians. From the opening days to the closing moments, the Obama campaign has run the cleanest, most substantive, and most positive bid for the White House I’ve seen in over a decade. He stayed on point, avoided traps, kept his people honest and motivated. In stark contrast we received from McCain and his lackeys shovels full of same-old-same-old sleazy politics: namecalling, fearmongering, race-baiting, personal attacks, bad theater, and baldfaced lies.

    The fact that the race is as close as it is says more about the state of our nation and where it’s people’s heads are than the way Mr. and Mrs. Obama conducted themselves. He should have and does deserves a landslide victory tonight. I know he’s personally made our household proud to not only be Americans again, but members of a world community.

    It’s finally time to start the 21st Century in earnest and leave that crusty, ugly old fail of the past eight years behind.

  • Kaltrosomos

    “I thought the polls showed a tight race in 2004 that could have gone either way, so I’m not sure what you are getting at Kaltrosomos.”

    I thought the polls gave Kerry the lead, even if it wasn’t a huge lead. I’m just saying that polls and the media can be misleading and things can go south (in more ways than one) very fast.

  • bestonnet

    Polls tend to have an error margin of a few percent so if the polls are indicating a close race it usually means “could go either way”, when the difference is what it is at the moment though…

    Besides, there were some apparent irregularities in 2004 that may have been more than the margin Bush won by (i.e. could have cost Kerry the election).

    nfpendleton:

    The fact that the race is as close as it is says more about the state of our nation and where it’s people’s heads are than the way Mr. and Mrs. Obama conducted themselves.

    As we outside the states say: “Only in America”.

  • Larry Kulp

    So it begins. I am still predicting a close race. The Republicans are notorious for closing gaps in the last 24 hours and winning elections against all predictions.

    I’ve heard various theories about this–like great last-minute coordination skills, for example. All total BS. I know the real reason: Appearing to show support for the left is cool, hip, rebellious, altruistic, and even intellectual. Appearing to show support for the right is square, conventional, selfish, and definitely shallow. But when people get in the privacy of the voting booth, they have nobody to impress, and they vote their true feelings.

    Obama, though, is overwhelmingly cool. The best damn demagogue I have ever seen in my 64 years. If it were not for his incredible “hipness,” I think the American people would soundly reject his philosophy. And most people don’t have a clue what that philosophy is, anyway.

  • Larry Kulp

    nfpendleton:

    “I know he’s [Obama] personally made our household proud to not only be Americans again, but members of a world community.”

    Yep. I can hardly wait for the world’s most prosperous and enlightened nation to become part of the rest of the world, you know, to finally commune with all those other peoples led by thugs, mobs, fascists, socialists, communists, and theocrats. Yeah, to meld and become one with all those other cess pools of collectivism, tyranny, mediocrity, and stagnation. Yeah, it feels so comfy and cozy that we’re going to be—-together at last.

  • J Myers

    @ Polly,

    Vote however you wish. I’ll do the same.

    Of course. Allow me to join you in hoping for a huge mistake :)

  • Larry Kulp

    Kaltrosomos:

    “Do people only like democracy when they’re in the majority?”

    Probably, especially in these modern times when government is so pervasive and powerful. Back in the old days, the average person really didn’t give a damn, because government had little direct effect on their lives. But now, our glorious democracy is turning all of us into mutual enemies. When you can see everyone else as a potential mugger, it does not make for good will.

    I have not ascribed to democracy for a long time. Toynbee believed that democracy was a degenerate phase of civilization, because such a civilization eventually begins to feed on itself and weaken. At some point, the moochers will outnumber the producers, and disintegration ensues. America is getting there, if it’s not there already.

    Speaking of Toynbee, he also thought that monarchy was probably the healthiest form of government, because kings looked at their domains as being (at least indirectly) their own property. Kings, therefore, were motivated to increase and protect wealth.

    BTW, anyone care to contribute to my campaign: “Kulp for King.”

  • http://stepping-stones.livejournal.com/ D

    Katrosomos, you said, “This is, in a way, a fascinating social experiment. Do people only like democracy when they’re in the majority?”

    Actually, I think there’s another factor at play. Those who say McCain can only win by fraud are probably smuggling in premises close to, “Obama is by far the candidate for rational people to vote for,” and, “Most people are rational,” and therefore Obama “must” win. I wish things worked this way, to be honest. But that may be steering things as much as (or even more than) a preference for democracy when things “go your way.” For my own part, I would not mind being on the losing side of an election if it was between two candidates who disagreed on the finer points of issues but were largely rational, and differences came down to mere professional disagreements. That’s simply not the case in this election, the comparison is much starker.

