Election Day 2012: Live from America’s Couch
2:48am–Before I go personal, let me offer this objective view of tonight’s election: Nate Silver and his 538 model are literally the most important thing to come out of tonight’s vote. You may not like how everything ended. You may not like where things are going, but you must respect the work Silver did. It is a celebration of math and statistics. Better, it’s a complete repudiation of the theater the media had offered over the past several years. In short, there is no more valuable political model, operative, pundit, or statistician than Nate Silver. I don’t believe in much of anything, but I believe in Nate Silver, and if you don’t we probably don’t have much to talk about.
But, let’s get personal, huh? The only thing that’s real is what Silver did. I can’t rationally defend anything beyond that. Everything else is just heart. So, now that you have stuck with me for 17.5 hours, here’s my heart.
I don’t know how to end this. I started it 17.5 hours ago. I was tired, discouraged, and disgusted when I woke up. I was scared, uncertain, and confused. And for now, I’m not entirely sure where I am. But I know this: I am inspired again.
You know what? That may make me a child. The fact that I can be inspired by a speech from my country’s leader may make me naive. I’ll accept that, because you know what? If I can’t be inspired by the leader of my country, I have no business voting in an American election.
Oh, yes. I believed in the President when he was elected in 2008, and he didn’t do everything I wanted. And he did some things I didn’t want. And yes, I was disappointed. He did not protect civil rights. He did not end the wars I wanted him to end. His administration was not nearly as transparent as it should’ve been.
But, when he gave his victory speech tonight, he offered this:
“We are an American family, and we rise or fall as one nation and one people.”
That probably sounds like a platitude, but think about it. If we are all working for the benefit of our country, can we rationally expect the recent divisiveness to carry us forward? Be honest. You don’t understand our deficit. You don’t understand how our tax system works. None of us understood how our economy worked, because if we did, we would’ve stopped the gamblers from destroying our economy between 2000 and 2008. But, leave that behind, because we only have one goal, and that’s to move ahead.
So, what do you want? Do you want to get rich before you die? Do you want to protect the country for your children? Do you want to protect us from the so-called Axis of Evil? How do you want to do that? Do you want to spend the next four years complaining about your President, or do you want to work to encourage him to help you achieve your goals?
It looks at this hour as if the President will win the electoral and popular vote. It is as much of a mandate as you can ask for. So, will you hunker down and do nothing, or will you work to improve your own life? The next four years will represent a decent portion of your life. Are you willing to give that up because half of your neighbors voted against your wishes?
What do I ask for? I ask for a country that can be respected. I want a country that believes in protecting the environment, its children, the health of its citizens, and its economy. I want a country that values its people more than its corporations. I want a country that values the civil rights we are guaranteed by the Constitution. I want a country that actively fights against bigotry and hate. I want a country that accepts its role as both a leader and citizen of the world. There is evil in the world, and we must fight it, but be must fight it honestly.
The Democratic party is flawed. The political process is flawed. It’s almost guaranteed that a Republican candidate (paging Mr. Rubio) will win in 2016. None of that should stop us from moving forward in the next four years.
President Obama, you have a mandate. Do what your supporters want. Protect our country. Rebuild our economy. Free us from unnecessary wars. Help us save our environment. Protect our civil rights. Do the job America elected you do to. And if all else fails, do what my kid wants, because he and his brother are really the only reason I give a damn at all.
1:38am–“We are an American family and we rise or fall as one nation and one people”
1:31am–If things stand, Nate Silver’s probability model called 50 of 50 states. It may not change anything, because spin is powerful and people aren’t smart, but this is a win for math and science tonight.
1:29am–Was planning on going to bed, but President’s speech is coming and…well, this.
1:16am–Fred Thompson is trying to sell me a reverse mortgage. I’m sorry, this has never happened before.
12:56am–Watching Romney concede. It’s like watching Kerry in 2004. Wealthy. Privileged. Completely unaffected by the loss. Knowing there is nothing but wealth and privilege ahead for the rest of his life. It’s not an issue of party. It’s simply a man who, like Kerry, never believed he could win. He did his duty in an attempt to possibly defeat and probably (in his party’s eyes) delegitimize the sitting President. “I believe in America. I believe in the people of America,” he says. And I believe him. He’s not a horrible person. There are many horrible people who supported him, but he’s a probably a decent guy. He has no idea how you and I live, but that doesn’t make him bad. It just makes him completely disconnected from how a majority of America lives. It’s not even his fault he lost. It’s the fault of the Tea Party. It’s the fault of people like Todd Akin. It’s the fault of the bigots. If the Republican party can shake off the evil that has worked its way in from its fringes, it stands an excellent chance of winning in 2016. There is nothing horrible about fiscal responsibility. If Romney and his friends can find a way to work toward that kind of government responsibility without having to embrace radicals and bigots, it will be able to lure a great many more voters. Let’s be honest–the Democratic party’s organization is horrible. The only reason it prevails is because–regardless of its clinging to so-called nanny-state principles–it only excludes bigotry and close-mindedness.If Republicans can do the same, they will lead forever.
