Will voters deliver for Obama?

Formula 1 saw its first black world champion crowned in dramatic style on Sunday and an even bigger prize awaits Barack Obama as the US presidential race enters its last 12 hours.

Regardless of the fact I don’t see much changing whoever wins, it will be a lot closer than the exit polls are saying. It’s often said that people ultimately vote with their pocket when they put pen to paper in the polling station and McCain’s promise of lower taxes in difficult economic times may prove too hard for some to resist. A huge swath of central states will just vote stubbornly for the same party they’ve always voted and sad as it may be, some who may have considered switching to Democrat simply won’t this year because Obama is black.

Most amazing of all on TV I saw a young Hispanic voter say she’d vote for McCain “because he’s against abortion”. I can’t remember McCain making a big thing about abortion this election but it just goes to show that no matter how a government has performed, even young people still vote on the same old bizarre logic they’ve always voted on. If you look at it rationally, anyone would be mental to even consider voting Republican again after what they’ve done domestically and abroad over the past 8 years and yet the prognosis is it’s still going to be a very close result.

The most sensible piece of commentary I’ve read so far was by music producer Akon (never heard of him) in The Guardian today:

I really, really hope that Obama gets in but I don’t want to jinx him. It’s too early to say, because I don’t remember anybody voting for [George W] Bush’s second term, and he still won.

It’s a good point. When polled, many people are probably too ashamed to admit they will vote McCain but when it comes to the crunch, their pen accidentally slips on the voting paper.

The biggest problem for Americans though is that I don’t think they see a great deal of difference between the main candidates as in the last election. However, at least this the Democrats have offered concrete incentives such as a universal healthcare system and maybe that will give undecided voters at least something to hang onto as they go to the polls tonight.

PS This is an excellent interactive map of the election results (from none other than “fair and balanced” Fox news). Excellent because it’s one of the few mainstream media maps that will display results for independent parties as well.

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8 thoughts on “Will voters deliver for Obama?

  1. I am 22 and I'd like to capture my thoughts before America either elects a president who its first 26 presidents could have legally owned, or brazenly subverts the very ideals it was founded upon by manipulating numbers in a final embarrassingly overt goosestep towards corporate totalitarianism.I am nervous. And not night-before-the-swim-test nervous or even night-you-lose-your-virginity nervous, it's a low rumbling primal panic which I can only liken to Star Wars panic. Disney panic. The edge-of-your-seat-terror that makes you wonder if Skywalker's doomed after he refuses to join Darth Vader and drops down into the abyss, if the wicked octopus or grand vizier or steroid-pumping-village-misogynist is going to wed/kill/skin the dashing prince and then evil people in dark funny costumes are going to take over the world… if it wasn't a movie of course.And tonight it's not. It's not a movie and yet I feel like Obama might as well be wearing an American flag cape while a decaying McCain, in a high-tech robotic spider wheelchair wearing an eyepatch and stroking an evil cat, gives orders to a sexy scheming Palin who marches back and forth through their sub-terranian campaign lair in four inch thigh-highs and full-body black leather catsuit bossing around the evangelical ants with a loooooong whip… umm… is this just me? Anyway, the point is that things feel weird folks. I have friends who have peed in waterbottles to keep from interrupting a Halo-playing marathon who got off their asses/couches to volunteer for the Obama campaign not once, but many times. Friends so cheap their body content is at least 1/3 Ramen Noodle who donated a good deal of their hard-earned cash to the campaign. People have registered to vote in record numbers, and yet, something just doesn't feel right. I think we should stop congratulating ourselves for just voting. To vote is a privilege which people have died for, and I think there's a whole lot more to be done for the country than to simply help win an election every 4 years.Hundreds of millions of dollars, hundreds of thousands of man-hours spent on both sides by good-intentioned people who want to make a difference in an historic election, so many resources and voices and energies devoted to a single day. After tomorrow, half of that is going to have been a waste. And I can't help but wonder what could have happened if all that muscle had been put towards something else, and what will happen to its momentum after the election has come and gone. Shouldn't we be donating our money to good causes whenever we can? Helping people who don't have? Dedicating some of our time to contribute to making the country which provides for us a better place? Of course a power shift is a hugely significant step on the path to great reform, but worrying about this election has been a wakeup call for me:Even if Obama wins, we have not "won." This isn't a movie and we can't toss every greedy lobbyist oil fatcat bigot down a reactor shaft. I think if we dedicate ourselves to the ongoing welfare of the country as much as we have to the outcome of this election, we'll have a much better shot at coming closer to the overwhelming good the liberals hope Obama will usher in, but which no mere mortal could fully realize alone. Which brings me to the other side. I've heard a lot of people claim that if McCain wins, they're leaving. I heard the same thing about Bush's reelection, and his unelection before that, and nobody seems to be leaving. And that's fine. Because as much as I complain about certain political happenings, atrocities, etc., I really do like it here and I suspect most other people do too. We have New York and Hollywood, purple mountain's majesty and sea to shining sea, we created jazz and country music and baseball and cars and lightbulbs and computers and that movie with hundreds of animated singing Chihuahuas! I mean who among the shivering Plymouth pilgrims ever imagined ordering hundreds of animated singing chihuahuas onto a magical box from an invisible information superweb?The point being, if things don't turn out the way I want tomorrow, I feel compelled, as a college-graduated adultish-type-person, to take a stand. And if I'm going to leave I'm going to leave. But if I'm going to stay I'm not going to sit around whining like I have for the past 8 years. It's like when I don't clean my room because it's dirty and then I blame the dirt. So in my very indecisive way, before you and your screen, I'm declaring my intention to make some kind of stand in the event of -(Ican'tevensayit)-, and encouraging you to consider making one too…Jump the ship or grab a bucket? -Sigh- Wasn't everything so much easier back when the worst possible affront to your values was a PB&J sandwich cut diagonally with crust?Anyways, I guess what I'm saying is that if we're going to stay on board, we should probably be generous with our time and resources when times are tough even more than when the hero saves the day. Because what if he doesn't? And what if he can't? If we're serious about real change, election day should only be the beginning of "Yes we can," not the end.Best,Hannah Friedmanwww.writinghannah.blogspot.com

  2. Hi Hannah, Thanks for the “comment” although It would have been sufficient to just post a link to your blog post rather than post the entire post as a comment!I agree with most of your sentiments, especially that an Obama win is not a significant win for those seeking radical change. And you’re right – the answer to changing things in your country is not for everyone to leave but to stick around and fight!

  3. While the need for insurrection seems to have passed, I think it was obvious to Republicans that they couldn’t steal this election without serious repercussions.The results are pretty much final now: Obama won by a large margin, taking Pennsylvania, Ohio and Virginia (as well as Florida). The polls were right, and people voted for change.

  4. he totally pissed it by a larger margin that anyone dared dream. it’s funny – apparently when people do polls in america they ring up on landlines, whereas most young people (who are more inclined to vote for obama) only have a ‘cell’ phone so they get excluded from the polling process.it’s all very exciting though. the new world order starts here. america will be like sweden in a couple of years, only without quite so much herring.

  5. Good point – serves the pollsters right for being so tight!A New World Order is certainly on the horizon but whether it’s an order that favours the population or the elite remains to be seen.

  6. well, his timing’s either very good or very bad, in that he’s got a broken economy to fix and that will take time and resources away from things like health. on the flipside, there’s now widespread acceptance that the laissez faire economic policy of the last 30 years doesn’t work, so he’s got a mandate to lead an administration that isn’t afraid to stand in the way of big business and to regulate and tax them. i do hope he goes for a nice holiday somewhere before he starts his new job though. he must be knackered.

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