    Larry Kulp, as of 8:40 PM CST, Obama has an even 200. If he takes California (55), Washington (11), and Hawaii (4), he wins even if every other state from here on out goes red. Things are looking nice from where I’m sitting.

    Also, hooray for Hagan winning the NC senate seat!

  • http://kdegraaf.net/blog/ Kevin DeGraaf

    Ding, dong, the witch is dead! I’m not exactly thrilled about the way Hagan has responded to Dole’s bigoted smear campaign, but at least the greater of two evils has been thrown out of office.

    (By the way, the comment posting times are off by an hour. WordPress == lame.)

  • nfpendleton

    That’s right, Kulp. It’s just the US against the evil Earthlings. We’re the ONLY nation on earth. I forgot. Man, that was a dumb statement…

    Your idiot remarks prove my other point perfectly, and you helped me to remember an item I’d forgotten to add to my list: Republican use of xenophobia. So thanks for that.

    Now go crawl back into your hole and wait for marching instructions from Limbaugh tomorrow.

  • Nes

    Looks like CNN is calling it for Obama, and McCain is giving a concession speech.

  • Kaltrosomos

    Well, looks like I was completely wrong.

  • Richard P

    Wow, Am I ever glad I was wrong… I think I will actually sleep better knowing Mr. bush no longer has his finger on the button.
    Wahooo!!!

  • http://liquidthinker.wordpress.com LiquidThinker

    Not to be a damper or anything, but sadly it looks like Prop. 8 is winning 53% to 47% (33% precincts reporting now). Crazy, disappointing, and .. at a loss for words, actually. But at least Obama is in. Also, a win for Hagan!

  • Alex Weaver

    It was at 54 to 46 with 21% reporting. It’s ticking downwards and a lot of the Bay Area isn’t in yet. There’s still hope; if not, there’s 2010.

  • Leum

    For those who haven’t seen them, Obama’s victory speech and McCain’s concession.

  • Eric

    Yes we could. (And we did)

    My nation has become better than I thought it was.

  • RiddleOfSteel

    In stark contrast we received from McCain and his lackeys shovels full of same-old-same-old sleazy politics: namecalling, fearmongering, race-baiting, personal attacks, bad theater, and baldfaced lies.

    Is it too much to hope that the election will put an end to this type of partisan bull rhetoric? Probably.

    On a more positive note, anyone make it out to the Chicago Obama rally? I just got back. Didn’t have a ticket, but hung out at the overflow area with the jumbotrons. Then over to the hotel to try and catch Obama leaving for the rally – no luck. Finally found a spot across from the rally and heard the various speeches. A historic moment regardless of political leanings. I hope Obama makes a great president.

  • lpetrich

    So it begins. I am still predicting a close race. The Republicans are notorious for closing gaps in the last 24 hours and winning elections against all predictions.

    They’re VERY good at unsavory demagoguery, like appealing to people’s fears and presenting their opponents as enemies of the American people. Consider the sort of robocalls they make to many people in the last days of a campaign, like where they described Barack Obama as a vile Satanic Communist monster. And consider Republican intimidation of voters in some places with their “Ballot Security Task Forces” and the like.

    I’ve heard various theories about this–like great last-minute coordination skills, for example.

    Barack Obama had beaten John McCain with the help of his well-organized campaign machine, so I wouldn’t dismiss that theory outright. When I see all those Republican crybaby sore losers, I think that these must be great footsoldiers in a campaign army.

    All total BS. I know the real reason: Appearing to show support for the left is cool, hip, rebellious, altruistic, and even intellectual. Appearing to show support for the right is square, conventional, selfish, and definitely shallow. But when people get in the privacy of the voting booth, they have nobody to impress, and they vote their true feelings.

    Evidence: {}

    Obama, though, is overwhelmingly cool. The best damn demagogue I have ever seen in my 64 years. If it were not for his incredible “hipness,” I think the American people would soundly reject his philosophy. And most people don’t have a clue what that philosophy is, anyway.

    And what is that alleged “philosophy”?

    nfpendleton: “I know he’s [Obama] personally made our household proud to not only be Americans again, but members of a world community.”