12:53am–Standing by for Romney concession speech. Watching on FOX.
12:46am-Somebody who hasn’t had four Moscow Mules tell me Nate Silver’s model’s record tonight.
12:43am–Currently debating whether to ruin my tomorrow by staying up to watch President Obama accept his victory and/or Romney’s concession.
12:39am–Watch Rove on FOX now. It’s less in your face funny, but even more hilarious. The bargaining is off and running.
12:12am–Just so I’m clear…and I’ll admit, I’m now having a fourth Mule, and my history from 12 years ago may not be top notch, but if I recall correctly, George W. Bush won the election baseed on the electoral college after losing popular vote by half a million votes, right?
So, how…seriously, how can FOX folks speak so derisively about the electoral college. Donald Trump asserts “The electoral college is a disaster for a democracy.”
I don’t even know how to respond to this. Is it possible we’re saying that if Obama doesn’t pull out the popular vote, he’s not legit? Does that mean in 2000-2004 we didn’t have a legit President?
12:15am–I just got RT’d by Wil on a tweet with bad punctuation. Talk about mixed feelings.
12:09am–If you’re wondering about my community, here are the vote totals in my county.
Mitt Romney (REP). . . . . . . . 120,514
Gary Johnson (LIB) . . . . . . . 2,248
Barack Obama (DEM) . . . . . . . 67,378
Virgil Goode (CON) . . . . . . . 637
Jill Stein (GRN) . . . . . . . . 505
12:12am–Can’t believe I just heard this. CNN’s Alex Castellanos:”I hope we come to a place in America where even a black man can be a bad president.”
11:57pm–Via my wife, who has rallied and spoken some sense:
Some people terrify me with their vitriolic rants. Really angry, scary stuff. Luckily, I am also uplifted by others who are gracious and hopeful, even in defeat. We’ve got to rise above all this hatred and start actually solving problems. Our children’s future depends upon it.
11:54pm—Nate Silver is now saying (and I’ll assume you’re listening now)…
Some networks have called the Electoral College for Barack Obama, but it will take longer before the popular vote can officially be called.
That’s because the three Pacific Coast states — California, Oregon and Washington — conduct much of their voting by mail, yielding a lag of several days to a week before all ballots are counted.
As of 11:45 p.m., however, Mr. Obama trailed Mitt Romney by only about 150,000 votes nationally, a margin he should be able to make up on the West Coast.
11:49pm–Karl Rove doesn’t believe it’s over. He’s boiling at a cellular level on FOX. Donald Trump wants to end the electoral college (the same one that gave George Bush the presidency 12 years ago). “The electoral college is a disaster for a democracy,” Trump says. “This election is a total sham and a travesty. We are not a democracy!”
11:34pm–If you’re not watching FOX now, you have to. You just have to. It will never, ever be better.
11:32pm–I’m going to write something else, but I’m trying to stop laughing at my Facebook feed first. Also, one more Mule.
11:17pm–CNN, where I am watching, is holding back. But FOX news calls it for Obama. Wolf Blitzer needs Gatorade. Gatorade!
11:15pm–Is Wolf Blitzer married? Was he ever able to hang onto his climax long enough to impregnate his wife?
11:08pm–So, here’s the weird thing about South Carolina. Laurens County Sheriff RIcky Chastain (a guy I always liked during my time covering him) sort lost it in the last few years. He had an affair. He knocked up his mistress. He convinced her to have an abortion. He maintains he is pro-life. He drove his mistress to the abortion clinic (in his county-owned vehicle). He settled a sexual harassment suit for $35,000. At the time, he said, “What is my opinion on the use of the county vehicle to drive her to Charlotte? It certainly is not one of the smartest decisions I have made but it is one of those that I must live with. There is no criminal violation for the use of the vehicle. I am regularly in the vehicle due to being called to situations that may exist throughout the county 24/7.”
He was just re-elected.
So, yeah, there’s that.
11:06pm–Romney wins North Carolina. Take that, G-Rob!
11:00pm–Denver Post just called Colorado for Obama.
10:58–From one of the best long form writer in the business, the perfect amount of snark.
10:51pm–Watching Diane Sawyer for 30 seconds made me switch to water/Mio combo. But this goes another 45 minutes, it’s back to the Mules, Wednesday hangover be damned.
10:43pm–Via an old friend:
How are you not writing about how hammered Diane Sawyer is? Unless she has a condition that protects her from mocking, she needs to be called out. I sound better after a couple (10) glasses of scotch. Or so I tell myself. Regardless, she is wasted and George is trying to cover.
In my defense, I stopped watching ABC after Peter Jennings died. Is he right? Sawyer sauced?
