Opinion: US Elections – I’m not one to gloat, but….

I am still musing on what a wonderful night it was on Tuesday into Wednesday. I stayed up all night until I finally threw in the towel at 6.45am. It was a bit tedious at first, but it got really exciting at around 3am.

Over the last few weeks, I have been a very regular visitor to FiveThirtyEight, the home of Nate Silver. So, perhaps I shouldn’t be surprised that the man’s forecasts have turned out to be right.

But I still can’t get over the scale of Obama’s and the Democrats’ victory. Politico have a nice round-up.

The popular vote

During Tuesday night, even carefully unbiased TV channels such as CNN kept on saying that Obama was behind in the popular vote, even though he was ahead in the Electoral Vote. This repeated statement even led some Foxed-up people like Donald Trump to threaten to protest against this outrage by running naked down Wall Street with their hair on fire (or something like that).

It is strange that the TV networks use projections all the time for state results but not for the popular vote. So they kept on showing the declared popular vote without projecting the couple of million votes that California would add to Obama’s margin.

No doubt, Foxed-up folks who can’t do math (Amercian style there) were beginning to sense a cause to rally around. An outrage to get them all foamed up for the next four years.

But in the event, the fact, less publicised perhaps than Obama being behind in the popular vote in the middle of the night, is that Obama, before the final declaration of Florida which is unlikely to change the margin much, is three million votes ahead. Yes, three million.

Obama stands with 61,170,405 votes while Romney has 58,163,977.

Electoral college

With the concession of Florida, Obama has won 332 electoral college votes. – A full 62 votes more than he needed to win.

Indiana was counted out of the swing states months ago. So, Romney basically gained only North Carolina of the swing states. He did not win several states which he made a massive play for: Ohio. Virginia. Florida (now conceded by the Romney team). Colorado. New Hampshire. Iowa. Wisconsin. Pennsylvania.

All those states had been dangled in our faces by the Romney campaign as ones that they would win.

They didn’t win any of them. Nada.

And the margins Romney lost those states by were very clear and convincing.

Ohio 1.9 points. Virginia 3. Colorado 4.7. New Hampshire 5.8. Iowa 5.6. Wisconsin 6.7. Pennsylvania 5.2.

Those are not wafer thin majorities. Only in Florida is there currently a slim majority for Obama, but, then again, even the polls put that in the Romney camp for many weeks before the election.

The Senate

Harry Reid becomes a much stronger figure in American politics now that he leads 53 members in the Senate. There were some significant victories behind that figure. The Democrats won North Dakota! And Indiana! And Missouri!

Linda McMahon and her millions were defeated in Connecticut. Bill Nelson won Florida. And the first openly gay woman in the Senate is now Tammy Baldwin after her victory in Wisconsin over Tommy Thompson.

Ballot measures

Colorado and Washington voted to legalise the sale and possession of marijuana for recreational use while it was approved for medical use in Massachusetts. Maine, Maryland and Washington voted for same sex marriage.

In many ways also, Tuesday was a referendum on Obamacare and the answer came through loud and clear from the American people: Affirmative. John Boener, the Republican leader of the House, has already said that it is now “the law of the land” and his party will not seek to reverse it.

As a CNN pundit said, to vote in Obama in 2008 was historic, but to vote him in again in 2012 was miraculous. To now be in with a chance to be a historically great president, rather than just a one-termer, is a very significant achivement for Obama, perhaps a greater one than his initial election.

This was a truly historic night where the tectonic plate shifts of social and demographic change in the USA finally showed through in the ballot box.

…And to think, Mitt Romney actually had fireworks ready to fire all over Boston harbour to celebrate his victory on Tuesday night.

* Paul Walter is a Liberal Democrat activist in Newbury and West Berkshire. He is Photo Editor of Liberal Democrat Voice and blogs at Liberal Burblings.

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8 Comments

  • I stayed up all night until I finally threw in the towel at 6.45am.

    Oh, thank GOD, there is actually someone out there sadder than me! I went to bed at 6 am. Thanks, Paul, you made my day :)

    I can’t actually decide whether I’m happier about Obama’s victory or the victory of Nate Silver’s maths over the pundits’ “gut feelings” and “vibrations”…

  • Paul Walter 9th Nov '12 - 6:14pm

    Lol

  • Paul Walter 9th Nov '12 - 6:19pm

    The funniest “gut feeling” was from Peggy Nonan, who wrote “a thousand points of light” for R Reagan.