    Yep. I can hardly wait for the world’s most prosperous and enlightened nation to become part of the rest of the world, you know, to finally commune with all those other peoples led by thugs, mobs, fascists, socialists, communists, and theocrats. Yeah, to meld and become one with all those other cess pools of collectivism, tyranny, mediocrity, and stagnation. Yeah, it feels so comfy and cozy that we’re going to be—-together at last.

    Is the rest of humanity really that subhuman? Is all your knowledge of the rest of humanity drawn from Rush Limbaugh’s talk shows? Why don’t you visit other countries and see for yourself?

    Back in the old days, the average person really didn’t give a damn, because government had little direct effect on their lives. But now, our glorious democracy is turning all of us into mutual enemies. When you can see everyone else as a potential mugger, it does not make for good will.

    That’s extremely stupid. Larry Kulp, I’m surprised that you haven’t moved to Somalia, which must be a utopia as a result of its wimpy government.

    But in the real world, governments are not necessarily as oppressive as you seem to believe, Larry Kulp. Do you feel oppressed by a cop who protects you?

    I have not ascribed to democracy for a long time. Toynbee believed that democracy was a degenerate phase of civilization, because such a civilization eventually begins to feed on itself and weaken. At some point, the moochers will outnumber the producers, and disintegration ensues. America is getting there, if it’s not there already.

    What evidence did Toynbee have? This looks like a content-free assertion.

    As to moochers vs. producers, that’s a Marxist concept: moochers = bourgeoisie (exploiting class) and producers = proletariat (working class).

    Speaking of Toynbee, he also thought that monarchy was probably the healthiest form of government, because kings looked at their domains as being (at least indirectly) their own property. Kings, therefore, were motivated to increase and protect wealth.

    More content-free assertions. Absolute monarchies have not exactly driven other nations into bankruptcy. And “the world’s most prosperous and enlightened nation” has been monarchy-free since its successful revolt against King George III, though some Presidents have tried to act like monarchs.

  • Valhar2000

    Speaking of Toynbee, he also thought that monarchy was probably the healthiest form of government, because kings looked at their domains as being (at least indirectly) their own property. Kings, therefore, were motivated to increase and protect wealth.

    Well, it seems that motivation did not translate well into effective action, because monarchies have historically not done that well when it comes to creating wealth and prosperity. As Lpetrich says, the most prosperous nations nowadays are republics, or republican monarchies (where the king is just a figurehead).

  • John

    Adam,

    “Congratulations” doesn’t seem to be the right word but, even as a Marylander, I am very pleased and happy for you that Kay Hagan took down Elizabeth Duhl. Even in red state, Christian North Carolina, stating her anti-religious sentiments so openly was seen as dirty. From a local NC TV website article:

    Charlie Murphy, 69, of Knightdale said Helms’ infamous ad from 1990 that showed white hands crumpling a job rejection letter while a narrator slammed racial quotas was more acceptable than Dole’s spot.

    “It was one of the worst I’ve ever seen,” Murphy said. “Even the ‘white hands’ one wasn’t over the line as much. It was over the line, but not as much as this one.”

    That’s just plain sad.

  • Lux Aeterna

    Obama won, but Prop 8 got passed. Damn.

  • CommiusRex

    Prop 8 isn’t confirmed yet – 52% to 48% with 95% reporting. We could yet avoid institutionalised bigotry…

  • Polly

    Well, looks like I was completely wrong.

    Me, too. I was way off. Looks like the American people have given Obama (dare I say it) a mandate.

    I’m still pessimistic. He’s SO cautious even in his victory speech. He has too much pressure on him against making any “big” moves, taking any big risks, or to depart from the standard US operations manual. The hawks are going to look for signs of “weakness” in his foreign policy. We’ll see.

    The one good thing – actually, 2 good things counting McCain and the arctic airhead losing – is that I have a much higher opinion of the American people than I had 24 hours ago. I really didn’t think they’d vote for a clearly better candidate if he was also black(ish). I’m shocked that a state like Ohio could see past race.

    His positions aside, I’m happy about the symbolism of an Obama election. It demonstrated that Americans are not in the thrall of xenophobic tactics and that the morons shouting at McCain rallies are the neaderthals of our society – doomed to extinction.

    Even last night they were incapable of demonstrating a tiny amount of class or graciousness: still booing still shouting here and there. A lousy lot.