10:42pm–How Nate Silver’s predictions have worked out so far (via G-Rob)
10:23pm–It may be the fact that Todd Akin lost in Missouri. It may be the fact that I’ve been into the Mules. It may be a serious calorie and sleep deficit. It may be that I’ve been doing this for pretty much 15 hours, but holy hell if I haven’t developed a sense of optimism.
Here’s the thing. If you’re reading here, you probably know my politics. But what you might not know is how I’m not bound by my politics or the candidates for whom I vote. Yes, four years ago, I celebrated in a bar in San Jose, Costa Rica when Obama won. My friends Joe, Dave, Eric, and I tore up a Ramada lounge. Eric broke a shot glass. We all paid for the victory the next day. But, I’m not an Obama disciple. His first term sucked. What’s more, I have serious love and respect for some die-hard Republicans and what they believe.
But tonight I’m buoyed by what’s happening. It’s as if a lot of the things I consider vital to America are happening. And the fact that Missourians didn’t reward Todd Akin’s ignorance just because he was Republican means a lot to me.
10:08pm–The only blatantly biased thing I will publish tonight, because…well, because it’s right. Thank you, Missouri, for helping me maintain a relationship with my birth state. And thanks, Wil Wheaton, for this:
10:04pm–Wolf (paraphrased): “Oh. Oh. Oh. It’s happening. Don’t stop. I can’t stop. Are you ready? Can I–ahhhhhhhhhh!. Four electoral votes from New Hampshire go to the guy who we already know wins. I could go for some Corn Pops.”
10:00pm–Romney wins Utah. I’m refraining here. I am. It’s hard. Underpants.
9:59pm–Via G-Rob, this from The Fix’s Chris Cillizza.
9:56pm–I’d post the photo of my wife and dog asleep on America’s Couch, but since that might get me killed (or maimed with a peanut butter Snickers) here’s it happening elsewhere, courtesy BJ Nemeth.
9:51pm–John King just whipped it out and challenged Wolf Blitzer’s in La Grande Spectacle of Self Abuse. But he also, without actually doing so, called Florida for Obama. Say goodnight, Gracie.
9:44pm–Ed Gillespie just gave the Romney crowd this (paraphrased) pep talk.
9:41pm:Exchange #5 with wife.
Me: “I didn’t know you owned leg warmers.”
Her: “I own leg warmers.”
9:30pm–As Wolf Blitzer pops a Cialis and chugs a Gatorade, this bit of sobering information from Nicholas Thompson.
9:19pm–I would pay $100 for a Shakespeare’s Masterpiece Pizza right now.
9:11pm–My friend G-Rob ready to go on record as thinking that the Republican Governor vote in North Carolina does not mean a Romney win. He’s looking at Mecklenburg and Durham and thinking there could be a vote split in NC. If I bet on these things, this would be a fun one.
9:08pm–This one made me smile. And hey to my friend Tony who is holding up his spot on Australia’s Couch. Come home, man. We miss you.
9:07pm–GOP will hold the house, which was always going to happen.
9:00pm–Kansas (of course) goes to Mitt Romney. Lousiana (of course) goes to Mitt Romney. Nebraska (of course), North Dakota (of course), South Dakota (of course), Texas (come on…), Wyoming (the square state!) all to Romney.
But Michigan, New Jersey, and New York go to President Obama.
Arizona, Colorado, New Mexico, and Wisconsin left uncalled.
Obama has 123 to Romney’s 152.
8:55pm–North Carolina just elected its first Republican governor in 20 years. Lock it up for Romney.
8:50pm–So, here’s an admission. I almost didn’t vote this year.
There was a fairly logical part of me that suggested that my vote meant nothing. And, really, it didn’t mean much. My vote changed nothing, and it was never going to. Every race in which I voted was pretty much set in stone.
But something my wife said changed my mind. Even if my vote doesn’t matter in terms of the outcome of this election, it might influence future campaigns. The voting demographics in my community are changing, if slowly. If I failed to vote–no matter how I voted–I could be missing an opportunity to encourage or discourage future campaigns for operating here. Sometimes it’s not about what’s happening today, you know?
8:48pm–If you don’t follow @SenilieDonDraper, you should.
8:34pm–Four times in history the popular vote winner lost the electoral college.
2000-George Bush v. Al Gore
1888-Benjamin Harrison v. Grover Cleveland
1866-Rutherford B. Hayes v.Samuel Tilden
1824-John Quincy Adams v. Andrew Jackson
Interesting thing about that last one. Adams lost the popular vote, but Jackson didn’t get enough electoral college votes. Adams ended up getting the Presidency from the House of Representatives.
8:27pm–Every time Dick Morris tweets, it feels a lot to me like when my high school chemistry professor told me I was going to be a life failure. Its a combination of “this guy should know more than me about this stuff” and “this guy has no idea what he’s talking about.”
8:20pm-Note: My wife is reading as I type. So, this next exchange on America’s Couch should’ve probably been more predictable.
Me (off-handedly holding up my hand): “Snickers.”
