Monday, November 5, 2012

Tomorrow Night

Everyone's a libertarian until their state is under 10 feet of water.

-- Top Conservative Cat

This week everyone was talking about the weather, but no one was doing anything about it

Maybe Hurricane Sandy will finally blow all the climate-change deniers to Crankland, and we can start talking seriously about what to do. In this election, Democrats found the courage to talk about abortion, but climate change has still been off the agenda.

It's one of those focus-group feedback loops: If neither party pushes an issue, the public either loses interest in it or thinks that nothing can be done. Then focus groups don't react to it, so candidates are afraid to mention it. But nobody knows whether the issue would catch fire if somebody fanned it.

This never happens to conservatives. There's always one billionaire or corporation ready to push an issue even if the voters seem not to care.

Remember how the Republican Convention laughed when Mitt Romney reminded them that Obama wanted to do something about rising oceans? That's just hilarious now if you're from Atlantic City or Staten Island.

And we've all been fixated on tomorrow's election

Up until now, I've been trying (sometimes unsuccessfully) to focus on issues and themes, and to avoid letting the pure horserace aspect of the election overwhelm its content. The mainstream media already offers way too much coverage like: "Scores of people are dead in the wake of Hurricane Sandy. How do you think this affects President Obama's chances?"

But the election is tomorrow. You can't ignore it any more than you can avert your eyes from the boxes under the tree on Christmas Eve. Are we going to get that cool RC helicopter, lumps of coal, or a very practical package of socks?

I did so well forecasting the 2008 election that I ought to quit while I'm ahead. I had three advantages then: I was one of the early people to realize how good Nate Silver is at analyzing polls, the message Nate divined from the polls was clear, and I discounted my fear that whites might make a voting-booth decision to screw the black guy. So when the Pacific-coast states put Obama over the top at precisely 11 p.m. eastern time, I looked like Nostradamus.

This year everybody reads Nate in the NYT and the message of the polls is far less clear. Last time, the states that teetered on the knife-edge were long-time red states like Indiana and North Carolina, which only affected the magnitude of the Obama landslide.

This year, the polls say Obama kinda-sorta. If Romney wins, well, stranger things have happened. Ditto for Congress: Probably Democrats keep the Senate and Republicans keep the House, but neither is a sure thing. As for when we can go to bed tomorrow night, who knows? I'm guessing it's not going to cliff-hang on one too-close-to-call state, which probably means it'll be decided by, say, midnight.

As in 2008, I'm splitting my election-night predictions into two parts: the result (for the Senate as well as the presidency), and how it's going to play out hour-by-hour as the night rolls on.

... and you might also find this interesting

In addition to the races for office, there are also some important ballot initiatives. Same-sex marriage is on the ballot in Maine, Maryland, Minnesota, and Washington. In Maryland and Washington, the legislature has already approved same-sex marriage, but the initiative would veto the law before it takes effect. A similar veto-initiative passed in Maine in 2009, and this vote would reverse that one. The Minnesota proposal would codify opposite-sex-only marriage in the constitution.

Polls are close, but generally favor same-sex marriage -- which has never won at the ballot-box before. Recent polls have same-sex marriage proposals ahead 52%-42% in Washington, 57%-36% in Maine, and 52%-43% in Maryland. The Minnesota constitutional amendment is too close to call.

Ballot proposals in Colorado, Oregon, and Washington would legalize recreational marijuana use. That gives a whole new meaning to "high turnout".

The amazing Rick Perlstein (of Nixonland fame) describes a little-explored region: The relationship between the content of conservative publications and the ads that sustain them. Liberals often refer to right-wing liars as "snake-oil salemen". But the goldbugs and multi-level marketers and direct-mail advertisers that prey on the conservative rank-and-file are real snake-oil salesmen.
the con selling 23-cent miracle cures for heart disease inches inexorably into the one selling miniscule marginal tax rates as the miracle cure for the nation itself

Have trouble believing that tax cuts create jobs? Well, the Congressional Research Service doesn't believe it either. So Republicans pressured them to withdraw their report.

Some parodies are so good that they ought to be true. Here, Brad Hicks explains that Atlas Shrugged is just the first volume in a trilogy that would have ended with Anthem, if Ayn had just gotten around to writing the middle volume.

If you vote for Obama, Mike Huckabee says you won't get to spend eternity where he's going. You know, I might agree with that.

There's got to be a Romney: The Musical coming.

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