    CA on the other hand, sorely disappointed me. I can’t believe Prop 8 is going through.
    Tangentially: I heard yesterday that Gavin Newsom (SF mayor) actually opposed decriminalizing prostitution.
    Heh, suddenly Cali is looking like a bastion of social conservativism.

    I’m pleased that Prop 2 passed. I hope it works out – for the animals as well as the humans.

    I voted exclusively democrat on state rep’s. First time I’ve EVER voted for a democrat for anything. Before the Shrub invasion I wouldn’t have voted democrat for city dogcatcher. Thanks Bush for opening my eyes.

  • David W.

    First of all…Congratulations Obama!

    Secondly, quick point. Anyone who thinks that a 3+ party system can work, has obviously never lived in a country where such a system exists. In short, it simply does not work….multiple parties will always collapse back into a two party system. The reason is simple. Politics, and in particular the presidential race, is a zero some, winner takes all game. There is only one president, and you either win it or you don’t. End result? Here’s a simplified scenario:

    you have five parties…A,B,C,D,E all sharing some percentage of the vote. A & B, who have somewhat similar political ideals (at least more similar than the others) and are desperate to have their agenda passed, realize that the only way they can guarantee this, is to form a coalition by reaching some sort of compromise on their differing issues. They form said coalition significantly raising their voter base. C,D,E now realize that without some sort of coalition, they stand no chance…and abracadabra….your five party system collapses back into two.

    I’ve seen it happen repeatedly…….6 serious balanced parties one election, 2 the next.

  • lpetrich

    And Larry Kulp thought that there would be a Bradley Effect or a Shy Tory Effect. There’s one little problem — the election results were very close to the results of various polls in the days shortly before. It seems like the pollsters have gotten very good at extrapolating from their poll samples to actual votes, taking into account various selection effects.

  • jack

    My wife and I live in California, so we had the pleasure of voting against prop 8. Sadly, today we have the pain of seeing it pass anyway. But last night we had a delightful time watching Obama win, and it was nice that California’s 55 electoral votes pushed him over the top. McCain’s speech was truly great… he was at his best. Too bad we could not have seen more of that grandeur during the campaign.

    Obama’s speech was even greater. What a thrill it was to see the tears of joy in the audience. This morning we put up our flag in front of our house, just to say how proud we are of our country on this special occasion.

    I hope Obama will be a truly great president, because our country really needs one after the mess that W made of the last 8 years.

  • MisterDomino

    I’m shocked that a state like Ohio could see past race.

    Polly, being from Ohio, I resent that. Greatly.

    Most people I know in Ohio that voted for McCain did so because they thought Obama meant higher taxes. Even in rural areas, people don’t vote based on skin color; they vote based on the size of their wallet.

    Any stories you heard about “I won’t vote for the nigger” in Ohio were either exaggerated or stated by some fringe lunatic that couldn’t merit speaking for a cockroach, let alone an entire state. In fact, I asked my lifelong NRA member, GED-Jr. cousin if Obama’s race mattered to him. He answered, “No more than it does McCain being a gold digger from Arizona. F%#&in’ Arizona, man, those people are out there.”

    Ohio isn’t the South and we didn’t have Jim Crow laws, so please don’t lob us in the same boat with the you-know-what states.

    Sheesh, I’ll probably be repeating this until the day I die.

  • nfpendleton

    When I heard that Prop 8 was passed, I was floored. Rachael Maddow expressed it exactly: It was a prop designed to revoke an established right. This is a travesty.

    I hope those who supported Prop 8 are happy with themselves–they’ve caused sorrow and injustice in real people’s real lives.

  • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/daylightatheism Ebonmuse

    Regarding hypotheses about the Bradley effect or the Shy Tory effect, here’s a relevant post from the excellent-as-usual Glenn Greenwald. If anything, most polling data underestimated Obama’s margins in swing states.

    I’ll be putting up a new post on the election results shortly.

  • prase

    David W.:

    Secondly, quick point. Anyone who thinks that a 3+ party system can work, has obviously never lived in a country where such a system exists.

    I live in a country where such a system exists and works.

    A & B, who have somewhat similar political ideals (at least more similar than the others) and are desperate to have their agenda passed, realize that the only way they can guarantee this, is to form a coalition by reaching some sort of compromise on their differing issues. They form said coalition significantly raising their voter base. C,D,E now realize that without some sort of coalition, they stand no chance…and abracadabra….your five party system collapses back into two.