Her (Liltingly): “Oh. YOU would like a Snickers?”
Me: (Accusingly): “I’ve only had one.”
[Snickers thrown overhand directly at my face with speed you wouldn’t expect from a southern belle]
8:16pm–Exchange #3 with the wife:
Me (hearing another mini peanut butter Snickers wrapper): “Careful over there.”
Her (without turning away from the TV): “Shut. Your. Face.”
8:13–Mitt Romney wins Georgia. Related: College is expensive, the south is humid, and fatty foods will kill you.
8:12pm–If the amount of chocolate intake on the other end of America’s Couch is any indication, my wife isn’t quite satisfied the night is going as she voted today. Also, buy stock in peanut butter Snickers.
8:04pm–It’s been 40 minute since Nate Silver wrote anything on his live blog. This feels a lot to me like when I’m pretty sure I’ve done something to piss off my wife and she just walks around the house with pursed lips. I’m uncomfortable.
8:00pm–Connecticut, Delaware, D.C., Illinois, Massachusetts, Maryland, Maine, and Rhode Island all go Obama. Romney picks up Oklahoma. Everything else undeclared. It’s 64-40 Obama. In related news, none of this is news.
7:59pm–Here come the 8pm closures. Also, here comes a new bottle of Tito’s. Probably should’ve taken off work tomorrow, too.
7:42pm–My friend Karol and I disagree on almost all matters of politics, but on this we’re in complete agreement.
7:39pm–As my adopted home state of South Carolina goes for Romney, I wonder how the candidacy of John Drohan is doing…
7:36pm–President Obama offered spot on Washington Generals as he loses South Carolina.
7:35pm–My wife doesn’t seem to care I’ve developed a snap-crush on Kate Bolduan.
7:31pm–Wolf Blitzer could be in porn. Just offered third money shot in last thirty minutes. In related news:
7:30pm–Obama and the Washington Generals both lose in West Virginia.
7:27pm–If you are in the Nate Silver camp, you’ll want this link: Live Blog: The 2012 Presidential Election
7:21pm–Was afraid Wolf Blitzer might climax when he reported Florida dead heat with 5% of vote in. Have switched to NBC where Brian Williams is keeping it in his pants. But, he did just say, “Dixville.”
7:19pm–Both Miami Don and a woman at the bar where the wife picked up our food remind me: Liquor stores closed in South Carolina on Election Day. No worries. We’re still well-stocked from Mastodon Weekend.
7:12pm–Completely unrelated to the Presidential election, but honestly the most interesting thing to happen in South Carolina this election season…state senator Larry Martin faced a really tough race (which never happens for Republicans in this part of the state). He’s the chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee. I can’t imagine he would ever lose, but I’ve never seen so much money spent in a state Senate race. Martin–a good guy I interviewed countless times–has held the seat for 20 years. This has to be one of the toughest races he’s ever had. Here’s a local story about the race.
7:10pm–Early numbers from Florida favor Obama, but that seems pretty meaningless at this point. State isn’t even fully closed yet.
7:08pm–“The news out of Virginia is not good for Mitt Romney” –David Gergen
7:05pm–Make one drink and America’s Couch gets crowded.
7:03pm–Mules are sweating. Wife recovering. Returns coming in. Mitt Romney has won Kentucky. President Obama has won Vermont. The Washington Generals have lost. Again.
6:43pm–Just for fun tonight, here’s a map to watch. This is Nate Silver’s state-by-state probability map. Will be curious to see how close–if at all–it is.
6:40pm–As I ate with the kids, tried to keep an eye on the exit polls out of Virginia. Out of my peripheral vision, it looked a lot like the exits favored Romney in a big way.
6:38PM–If there is a man who publicly masturbates more than WolF Blitzer who has not yet been declared a sex offender, I’ve not ever seen him.
6:34pm–“The Reticent Republican Factor” might be the most ridiculous phrase I’ve ever heard.
6:32pm–From the fingers of @absinthetics
6:27pm–The kids are on their way to bed. The wife is starting to sound like one of Marge Simpson’s sisters (I blame the Tom Yum Gai soup, but it could be real illness). In any case, I may be in this one alone tonight. For some reason, between taking out the trash and washing the dishes I developed an unexplained sense of dread. Back in the TV days, we borrowed the term “bad juju.” Not sure what it is, but we may have to Break Mule sooner than expected.
6:02pm–So, about half an hour ago, my wife brought home our Thai food. We decided to have a picnic in front of America’s Couch and watch some election coverage. I decided on a whim to ask the older boy some questions on video. This is raw, unscripted, unedited, and shaky, but I couldn’t help but smile at what my boy knew…and what he said at the end.
5:25pm–Bathtime is done. Thai food is on the way. Just had a bathtime concert that included daddy singing…
4:55pm–Another short break as I step in for some light parenting and remembering that this is all just for fun. Bath time and some guitar for the kids before the real fun stars in an hour or so.
