Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Election Day Post #1: First Thoughts

The day is finally here. It's about 4:30 here and Durham and the anticipation of those first returns coming in around 7 from Virginia, Georgia and Indiana is becoming unbearable. I've been holding my breath for 14 months, and I don't want to hold it anymore.

Walking around the UNH campus today felt different than just about every other day in my four years here. The tenor was different, the attitudes were different, the conversations were different. The election seemed to be what everyone was talking about. And on every street corner there were volunteers encouraging students to get on buses to go to Oyster River High School to register and vote.

All these volunteers were from the Obama campaign. Every single one of them. Nowhere on campus did I see any volunteers from the McCain campaign doing this. Hell, I don't think I even saw any McCain volunteers all day. There's no question the enthusiasm is squarely on Obama's side, and there's also no question that enthusiasm is paramount amongst the younger generations.

They always said our generation was apathetic, that we didn't care about anything but ourselves. In many ways, the self-indulgence compounded by texting and Facebook and AIM is still significant. But what I saw today around the UNH campus was a taste of an amazing future. This is a future where we won't allow skin-deep differences to get in the way of real progress. I'm hopeful that exit-polling will show a record turnout for younger voters, and it's partly because of us that Obama is in this position.

In short, I've never been more proud of my generation that I was today walking around. We have officially arrived.

OK, I have some brief things that I will be watching as the early parts of the evening. Virginia and Indiana will have their polls close at 7. If there's an early call for Obama in Virginia, and Indiana goes down the the wire, McCain's goose will probably be cooked early. If you don't believe me, check out this post at The 538 from a couple hours ago. The know more about this stuff than I do.

I'm also very intrigued by Georgia. There's been a massive push in black voting registrations and participation that could tilt the results towards not only Obama but Jim Martin in his Senate race against incumbent Saxby Chambliss. The state has been safe Republican for much of the race but I won't rule out an outright Obama win there.

Essentially, if Obama wins both Pennsylvania and Virginia, McCain is not likely to be able to win tonight. That's the most simple thing I can come up with for you.

The most compelling race of the night could potentially be a downballot one. The U.S. Senate race in Minnesota has no favorite and no predictability. Incumbent Norm Coleman and comedian Al Franken will have their vote split by an independent, Dean Barkley. We likely won't know the final result of this election until Wednesday afternoon.

With that, I will leave you to watching the returns. I hope everyone appreciates the history of this night. I will check back in if I feel it right to do so.

No comments: