First – ITV wiped the floor with the BBC in the quality of its election night coverage. A great mix of news, statistics, humour and drama. What has particularly stuck in my mind was a very short, but absolutely on the button, description of what the Virginia result could mean – the home of American slavery helping elect the first black man as President. Informed, concise and moving.
And all done, by the looks of it, on a much lower budget than the BBC’s. Though it pains me to say so – as someone who likes the concept of the BBC, and thinks criticism of it is often mis-placed – the BBC seems to have lost its way badly when it comes to election night coverage.
Second – after all the events of the last four years (Iraq, financial meltdown, recession, ethics scandals and more), after all the Obama organisation, and with Obama as candidate – the Democratic share of the popular vote in the Presidential election only went up by 4%. McCain may have been swept away in an electoral college landslide, but in the circumstances, he came extremely close in the popular vote. The lessons from this are far from clear – was McCain’s error turning into a traditional Republican candidate in the closing part of the contest, or was his error not turning into one sooner? And is the Republican machine actually in a surprisingly good state, or is it about to fall apart? There will be much to keep politicos interested and debating!