4:44pm–I don’t really like Huffington Post, and I do really like Nate Silver. But Howard Fineman makes a good point here.
“All campaigns are about winning -– that’s the point of them -– but this one seemed to have squeezed out virtually everything else…(Nate Silver) was the symbol and bane. His odds-making in The New York Times –- a kind of racing tip sheet that The Times doesn’t even feature in the sports pages –- is the ultimate reductio ad absurdum of horse race coverage.”
4:28pm: Downtime. The early energy of the day has waned for all. It will, if my 4:25 post is any indication, pick up in an hour or so. I’ve made coffee.
I’m reminded tonight by my journo friend Heather and G-Rob of what was an old newsroom truth: election night meant free pizza.
See, TV newsrooms are cheap places. It may look otherwise, but it was not uncommon for well-coiffed TV folks to pack sack lunches and dinners. Why? Lunch and dinner breaks almost never existed, and if they did, there certainly wasn’t enough time to go home and eat. What’s more, most local TV people don’t make big money, and eating out every night can get really expensive. Going out of town on a story was a real treat because if you left the DMA you could actually expense your dinner (provided you didn’t get any alcohol, appetizers, or dessert).
But on election nights, the TV stations went all out and provided boxes of take out pizza. It would grow cold and rubbery by the end of election night, but it tasted amazing. And it tasted free. I still remember standing there at midnight in the November 2000 election watching the chaos and eating cold pie.
Nostalgic? Yeah, but probably not so much that I’ll order pizza tonight. Feels like Thai take-out to me. After all, I support Drohan 2012 and his ginger chicken agenda.
4:25pm–Another exchange with the wife (two hours ago):
Me (hopefully): “When is an appropriate time to start drinking?”
Her (deadpan): “Dinner?”
Me (deflated): “Dinner?”
Her (sounding like a mom): “I think that’s appropriate.”
4:00pm–Ignorance of the law apparently is no excuse. Just received this fascinating bit of information from G-Rob about an South Carolina Attorney General opinion. According to SC Code Ann 7-25-100,
8. It is unlawful in any election for a voter to: a. allow his ballot to be seen by a person…
According to follow-ups provided by G-Rob, South Carolina Elections officials and the AG interpret this to mean photographing or taking video of your ballot (or even your electronic screen representation) is illegal. The law is apparently an antiquated holdover from times when people would be paid to vote in a certain way and had to prove his/her vote. Thus, breaking the law could result in $100 fine or a year in jail.
3:57pm–Recent exchange with wife:
Me: “Woops. My pants are on backward.”
Her: “I’m surprised you’re wearing pants.”
3:48pm–Somehow I’ve managed to last this entire day without turning on television news. That will change in an hour or so. I’ll be all over the internet and switching between CNN and the networks. I’ll also be on CNN.com and the very well done NPR Election 2012 site.
3:35pm–For a slightly more incendiary (but probably much more realistic) look at today’s election, here’s Pauly with:
3:17pm–For those who like to hate on Nate (or just love some good-natured ribbing), here’s a 538 parody account: @fivethirtynate
3:05pm–So, what I can gather from Obama opponents is that we should somehow view his victory with a smaller turn-out as a referendum that essentially de-legitimizes his second term. Is that right? If not, where am I getting it wrong? Even if the President had a perfect four years (which, admittedly, he didn’t even come close to), he still wouldn’t have had 2008 turnout. It was never going to happen. So, if tonight is close and looks more like 2004, am I supposed to think that reflects on him more than the ambivalent electorate itself?
2:52pm–A better written explanation of the sabremetrics being applied to this election from Adam Gopnik.
2:34pm–Old friend asks in private message:
Given how much you seem to keep up on all of this, I assume you read or at least know about Victoria Collier’s, “How to Rig an Election,” article in last month’s Haper’s. Today, this little video pops up on youtube. Now, reports are that this particular machine has been taken off-line, already. So there probably is little to say about these computers right now. You generally have some interesting thoughts on such controversial issues, some I agree with and some I don’t. So I’m curious if you have an opinion on the computers that now count millions (estimates I have seen are between 40 and 70 million) votes across the country.
Well, first I would caution anyone from taking the video at face value. It looks legit, but who knows? Second, I’d say there almost certainly exists problems like this that both sides could and should be wary of. Third, if we’re going to get really afraid, I’d point to the Ohio Secretary of State story that came out, and say…well, well, well.
With all of that said, I’m not overly worried about fraud. Yes, it exists, and yes computers probably make it easier to defraud an election on a wide basis. That said, I also think there’s no way we will (or should) get away from using computers to track voting. What’s more, I also think the use of computers could help us better track fraud and corruption in the voting process. Using the correct software, computers should be able to immediately identify voting anomalies and patterns that don’t fit the norm. Rather than worrying so much about whether the use of computers open elections to fraud, we should refocus our concerns on how to use computers to make our elections safer and more legitimate.
