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the big day

Tuesday,  11/02/04  08:16 AM

The big day is here.· I'm going to post updates in this entry all day...

[08:16] That valuable resource Electoral Vote Predictor has it Kerry 262 and Bush 261.  That pretty much sums it up.  After all this time, all these events, the debates, the discussion, and the spinning, as a nation we are pretty much divided 50/50.  May we live in interesting times, indeed.

[08:23] If you're not a fan of tabbed browsing, today would be a great day to download Firefox and try it.  When you're tracking fifteen different blogs it is way easier to have fifteen tabs in one window than fifteen windows.  Really.  Of course, those of you with Safari on Macs already know this :)

[08:27] NYTimes: The Revolution will be posted.  Prominent bloggers describe what they feel was the turning point in this campaign.

[08:33] I'm reading all these bloggers report standing in long lines to vote.  Seems the turnout today will be heavy.  { Is that a good thing?  I say no.  Maybe more on this later. }  Anyway it is too late now but I strongly recommend registering as a permanent absentee.  You can vote ahead of time in the comfort of your home, surrounded by materials with easy access to the web.  Don't just vote, be an informed voter!

[08:45] One thing nearly everyone writes is "go vote"!  I have a heretical counter-view. 

  • If you don't know the people and what they stand for, don't vote.
  • If you are uninformed on the issues, don't vote.
  • If you don't know who you are going to vote for, don't vote.
  • If it is too much bother for you to get yourself to a polling place, don't vote.
  • If you can't decide whether you should vote, don't vote.

Look, we have a democracy, one person, one vote.  The results of this election matter, the people we elect become our representatives, run our governments, make our laws.  The issues we vote on matter, they affect govenment spending and policy in important ways.  Voting on such things requires a certain amount of consideration and thought.  You have to know the people and what they stand for to make a decision about them.  You have to understand the issues and how they might affect your life to vote them in or out.  This cannot be done at random.

I would much rather our elected officials be elected by people who want to vote, people who know who they are going to vote for.  I would much rather our issues are decided by people who understand them, who have a defensible point of view.

So if you were not planning to vote or don't know whether you should vote, don't vote.  And if you are blogging, don't encourage people to vote.  Their votes will only dilute your vote and mine.

[08:50] Wow, John Kerry's pollster predicts a 3% Bush victory.  "We simply do not defeat an incumbent president in wartime."  Can this be right? 

[09:55] If you want one site (or one feed!) with which to follow the action, check out The Command Post.  Excellent as always, and lots of updates.

[11:53] Powerline is at NBC: "The word here is a Kerry blowout, and almost everyone is happy."

[11:55] Andrew Sullivan reports early exit polls favorable for Kerry.   "A Kerry landslide?  Could be.  Could be."

[12:13] NRO's Cliff May makes an interesting point.   "It's 3 PM on November 2, 2004.  There has not been a terrorist attack on American soil since 9/11/01.  If Osama bin Laden could have attacked us over the past three years, he would have.  If OBL could attack us today, he would.  Whoever is responsible for keeping the barbarians outside the gates deserves praise - and re-election."

[12:34] The Command Post has poll closing times.   With the networks a bit more cautious this year, wanting to avoid the embarrassment from last time, this is how long we have to wait...

[12:53] Zogby (the major pollster) currently scores it 252 to 252.   They call Florida and Ohio for Bush, Michigan for Kerry, and feel Virginia and Pennsylvania are the deciding states...

[01:05] CNN Money reports Investor worry: No election winner.   "Markets on edge due to the possibility of protracted legal challenges to presidential election...   'I'm at a one-in-three chance that we will not know for days who won the election,' said Greg Valliere, chief strategist at Schwab Washington Research Group.  'I'd say it's a one-in-five chance we won't know at the end of November.'"   Ugh.

[01:14] Another great site for following "what's going on": Real Clear Politics.   Ungrammatical but informative, and chock full of links.   They have a bunch of polls posted in realtime, most of them leaning slightly toward Bush.

[04:25] I took a break to *work*.   Sigh.   Okay the returns are staring to come in.   Right now CNN is projecting Bush wins in Indiana, Kentucky, and Georgia, and a Kerry win in Vermont.   None of this surprising.   The big news is the heavy voter turnout.   Bloggers on both sides are spinning this hard.

[04:29] One of the more interesting senate races is in South Dakota, where Senate Minority Leader Tom Daschle is fighting for his seat against Republican John Thune.   (Most predictions have him losing rather decisively by a whisker.)   Check out the action at Daschle v. Thune, a great blow-by-blow.