    Her rationale?:

    Obama looked as if he had seen some bad polling. Romney has some big crowds. Obama looks “joyless” on the stump. And her friend Tony in North West Washington says he hasn’t seen many Obama yard signs, but he’s seen loads of Romney ones.

    http://www.businessinsider.com/peggy-noonan-romney-obama-prediction-electoral-college-map-wall-street-journal-2012-11

  • Tony Dawson 10th Nov '12 - 9:19am

    No Liberal can be other than happy with the outcome: the best result possible out of a terrible system where money talks.

    Now we in this country and the rest of Europe have to batten down the hatches as the USA confronts the reality of an economy which would have crashed long ago were it not for the use of the dollar as a global currency. Look out for Obama going for the easy options of protectionism. And when USA catches a cold. . . . .

  • Keith Browning 10th Nov '12 - 10:35am

    Funny that the BBC delayed ‘calling’ the election until a time when most Democrats were already on their second bottle of champagne. Their poll guru was telling them from 2pm onwards that it was almost over then – and seemed to become frustrated that he was positively ignored from that moment onwards. Dumbing down to build tension??

  • In response to “Liberal Eye”:
    1. Neither Larry Summers nor Timothy Geithner were part of “the Bush economic team”. Summers was part of the Clinton administration and spent the Bush years in Harvard. Geithner was President of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, which is not a partisan job.
    2. This is your opinion with nothing to substantiate it.
    3. The Massachusetts health care plan was not a “failed initiative” but was generally approved of by Massachusetts residents. Obama did not “voluntarily junk” the public option (a government-run health insurance plan that might have been available to a small number of people for whom other plans were less than optimal); he led the fight for it and only consented to its removal when it became clear that conservative Democrats in the Senate would not let it go through.
    4. As everyone knows, President Obama ended American participation in Iraq and is on track to remove troops from Afghanistan. He intended to close the Guantanamo prison but was denied funds to do so by Congress. However, the abuses that formerly occurred there have stopped.

    It is disturbing to see these distortions of the record being promoted by a “Liberal”.

  • Liberal Eye 12th Nov '12 - 6:59pm

    @ David

    1. You are right that Geithner was President of the Federal Reserve Bank of NY under Bush. However, the Federal Reserve, especially in NY, has a key role in financial regulation etc. and is inextricably bound up with government policy. I was wrong to include Summers who was indeed a Clinton appointment generally credited with playing a key role in the repeal of the Glass-Steagall Act – which many see as a a critical mistake that fed into the financial crisis that exploded a few years later. I might have included Bernanke who was originally appointed by Bush as Chairman of the Federal Reserve then later reappointed by Obama for a second term. One way and another policy in important respects was remarkably similar under the two presidents. Especially in a crisis one would hope so see a change of course rather than digging the hole deeper.

    2. I had not thought any ‘evidence’ necessary. For starters Google foreclosure fraud or more or less anything by Matt Taibbi or try this.

    http://www.nakedcapitalism.com/2011/04/bill-black-fiat-justitia-ruat-caelum-let-justice-be-done-though-the-heavens-fall.html

    3. Many US liberals have noted that ‘Obamacare’ is remarkably insurer-friendly while failing to tackle some evident failings and abuses of the current system. In particular in an essentially private sector system Obama could at least take measures to ensure greater competition to lower the notoriously high costs and hence increase affordability. While dismiss the ‘public option’ as being marginal and “for a small number of people” that includes 10s of millions in the US and many consider that, were it done right, it would have offered the lacking competition to private insurers. The pernicious influence of big business on legislators who need megabucks for their next campaign is strongly implicated. Why do you suppose so many in the US, including many liberals, have strong reservations about Obamacare. Do you think they are just stupid?

    4. Obama did indeed end the war in Iraq – but only on a timetable set by Bush which Obama did his best to extend.

    http://www.salon.com/2011/10/21/about_that_iraq_withdrawal/

    Meanwhile the war in Afghanistan is set to take him as long to end as the total length of WW2. Impressive – or what?
    And Guantanamo? I have faith that the American people, properly led, would rise to the moral challenge. Unfortunately Obama is not providing it.

    Before making accusations of ‘distortion’ I suggest you ask yourself why Obama had such a narrow margin of victory against such a poor candidate as Romney.

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