2:26pm–Okay. I’m back and in this for the long haul. Nine hours left. Here’s how I spent the last two. In brief:
Time to run 5 miles: 39’47”
Time standing in line to vote: 1 minute
Time to vote: 2 minutes
12:55pm–Okay, so I’m six hours in, and it’s time for a quick break. I’m going to run and vote (not necessarily in that order). While I’m away, you can follow me on Twitter. While I’m gone, here’s what I’m curious about:
- If you are a Romney supporter and believe he can win tonight, what makes you believe that?
- If you are an Obama supporter and Romney wins tonight, who do you believe is to blame for both the loss and the consensus being wrong?
- If you are an Obama opponent, is there any way a victory tonight will convince you of his legitimacy?
- Have at it. I’ll be back in…well, however long it takes to vote and run five miles.
12:49pm–Via Ken P in the comments: Wayne Root putting his name and reputation on the line with this: “Mitt Romney will win the presidency, and it won’t be close.”
12:39pm–Okay. Step back. Breathe. Not working? Do this. Go over to Tao of Fear, your one-stop shop for all conspiracy theories, and watch this collection of brilliance from Bill Hicks.
12:29pm: For those of you who like your election possibilities to look like the female reproductive system, I give you this via my friend Cliff.
12:10pm–It’s lunch on the East Coast. I haven’t eaten. In fact, I literally just changed out of my pajamas. There is a plumber here looking at my garbage disposal. His name is Vince. He is grunting. Meanwhile, write-in candidate (for any race) John Drohan is taking your questions at Bangkok Thai.
11:48am–I don’t even know how to approach this. I don’t even want to bring it up. But, Ive already seen one friend mention it on Twitter. And there’s this entire section on Drudge.
So, what am I to make of this. There are two equally ignorant lines of thought here: 1) The people who suggest rioting is an appropriate response to an Obama loss and 2) The people who believe people actually would riot in the event of an Obama loss.
Let’s address the first one first.
Pop into Twitter and read do a search for “Obama” and “Riot.” Then spend the next ten minutes shaking your head what you read. It’s three parts bravado, one part anonymity, and one part, “Oh, please.”
But, yes, it’s there. It’s there, and it’s ugly, and anyone who dares mention civil unrest over a Presidential election is defeating his or her own cause in a way I can’t even comprehend. If you want to support your cause, go vote today and encourage others to do the same.
But…let’s be honest, too. The idiots on Twitter spouting “gonna riot” are not gonna riot. They just aren’t. And to suggest that it’s a legitimate probability–or in Drudge’s case, dedicate an above-the-fold section to it–is exactly what you know it is.
(This is NSFW)
11:34am–UnskewedPolls.com unskewed itself a little in the past couple days. Still predicting a strong Romney win, but not quite as laughable as before.
11:22am–Four years ago, the last time America elected a President, I wasn’t even in the country.
11:08am–Joe Hill (who, if you don’t know, is Stephen King’s son) speaks a bit to how I feel.
10:59pm–I am still wearing slippers. The uber-Canadian cartoon Caillou is on TV (note: that kid is a whiny brat). My kid is playing a live version of Angry Birds and throwing stuff all over the living room. I was waiting on lines to go down at the polling places, but friends report lines still long at 11am. I need to go for a run before my head explodes.
10:55pm–Reminder, write-in candidate John Drohan will be holding his last campaign stop today at a Thai restaurant. He’ll be having Ginger Chicken.
10:46am–A valid point to consider before you open up on Nate Silver, this one from the often funny but now serious Julius Goat.
“Everybody who believes Nate Silver will be forever discredited if Romney wins tonight, and should never be heard from again… I presume that you believe the inverse is true of every pundit (George Will, Peggy Noonan et al) in the case of an Obama win. Right?”
10:45am–CAMPAIGN ANNOUNCEMENT: Write-in candidate (for any election) John Drohan has announced the following:
“I’ll be eating lunch at Bangkok Thai and will be available to answer any questions about their Ginger Chicken dish. I have them leave out the bell peppers.”
10:27am–I really expected the pushback on my Nate Silver love would come first from the Romney camp, but so far, it’s been largely from journalists. Said one–also a friend–on my Facebook page:
As a former member of the news media, you know as well as anyone that reporters don’t ‘lie’ to ‘sell advertising.’ Regardless of what Aaron Sorkin wants us to believe, most news reporters are just trying their best to get it right without getting sued or being accused of blatant bias. Are the media hedging their bets? Absolutely. And they can afford to hedge, because it IS a tight race. The popular vote is well within the margin of error in virtually ever major poll. On the other hand, your evidence that the many vast and disparate entities that comprise ‘the media’ are conspiring to lie to the American public is a single predictive model put forth by a New York Times blogger? A model with a track record that dates back… to 2008? Not exactly Nostradamus. Even you – a fan of Nate Silver – admit his math could be wrong. There’s a ‘91%’ chance Obama will win? That means there’s a 9% chance he could lose. A four-outer could bust Obama on the river… and Nate would still be right. Essentially, no matter who wins, Nate wins. (Now *that’s* a model for success.) Seems to me, Nate Silver is the one who is selling advertising these days.
Honestly, I don’t wish to implicate local journalists in my indictment. Most locals do their dead level best to be objective within the bounds of their job. Locals know that their job is not analysis, and most don’t try. That said, national and cable journos do analyze, and I assert their analysis is either completely ignorant or disingenuous. I won’t even incude MSNBC and FOX (neither of which even bothers to hide bias anymore).
The point isn’t that CNN and the like set out to lie. It’s that they set out to fill their hours with analysis that is, at best, partisan and not rooted in anything but “feel.” And even if it’s not a lie, for CNN to perpetuate it shines a light on the question of “Why?” It’s not to enlighten. So what is it then?
Listen, I don’t know if Nate Silver is accurate. I only hope he is. I hope he’s close, because in an age where lies and spin are the norm, I need something to believe in. I have a hard time believing in people. I can believe in numbers, and right now, Nate Silver seems to be someone who shares my religion. If he turns out to be a charlatan, I’m probably going to become a nihilist.
10:04am–So, here’s the thing. We’re a middle class family living in middle class neighborhood. While I’ve been fortunate enough to take the day off, we’re pretty average otherwise, and while I’ll assign an insane amount of importance to what I write here today, here are some things at the forefront of our mind.
- Within a two hour period last night, our garbage disposal and washing machine died. Before it’s all said and done, it will probably cost us a couple thousand bucks. We’re fortunate that it won’t be a tremendous financial burden, but I can’t help but think about the people who would probably have to give up holiday gifts or spend their December in a laundromat if they were in the same situation. I also can’t help but wonder how the two Presidential candidates would feel about that.
- The wife just brought home some Dunkin Donuts. I spent 15 minutes looking up allergy information on the internet to make sure my three-year-old could eat them. That’s our small private burden, one made easier by the fact that there are government requirements for reporting these kinds of things. I am not a big government guy, but I have to appreciate the fact that I can access that kind of information.
- You want real life? You want perspective? You want something that actually matters to the people of my community? A neighborhood icon, a guy not too much older than me, a football coach, a coffee shop owner…he died this week unexpectedly. Guarantee you the people of my community will be more affected by his death than whatever happens in the election today.
9:48am–While we’re waiting for anything substantive to come in, here’s a screen shot from the anti-538 site, Unskewed Polls. I pulled it a few days ago. I stopped laughing…well, not yet.
9:44am–An important note and defense of journalism from G-Rob, a longtime journalist and friend:
Dear Rich from comments, to say we’ve portrayed this as a coin toss just for ratings is almost accurate but not quite. The truth is it’s a reflection of a deeper trend in “journalism”. Make sure both sides of everything appear equal to avoid the appearance of “bias”. Climate change deniers, vaccines cause autism, and Romney could win PA all get equal footing. It’s not bias as much as fear. With TV audiences splintered and shrinking we’re not trying to gin up more viewers as much as we’re afraid of pissing off or offending any of the ones we have left by offering facts that challenge their previously held beliefs.
9:33am–Rich asks in the comments:
So Brad, as a journalist, do you feel like the portrayal of this race as tied is an effort to look correct no matter what happens or an effort to keep viewers/readers pulled in a long as possible to maximize ad revenue. I don’t want to come off as “that conspiracy guy” and suggest that journalists would provide a ginned up narrative just to promote their own financial interest, but it certainly doesn’t seem impossible. What are your thoughts on this?
If you’re an objective thinker who is happy to rely on numbers and statistics, the media’s portrayal of a tight race is disingenuous at best, and a conspiracy for higher ratings at worst. It’s simply not a tight race. If the national popular vote was the what elected our President, then it would be fair to call this a tight race, but that’s simply not the case.
If I were in the position of defending the national media’s narrative, I would say the following: “As an objective reporting organization, we’re not in the business of predicting races. National polls–our longtime indicator of a candidate’s performance ability–suggest a very tight race. We’re only reporting this fact. That is our job.”
Of course, that’s disingenuous, as the cable news outlets routinely fill hours with people/pundits whose sole job is to make predictions. Making it even worse, most of those pundits are not independent thinkers. They are operatives for one of the parties who–as a living–support talking points and false narratives. It’s a farce no matter who you are for.
The reason I support Nate Silver’s attempts at boiling down the race with statistics is because I believe that he isn’t concerned with who wins as long as he gets his model right. If he does get it right and tweaks it as close to perfection as possible, he makes all of those CNN hours obsolete and exposes them for what they are: bad political theater.
9:26pm–From the “journalists don’t understand math” department, this from Grange95.
9:20am: BREAKING: There is a write-in movement taking place across America. It began in an Upstate South Carolina Congressional race. Now, people across America are writing in John Drohan for races everywhere. I contacted Drohan who confirmed he will accept any and all nominations. “”Run for office?” he said. “I ran a marathon last week. Should be easy.”