[04:38] Hugh Hewitt seems to be sweating.   He's a big Bush supporter, so he spinning the early pro-Kerry news.   Everyone agrees it is too early to draw any conclusions, then they draw them anyway :)

[04:42] Slate has Kerry ahead in Florida, Ohio, and Pennsylvania.   If that's true, that would do it, I think.

[04:45] Megan McArdle, on Instapundit, also reacts to the pro-Kerry exit polls.   "The trend is definitely Kerry, but in the key states, the margin is small, meaning that Florida and Ohio could easily swing Bush, throwing him the election.  So Republicans, don't despair; Democrats, don't break out your party hats just yet."

[04:47] Looks like Democrat Daniel Mongiardo will soundly defeat Republican Jim Bunning in Kentucky's Senate race.

[04:49] Bram Cohen, author of Bittorrent, considers Electoral College Effects.  "Given the electoral college system, does it favor the large or the small states?  The very short answer is that it ridiculously disproportionately favors the small states, because they're flat-out given disproportionately large representation.  And if that weren't the case then switching to a simple electoral majority would be uncontroversial, following the trend of a simple majority deciding within each state."   Depending on how things go, this could become more or less important later tonight...

[04:52] Along with all the heavy traffic reported at polling places, political blogs are reporting heavy traffic, too.   At both ends of the spectrum, too; Daily Kos reports "its a bad time to be a webserver", and Little Green Footballs says traffic is insanely high.

Four years ago, could we have predicted that the Internet would become such an important factor in American politics?   Maybe yes, maybe no.   Certainly there were blogs, but blogging as such wasn't considered a political activity, or even a news-gathering activity.   So what will things be like in four more years?   Interesting to speculate...   Maybe we'll all be voting with our cell phones :)

[04:58] This is cool, Astronauth Leroy Chiao became the first American to vote for president from space. [ via Command Post ]

[05:07] Election Law reports Democratics sue to keep polls open in Ohio.   And so it begins.   Apparently the turnout was really heavy, with  l o n g  lines everywhere.

[05:40] CNN is calling Virginia for Bush.   I think that would be the first "news" of the night.

Interesting line on CNN - "too bad you can't Tivo the news".   Well of course you can, but that darn fast-forward button doesn't seem to work :)

[05:50] More real news; NBC is predicting North Carolina for Bush.   For those keeping score at home, that would be John Edwards' home state.   Ouch.

[05:55] Hindrocket on Powerline: Bush takes lead in Florida.   "With 35% of the votes counted, Bush's lead is 56% to 43%. The Democrats I'm hanging out with here aren't as cocky as they were a few hours ago."   Of course you remember from 2000, Miami-Dade County reports last and is heavily Democratic, so we have to wait to see about Florida...

[05:56] Ann Althouse is Feeling a strange, nervous equanimity.   "Time for a nice glass of wine!"   Great idea!

[05:59] Andrew Sullivan: "C-SPAN is so cool, I like their map the best."   Colored in as states are declared, and you can mouse over to see current status.   Okay, that is cool!

[06:02] The Denver Post reports Relief as electoral reform fades.   "The fevered interest in Colorado's Electoral College reform proposal has fizzled - one less thing for the warring presidential candidates to worry about."   So all nine of Colorado's votes will go to the winner.

[07:33] Everyone's settling in, it's nervous time.   The East Coast went pretty much as predicted - Bush did take Virginia - with Florida still being counted (Bush leads, but Miami remains).   The Midwest is solidly for Bush but we knew that; Kerry has a decent lead in Pennsylvania and Bush leads in Ohio.   Looks like Minnesota will go Blue and Wisconson and Michigan Red.   So now we move West toward the "left coast" and we wait...

[07:45] Now CNN projects Bush will win Missouri and Arkansas.   I don't know enough to know the implications...

[07:52] Robert Scoble with a great post: blogs move market?   Regarding this headline: Blogs send stocks lower on talk of Kerry victory.   "Hey, Doc, I guess the world has come full circle for you here.  Markets are conversations?  Heh, how about 'conversations move markets?'"   You bet, they always have, but now they're online and much faster.

[07:55] Andrew Sullivan posts Pennsylvania for Kerry.   "The first real bummer for Bush.  How many times did he go there?  Now what if Kerry wins Ohio and Bush wins Florida?  It seems clearer to me that Bush is going to win in Florida.  The squeaker squeaks some more."   Squeeeeeak.

[08:08] KJL on NRO asks a good question: Did Edwards do anything for Kerry?

[08:11] Ann Althouse Did young people turn out for Kerry?   No, apparently.   "NBC is reporting that, for all the efforts at bringing young people to the polls, the percentage of 18-29 year old voters is exactly the same as it was in 2000 (17%).  And the number of voters in the 30 to 44 year old group has actually declined, going from 33% to 28%."   Hmmm...

