Monday, November 01, 2004

Homestretch. Endgame. And then...

Election Eve – 2004

Senator Kerry seems to have a victory well in hand. Polls do not agree, but the better view is that Kerry has a significant lead in the so-called swing states. It may end up with Senator Kerry losing the popular vote and winning the EV, but I doubt it. My prediction is for Senator Kerry to command a 2-5% point margin of victory in the total count, and to collect 300+ EV’s.

And then. And then...

All too suddenly, we will be embroiled with a newly embittered right-wing, whose adherents are increasingly young and ill-used to losing. Freshly-minted conservatives really do seem to believe that all taxes are bad, all government spending is to be avoided, that Democrats have loose morals, and that urban Americans and not as worthy as good rural folk. They will take the defeat hard, letting their innate bitterness ferment and rage. Given that most conservatives are not really for anything, they will relish their re-found role as accusers of the left.

In ruminating on President Kerry’s campaign, I’m struck by a couple of moments. One of the most powerful moments to me was in the 2d debate, where young George sat on his stool, while Big John towered over him, clearly the indicting prosecutor condemning the unrepentant wrong-doer.

Also from the debates, “I know that. I know that.” And from the Republican convention in NYC, the drum beats of fear: Saddam. Terror. September 11. Death.

The two campaigns home pages: Bush’s, all about Sen. Kerry, Kerry’s, also all about Kerry. No one focused on Bush.

Two Kerry endorsements. One, in the NY Times, as much a back-handed compliment as could be imagined. With friends like that, who needs enemies? The other, in the New Yorker, which had never before endorsed a candidate for President. A thorough, calm, unflinching catalog of the incumbent’s failures, and a singing review of the challenger’s credentials. Only the perfidy of the present incumbent could politicize corners of American culture that had previously been above (or below, or next to) the fray.

From a Halloween party Saturday night: “Who’re you gonna vote for?” asks one of the moms to another. “Well, I know who my husband is voting for, but I think I’m gonna vote for Kerry. I think things have just gotten out of hand, and just gonna get worse.”

The current media mindset, worn like an iron helmet: the race is so close, both candidates have done their best and their worst, and thank God the president is likely to win. The President is seen as stronger on terror. Kerry has made a good effort at portraying himself more in tune with the domestic concerns of Americans. Just like 2000: neck and neck down to the wire (even though in 2000 the press had anointed Bush the winner by a 3-5 point margin prior to the actual vote). Republicans accused of voter suppression, Democrats of registering millions of new voters (these charges are meant to counter-balance each other in the media’s idiotic on-the-one-hand-on-the-other Scale of Justice).

A great line from Al Franken today (who remains really quite annoying overall, even as he oh-so-earnetly slogs away for progressivism: On November 3, the minimum wage won’t be any higher, we won’t be any closer to health care for all, we won’t have taken a single step toward a free and democratic Iraq, etc. As put by the blogger who wins the award for my favorite blog title Max Speaks (You Listen) put it, “Polictics begins November 3.

Congratulations to President Kerry on his stunning victory.

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