Rapid Eye Reality firmly offers its endorsement for Drohan…really, for any race across the country. Drohan…write’em in!
9:05am–Important note from Lee, a guy who knows numbers, in the comments:
“Sadly, the pundits have set themselves up to freeroll the election. They’ve announced that it’s a jump ball, so whichever candidate wins, that’s within their model. Nate has had the courage to say what his models tell him. If Obama wins, then it’s not a surprise. If Romney wins, the pundits will announce that Nate doesn’t know anything.
Some of us will recognize this for what it is, but as you say, if we’re watching 538, we’ve stopped listening to the pundits anyway.
8:35am–I need to make this admission at the outset: I’m going to be operating with a deep bias today. It’s not for a candidate. It’s for science, statistics, and math. If you don’t know Nate Silver and his 538 blog, you’re probably not paying very close attention to this race. Silver’s statistical model called nearly every state correctly in 2008. This year, he and his methods have become the most divisive topic among people who care about this kind of thing. Romney supporters question Silver’s model. Hard core Romney supporters question Silver’s objectivity. Wingnuts question…well, everything that doesn’t fit inside their little box.
But the simple fact is, despite how you feel about Silver, he’s not calling the race for one candidate or another. He’s expressing the probable outcome of this race based on his modeling of the state and national polls. For Silver’s model to be right suggests that most of the pundits, the media, and anyone who believes Romney is a lock is deluded.
The simple fact is this: attacking Silver is a ridiculous conceit at this point. No where is he saying that the President will win re-election. He is saying only this: it’s very likely the President will will win re-election, but there is a decent chance Governor Romney will win. As someone said they other day, “If Nate Silver told you leaving your house meant there was a ten percent chance you’d be hit by a car and killed, but a 90% chance you’d live, would you consider that a lock for living?” No. You’d stay home.
Poker players understand this. They know Obama is a good bet, but they also know something unexpected could happen and Romney could win. Any poker player who doesn’t get this should probably stop playing poker.
All of that said, Silver’s model may be off. If it is, it’s still not a loss for Silver. He can adapt the model and move on. Math can still win.
And, yes, I want the math to win. Not because I want Obama to win, but because if the math is even close to right tonight, it will make expose the media’s tight race narrative for the lie that it is. Furthermore, it will hopefully go a way toward taking the witchcraft, lies, and talking points of pundits and putting them in the garbage where they belong.
8:26am–Of course, we shouldn’t make more of those long voting lines than necessary. Here on the East Coast, those lines formed in the hours before people went to work. They will thin out as people rush to make it to work in time, to earn the money that funds the taxes that go toward funding the elections for which people wake up early to vote so they can go to work to earn the money to fund the taxes…well, you get the point.
8:12am–Half of Mt. Willis voting block has arrived home, cold and weary, but having exercised her right to vote.
8:08am–Local journalist Gordon Dill‘s precinct. He reports 91-minute lines.
8:02am–Wife reports it took her 51 minutes to cast her vote at our local precinct, one that will probably go 70-30 GOP.
7:58am–So you know where I’m coming from here: I’m used to be a traditional journalist. I’m not anymore. But for a decade of my life, Election Day was an all-day work affair. I can’t quite shake the need to be doing something all day. Of course, taking day off from my real job means I also am responsible for this. Trash Truck Watch 2012.
7:38am–Via my friend Lee, watching this play out from across the Atlantic.
7:27am–The wife has reported in from our precinct. She’s apparently not going to be home for a while.
7:10am–Ten minutes ago, I awoke from hours of nightmares buried within dreams, thinly-veiled symbols laced in Russian-style fairy tales, terrors of watching armed men break into my home while my family slept and having no way to stop it from happening.There was brief relief when I woke from the dream to discover it was an impossibility because the invasion was happening in my childhood home where my children have never slept. But it only got worse from there, because I was never really awake when I woke up in the dream. I’d go farther into it, but nobody wants to hear about somebody else’s nightmares, and I don’t want to write about what happened next. That’s all just a long way of saying that when I woke up ten minutes ago, my wife was standing in the middle of our dark bedroom. And not with a knife, thank heavens.
“I can’t sleep,” she said. “I’m going to vote.”
“Take a picture for me,” I said, and rolled back over in bed.
That was the moment I decided what I was going to do today. I didn’t go back to sleep.
I didn’t take much time off from work this year. I realized I had a lot of time coming to me that I had to take before the end of 2012. So, I took today off, not knowing entirely what I was going to do. In the back of my head, I sort of thought I’d write about it, but as of last night, I’d decided that wasn’t going to happen. My heart wasn’t in it. It seemed pointless. But after last night, I think my brain needs a data dump. So, follow along if you like. This is probably going to last for the next 16 hours or so, so settle in for a suburban warrior’s election day in America, Live from America’s Couch.