[08:15] CNN reports GOP projected to gain at least 5 house seats.   And retain control of the senate.

[08:25] Shirley and I are drinking Napa Cellar's 2002 Chardonnay tonight, a perfect compliment to an exciting election.   Okay, off to read with Megan.  See you soon!

[08:49] Well, this is big.   CBS calls Florida for Bush.   I think this means Kerry must win Ohio, but he's behind right now.   And even if he does win Ohio I think Bush can still win.

[09:05] According to LGF, Bush still leads in Ohio.   "With 63% of the vote counted in Ohio, President Bush's lead is holding at 52% vs. Kerry's 47%."   Seems to me if Bush wins Ohio, it's over.

[09:10] Californians have passed Proposition 71, the "stem cell initiative".   I have mixed feelings about this; I'm a big fan of stem cell research, but a big critic of government-funded research in general.   As Wendy Wright posts, "Californians pass Prop 71, spending $3 billion on embryonic stem cell research.  So even if school children don’t have textbooks and highways crumble for lack of funding, Californians will still have to fund risky, unethical research for 10 years - even if, say in the third year, it proves unsuccessful. "

[09:21] Powerline: Where we stand now.   "President Bush currently has 204 electoral votes.  He obviously will win Florida, which makes 231. I assume he will take Colorado, New Mexico, Alaska, Nevada and Arkansas for an additional 28, making 259.  If he wins Ohio, of course, the race is over.  If he loses Ohio, he needs 10 more votes."   Okay.

[09:25] Looks like Thune will beat Daschle, knocking the Senate minority leader out of his seat.   A big GOP victory in a small state.

 [09:37] Ohio seems to be the key, and Powerline reports that with 65% precincts in, Bush has a five-point lead.   "It's hard to see how Kerry can make this up, even with lawsuits and a reasonable amount of fraud."

Interestingly, Powerline have "dressed down" their site, eliminating a lot of graphics and presumably saving bandwidth.   The political blogs collectively got hammered today; there will be a lot of tired webservers tomorrow :)

[09:55] Fox just called Ohio for Bush.   Of course, this is not authoritative.   Command Post reports James Carville was on CNN saying of Ohio, "they won it".   With Alaska and New Mexico this would give Bush 274.   Bing!

[10:02] The Calfornia popular vote is interesting; 52% Kerry to 47% Bush.   Much closer then anticipated.   This is important because if Bush wins the Electoral College vote but does not win the overall popular vote - as in 2000 - it will have that "not really legitimate" flavor.   With Nevada, New Mexico, Nevada, and possibly Iowa, it may be a reasonably solid win.

[10:10] Josh Marshall, a very thoughtful blogger on the left, concludes "One thing that does seem very clear tonight -- at least if what I'm hearing from the exits is true -- is that the much-ballyhooed youth vote simply did not show up. Simple as that."   So I'm not in Josh' class as an analyst, but I think it was simpler than that. Bush ran on his record, and Kerry ran against it.

[10:20] Republican Mel Martinez is leading in a close race for a Florida Senate seat.   Many observers felt his influence with the hispanic population in Miama accounted for Bush's stronger showing in Florida this time.

[10:33] Andrew Sullivan posts a concession: it's over. "The most fundamental fact of this campaign - and one of the reasons it has been so bitter - is that we are at war.  Our opponents at home are not our enemies.  The real enemy is the Jihadist terror network that, even now, is murdering innocents and coalition soldiers in Iraq.  Our job now - all of us - is to support this president in that war, to back those troops, and to pray for victory."   Right on.   I've said all along, if the war against terrorism remained the center of the debate, it was the right issue for Bush.   Our biggest challenge is going to be to reach out to each other, fellow Americans, who had an honest disagreement about the best leader to take us forward, and together fight our enemies.

[10:50] The discussion now seems to be: can Bush win without Ohio?  Because it appears Ohio may not be resolved tonight; there are a lot of provisional ballot to be counted, and that could take two weeks.  Apparently Bush is now leading in Iowa.

[10:55] Powerline summarizes tonight's Senate results; Republicans have picked up two seats and could pick up four if Thune (South Dakota) and Martinez (Florida) hold their leads.  The people are speaking.

[11:02] Daily Kos is a bit less gracious than Andrew Sullivan in his Final Thoughts.  "This is just the beginning, not the end.  Regardless of who takes that oath next January we still have a war to wage.  We won't wage it with violence, but by building a solid foundation for a new progressive movement.  Lawyers are heading out to Ohio to demand a fair count."  The math would indicate this party is over.

