Tuesday, October 21, 2008

The Simple Truth of the Electoral Map

In a moment of epiphany during my Justice and the Political Community class this afternoon, I figured out the electoral map. Yup, I know who's going to win. Lucky for you, I'm not like John McCain knowing the whereabouts of Osama bin Laden. I'm actually going to tell you what I came up with.

First, I listed all the states the Obama and McCain are both either going to or are very likely to win. I will do that right here for you with electoral votes for each state in ().

McCain: AK (3), AL (9), AR (6), AZ (10), GA (15), ID (4), KS (6), KY (8), LA (9), MS (6), NE (5), OK (7), SC (8), SD (3), TN (11), TX (34), UT (5), WY (3).

Obama: CA (55), CT (7), DC (3), DE (3), HI (4), IA (7), IL (21), MA (12), MD (10), ME (4), MI (17), MN (10), NJ (15), NY (31), OR (7), RI (4), VT (3), WA (11), WI (10).

The only one of those above states that some might have a dispute with is Minnesota. Take a look at the recent polls. In my opinion the Land of a Thousand Lakes is safe for Obama.

Next let's take a look at the ever-important "lean" states. This has become a shrinking category for both candidates as voters have begun taking sides for good two weeks out of the election.

McCain: ND (3), MT (3), WV (5).

Obama: CO (9), NH (4), NM (5), PA (21).

Again, some might disagree with Colorado and Pennsylvania being added so surely to the Obama column. McCain spent all day today in PA, suggesting that the Republicans will be trying to turn around a sizeable gap in recent statewide polling. As for Colorado, the polls remain tight, but the trend definitely favors Obama.

Before I take a look at the seven true "swing" states remaining, let's add up what each candidates have from their previous categories.

McCain: 163.

Obama: 273.

Well, spank my ass and call me Chuck Todd! We have ourselves a winner. Obama successfully gets to 270 without needing the help of the those seven swing states: FL (27), IN (11), MO (11), NC (15), NV (5), OH (20), and VA (13). It can be reasonably argued that Virginia should be at least an Obama "lean." Pollster even has VA solidly for Obama, with legitmate reason.

So that's it. It's over. McCain might as well pack it in right now. Okay, maybe it's not that cut and dry. Anything can and will happen over the course of the next two weeks, but the general electoral truths that I've just outlined can't be overlooked.

It doesn't seem to be a question of whether Obama is going to win. Since he doesn't very much help from the swing states, it's now become a question of margain.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

The Campaign With No Purpose

Three weeks to go until the Big Day, less than 24 hours until the final presidential debate of this election cycle, and roughly about an hour before I finish writing this Blue Musings post. I'm not sure what that has to do with the election, I just like sentences that have three parts like that.

Obama has extended his lead nationally over the last few weeks, including a new poll out tonight from CBS and the NY Times show a whopping 14-point lead for the Democrat.

Obama has put away McCain targets in Pennsylvania and Michigan. He's opened up modest leads in Colorado, Ohio, Florida, Minnesota, Wisconsin, and our beloved New Hampshire. Things remain very close in Virginia, Missouri, and Nevada, but the flood of Obama support has put Indiana, West Virginia, and North Carolina in play. (Pollster even has North Dakota in the tossup category, but there hasn't been much polling there and I think McCain can rest easy). I'm sure Republicans never thought they'd have to worry about those latter states breaking for Obama this late in the going.

So why has this happened? Why does it appear if the election were held today Obama could potentially take the electoral college by 150 votes? There's several factors to consider.

I remember just a month ago the undecidedes were still making up 10-15% in national polling. Well, it's safe to say a HUGE number of those undecided voters a month ago have broken for Obama, and given the current political climate, it will be extremely difficult for John McCain to lure them away. The aforementioned poll has Obama winning independent voters by 18 points, a truly staggering figure.

While Sarah Palin roused the Republican base, she's done nothing to attract middle-of-the-road voters. I think her interviews and non-performance in the debate have totally disgusted most of the sensible people in the United States. No one, even the most ardent conservatives, can successfully argue that she is qualified to be in a position to be president. Check out the legendary David S. Broder's most recent "Man on the Street" interview column, where he heads to a typically-swing Philly suburb to canvass the masses. Let's just say most of the people he talked to don't really like Palin.

McCain hasn't actually lost the election yet, but Palin is such a bust one has to wonder if the gamble to put her on the ticket may go down as the worst in political history. I never thought I'd see the day when a campaign was dumb enough do put someone on the ticket that would actually lose the election for the party.

However, the biggest reason why Obama is poised to win in three weeks is this: John McCain has overseen the most erratic, schizophrenic, purposeless presidential campaign over the last month that anyone (so it seems) can remember.

It all began with the campaign suspension over the economic crisis (just a week after McCain claimed the "fundamentals of the economy are strong"). McCain went to Washington, didn't help anything get done, and when the dust settled, everyone and their brother blamed the financial chaos on deregulation-loving Republicans in Congress.

McCain has attempted to shift the focus from the issues to Obama's tangential relationship with Bill Ayers, a 1960s-era radical that exactly zero people in Youngstown, Scranton or Albuquerque give a flying fuck about. Voters in both the Broder column and the Times article about today's poll reflect that exact feeling during this time of unrest both at home and abroad. Obama is speaking more about them and McCain is, well, who the hell knows what he's talking about anymore.

Earlier this week McCain seemed to be ready to play nice, saying he'd give up the negative attacks and run a respectful campaign. Today, the campaign released a memo attacking Obama on Ayers. Nothing these guys do make any sense, it seems.

I feel people have watched these unpredictable, erratic happenings from the McCain campaign and have seen a glimpse of a potential McCain presidency. Obama criticized McCain's temperament in his DNC speech, and we all see why now. If McCain were to act in this manner as president, we'd all be screwed. Not that we aren't already.

Obama has represented that steady hand, that calm demeanor needed to do well in a crisis. McCain's been like that, only the exact opposite. With an astronomical 89 percent of Americans believing our country is on the wrong track, people want someone with a different approach and a different attitudes towards finding solutions. That bodes well for Obama.

Americans have turned off the BS factor of the Republican spin machine, and they are ready for change. With three weeks left, I'm ready for history.