In my most recent update to the previous post I mentioned how similar tonight is looking to 2004.
Bush won in 2004, of course. It looks like Romney won’t, although it is still within the realm of possibility that he might. But it’s the distribution of red and blue states that is so similar (at least, potentially similar; many have not been called yet). Look at the 2004 electoral map:
Ohio was called for Bush very late at night on election evening in 2004, if I’m recalling correctly. The state was very close, as were some others (New Mexico, for example). In 2004 Bush received 286 electoral votes to Kerry’s 251. Ohio, with its 20 electoral votes, accounted for the difference. It it had gone to Kerry, Kerry would have become president. Bush’s margin of victory in Ohio was a mere 118,000 votes, and if just 60,000 of them had gone for Kerry instead of Bush, Kerry would have won the whole thing while losing the popular vote big time (to the tune of about three million).
That made a deep impression on me at the time. And things may pan out in some similar fashion this evening—either with Romney winning or losing, but similarly in the state pattern of voting. It seems to me the states have become more locked in for one party or another, and I’m not sure what it would take to break that stranglehold. This election—in which Obama’s failure as president seemed crystal clear to me, and Romney’s superiority as a potential president—does not seem to have done so.
If Obama wins, it won’t be with a mandate. Compared to 2008, it’s embarrassing, especially if he loses the popular vote. But if I’m any judge of Obama, it won’t matter to him; he’ll pretend it’s a resounding victory. He will try any way he can (executive orders, czars) to get around a Congress that will not resemble the one he was fortunate enough to have in 2008. If he is reelected, it will be interesting to see what the Republicans in Congress are made of re Obamacare and all the rest.
“Interesting,” hmmm. Do we live in interesting times, or what?
Perhaps it seems I’m taking this lightly. I’m not. You never heard any “rah-rah, Romney is bound to win” stuff here. I am naturally somewhat of a pessimist anyway, so there’s that. But I thought the polls just weren’t strong enough for Romney—and, as I wrote earlier, my own internal polling as it were (friends who were still all in the tank for Obama) gave me a strong sense of foreboding.
[ADDENDUM: I’ve got a question for all of you. In 2004 (as I mentioned earlier today) I was incredibly nervous about the election, almost as nervous as in 2012. I also had trouble watching the results on TV, and I remember it as being a real squeaker. But I don’t quite remember the timeline. Looking it up just now, I find that Ohio (the state that made all the difference) was not called for Bush until 1 AM in the morning.
So here’s my question: do any of you remember that night? Did you think for quite some time that Kerry had won, and were you surprised at the reversal?
I remember 2000 much more vividly. I went to bed thinking Gore had lost, and woke up to the news that the outcome was still in doubt. And then, of course, the lingering battles…]