Monday, November 03, 2008
Down to the wire
As confident as I am about this election, I sometimes find myself frozen in my tracks by this one question: What if McCain wins?
My stomach gets queasy and my head gets tight at the question.
Many of my friends are saying that they'll move to Canada if that happens. Me? I'm heading for the south of France. All the original French cultural amenities, in addition to a warmer climate and better wine - which I'll need every time I get a postcard, letter or phone call from home.
There are two editorials in the NY Times this morning about what will happen to the Republican Party if Obama loses and what will happen to the Democrats if McCain wins.
One, by Paul Krugman entitled "The Republican Rump," contains this:
What will defeat do to the Republicans?
You might think, perhaps hope, that Republicans will engage in some soul-searching, that they’ll ask themselves whether and how they lost touch with the national mainstream. But my prediction is that this won’t happen any time soon.
Instead, the Republican rump, the party that’s left after the election, will be the party that attends Sarah Palin’s rallies, where crowds chant “Vote McCain, not Hussein!” It will be the party of Saxby Chambliss, the senator from Georgia, who, observing large-scale early voting by African-Americans, warns his supporters that “the other folks are voting.” It will be the party that harbors menacing fantasies about Barack Obama’s Marxist — or was that Islamic? — roots.
Besides the economy, health care, education, the environment, reproductive rights, The War(s), and immigration, a President Obama will have at least eight years of work to turn this nation around and put her back on course.
It was this section of William Krostol's "Hey Liberals, Don't Worry," that caught my attention.
So liberals shouldn’t be too upset at the idea of McCain winning. Could it happen?
It’s possible. What if the polls, for various reasons, are overstating Obama’s support by a couple points? And what if the late deciders break overwhelmingly against Obama, as they did in the Democratic primaries? McCain could then thread the Electoral College needle.
McCain would have to win every state where he now leads or is effectively even in the polls (including North Carolina, Indiana and Missouri). He’d have to take Florida and Ohio, where he’s about four points down but where operatives on the ground give him a pretty good shot. That gets him to 247 of the 270 votes needed.
McCain’s path to victory is then to snatch Pennsylvania (which gets him to 268), and win either Virginia, Colorado, Nevada or New Mexico (states where he trails by about four to seven points) — or New Hampshire, where he’s 10 points behind but twice won dramatic primary victories.
As for Pennsylvania, two recent polls have McCain closing to within four points. Pennsylvania is the state whose small-town residents were famously patronized by Obama as “bitter.” One of Pennsylvania’s Democratic congressmen, John Murtha, recently accused many of his western Pennsylvania constituents of being racist. Perhaps Pennsylvanians will want to send a little message to the Democratic Party. And that could tip the election to McCain.
It’s an inside straight. But I’ve seen gamblers draw them.
This is the best articulation of the situation I've read. The good news is that it's even closer than I thought.
I'm working the phones today and tonight and will be driving people to the polls in Newark tomorrow.
You can help, too. The Obama campaign has built an online tool that lets you call voters in swing states and they urgently need help to call everyone on their list. All you need is a phone and a computer.
Can you make some calls? Here's the link to sign up.
Whatever you do, whatever you believe, please, please, please VOTE!
Except, of course, for my son-in-law, the Republican, who won't vote for McCain-Palin and can't bring himself to vote for a Democrat, even though he really likes Obama. For years, he and his Democrat wife have canceled out each other's vote. This year, they won't.
Te absolve tuum, darlin'.
The only time I want to see my grandchildren in the south of France is on vacation.