[11:17] Interesting to hear the pundits debate whether Kerry should concede.  Everyone agrees it would be bad form for Bush to claim victory before a concession.  Kerry has a close relationship with Ted Kennedy, who has been very influential in his campaign (Kennedy's chief of staff, Mary Beth Cahill, is Kerry's campaign manager), and Kennedy will remember Nixon's concession to Jack Kennedy in 1960, in another close hard fought victory, when the nation was "at war".  Anyway we'll see.

[11:21] Apparently NBC is reporting that Kerry will not concede tonight.  Bad form, IMHO.

[11:25] So now John Edwards will speak to the Kerry supporters in Boston, gathered for the "victory party", to tell them they are not going to concede and will keep counting votes in Ohio.  Sigh.

The Democrats need to learn from their mistakes.  Gore destroyed himself politically by fighting so hard and so unreasonably in 2000.  Ohio in 2004 is much further apart than Florida was in 2000.  Nothing to gain and so much to lose.

[11:30] Edwards' statement was short and weak.  "We will make every vote count, and count every vote."  Judging from his demeanor, he knows they've lost.  I'd even guess if it were up to him, he would have conceded; he seems a gentleman, unlike the Massachusetts boys.

Since Bush is ahead by 125,000 votes in Ohio, after 97% precincts have reported, this seems like a hopeless effort.  Perhaps in the cold light of day tomorrow they'll rethink this and concede.

On the other hand, I just heard someone on Fox say the Democratic party has 3,200 lawyers in Ohio.

One final point - Bush leads the overall popular vote 51% to 48%, a cushion of about 3,000,000 voters.  So unlike in 2000, there will not be any moral imperative propelling the Dems.

[11:40] I didn't think I'd ever enjoy watching CNN anymore, but it is a pure pleasure tonight.  They have not called Ohio, they have not called Iowa, and they are desperately spinning that the election is not over and Kerry can win.  However despite their brave words, the attitudes say it all.  Wolf Blitzer looks crestfallen.  Larry King looks old and frail.  They're literally discussing in roundtable form "what can we do to find votes for Kerry in Ohio?"  It is a delicious moment.

[11:43] A brief cut away on CNN to show Arnold Schwarzenegger giving a victory speech recounting the California ballot initiative results.  Arnold pretty much got his entire slate, he has tremendous popularity at the moment and parlayed it into substantial electoral power.  Importantly, propositions 68 and 70 were defeated, dealing the Indian gaming interests a strong blow.  It looks like 71 passed, so we are now funding a $3B stem cell research program.  More later on the rest...  It was interesting that the CNN anchors cut to Arnold thinking he was going to comment on the Presidential election, but then when he didn't they cut right back.  Who cares about California anyway?

[11:55] This is quite enjoyable.  I haven't watched TV "news" for so long.  Now I'm on CBS, watching Dan Rather.  He is clearly having a tough time with this.  They've got it 249 to 242, with Ohio, New Mexico, Nevada, Wisconson, and Iowa still in play.  However with Bush ahead by over 100,000 votes in Ohio and with a plurality in the popular vote of over 4,000,000 votes, the game is up, and you can see it on Dan's face.

[12:10] ABC has speculation about what might happen with a reelected Republican in the White House, and clear Republican majorities in the House and Senate.  Linda Douglass is saying she thinks there are a huge number of [liberal] people who will not be represented.  She just doesn't get it.  This election shows clearly that the Democratic party has moved too far to the left, leaving their constituents stuck in the middle.

I'm like that; I used to consider myself a Democrat, in fact I voted for Gore in 2000.  But there was no way I was going to vote for Kerry, "the most liberal member of the Senate".

[12:20] Okay, well, it looks like the action is over.  It was a big day.  See you tomorrow :)

[12:42] Sorry but I just can't stop watching CNN.  It is fascinating.  These guys are such amateurs.  My goodness, they just don't have a clue.

I just looked at Slate, and William Saletan wrote a great story: Simple but Effective.  (Subtitle, "Why you keep losing to this idiot.")  He was wrong - he supported Kerry, and predicted a big Kerry win - but he gets it: "Why don't a majority of voters agree with us?  How has Bush pulled it off?  I think this is the answer: Simplicity, simplicity, simplicity."

[01:09] Still watching.  On ABC they have reality; Cokie Roberts was just saying that if the Democrats want to recapture the Congress and the White House, they have to look at the map and notice it is painted Red:  "More liberal and more progressive politicians are not the answer for the Democrats."  Yeah, exactly.

It is striking that the entire North East went for Kerry, along with the West Coast, but that the South, and the entire Middle went for Bush.  I think the old left-right axis doesn't really describe this split.  There are a lot of people [like me] who are conservative on national defense and taxes, yet liberal on social issues.  Arnold in 2008?

[ Note: This post was originally reverse-chrono, like the home page of a blog.  I decided to switch it around for posterity, it makes more sense read in forward-chrono order... ]