    There are major rival parties, A and B, and a bunch of other weaker parties, C, D, E… A or B are unable to form government themselves, so they have to form a coalition with somebody. A coalition of A and B is usually impossible on ideological grounds, so A forms a government with, say, C and D, and B with E remain in opposition. Shortly before next elections C and D losen their ties with A (people usually don’t like to give their vote to a party which looks like a vassal of some other bigger party, so it’s not beneficial to maintain the coalition up until the elections). After the elections new coalitions arise. This is how it works in most European countries, and it doesn’t collapse into a two-party system. It is still not perfect though, different problems arise, but it is possible.

  • Polly

    @David W.,

    Valid point. Third parties don’t have to win. I’d settle for inclusion in the debates and the national dialogue. And then, maybe like someone else mentioned absorption into one of the main parties. The spectrum of ideas presented to the public with regard to issues of the economy and war is incredibly narrow. Third party candidates do have something different to say.

    To borrow your analogy, currently it’s more like A and B are still running against each other BUT joining forces to keep out parties C,D,and E. So that what we really have is what any “normal” nation would regard as 1 party split into two different wings.

    @Mr Domino,
    Well, if it’s any consolation, I now see that I was completely WRONG.

  • Kaltrosomos

    “It seems like the pollsters have gotten very good at extrapolating from their poll samples to actual votes, taking into account various selection effects.”

    Ipetrich, it’s also possible that the polls, and the media coverage of them, helped produce the predicted result. Sort of like a self-fulfilling prophecy. I know I get very tired of the media calling who won these elections before most of the ballots have been counted. Winning an election fairly is one thing. But assuming from the start that one candidate must win by default is another.

    There’s no telling how much the media influenced this election. That’s why I have mixed feelings about this whole election cycle.

  • lpetrich

    Kaltrosomos, how was this election any different from most recent ones in coverage of pre-election polls?

    I fail to see much difference.

  • Kaltrosomos

    “Kaltrosomos, how was this election any different from most recent ones in coverage of pre-election polls?

    I fail to see much difference.”

    I’m just thinking in public, shall we say. We’d have to see an election without any media coverage of polling whatsoever in order to see what difference that made.

    The media has always, I think, had the power to influence the public consciousness. These news outlets are the main source of information for many voters, and so these outlets have a really big influence on public perceptions. When media outlets have an obvious liberal bias, I think it’s also pretty obvious that they influence the elections. This is true of all media no matter what bias they have.

    But to find out how big that influence is, we’d have to compare an election with media coverage of polls to one without coverage. Unfortunately, I don’t see much chance of the media kicking their poll addiction any time soon.

  • Alex Weaver

    When media outlets have an obvious liberal bias

    When, at least as far as the major news networks are concerned, has that ever happened?

  • lpetrich

    I’d like to see what Kaltrosomos would consider excessive bias in the opposite direction. Admiration of King George III? Wanting the US to be under the rule of his successor, Queen Elizabeth II?

  • Polly

    When media outlets have an obvious liberal bias

    I don’t know if it’s possible to tease any kind of specific partisan bias from the MSM (mainstream media) as a whole. In fact, sensationalism is about the only bias I can detect. Very important but boring, from a cultural standpoint, information about the economy, pending legislation, or events “on the ground” in the ongoing War Of Terror is routinely ignored or relegated to the back of the paper regardless of which side it supports.

    Maybe, I’m just not looking hard enough?
    Yeah, maybe.
    But, I seem to know which celebrity couple is pushing out twins or which pop culture icon is feuding with the other while actively trying to AVOID tabloid crap.

    If only worthwhile and pertinent information were THAT unavoidable.
    We are awash in useless trivia, but it doesn’t have to be this way.

    Soon, I won’t be able to watch TV. In that switch to digital, AFAIK and I don’t know for sure, there are no plans to create public information outlets not dominated by for-profit corp’s. The airwaves are public domain until they’re sold, aren’t they? Can’t the government reserve some bandwidth for public broadcasting? I mean broadcasting for mass informing, not info-tainment. Alternatively, I could imagine airing tapings of speeches by congressmen, debates in the legislative houses about bills, etc, all for free. Maybe even some commentary or other content provided like educational programming. I don’t know. Maybe this’s a lame idea as hardly anybody’d watch it, anyway.