icon caret-left icon caret-right instagram pinterest linkedin facebook twitter goodreads question-circle facebook circle twitter circle linkedin circle instagram circle goodreads circle pinterest circle


November 6 and Electoral Math

Two days from now, the United States will vote for president. It has not been an especially distinguished or edifying campaign, but then campaigns rarely are, it seems. It will be my second presidential vote since becoming a citizen in 2007, and I will vote this year as I did in 2008: for Barack Obama.

Like many supporters from four years ago, I'll make that vote with a lot less enthusiasm than I did then. What seemed to be Obama's cool in 2008 feels more like an aloofness in 2012. His smart, rapid reaction prevented a recession from becoming a cataclysmic depression; yet, his administration stepped back from the brink of the kind of root-and-branch reform of the financial system that might have prevented the same kind of meltdown in the future - a move that, in part, fueled both the Tea Party and Occupy Wall Street movements. He reformed health care, but in the end allowed it to become a health insurance reform rather than true health care reform. He took a major step toward allowing gays and lesbians to be granted equal rights, but did so with such a studied caution it came across as almost as calculating as sincere. Syria festers, the climate continues to change, and it's hard at times to see what exactly his fundamental, line-in-the-sand stances might be on a host of issues.

And yet, in many respects that cautious pragmatism was the only way forward after the Bush years. And one must also consider the hand he was dealt: not only the recession, but two wars, a Republican opposition that immediately decided to thwart him at every turn, and a racist rump that refused to even countenance the notion that a black president could be legitimate and questioned him on everything from college transcripts to birth certificates.

So if there is a little less enthusiasm than there was, there is also respect, a continued hope that a second term may see more progress, and - as much as anything - a fervent desire to keep the other candidate out of the White House.

The punditocracy continues to assert that this election is on a knife edge. The math suggests otherwise, that the final result will be close, but that Obama is a clear favorite. It says here he wins 294 electoral votes, 24 more than required, but that the vote counts in many states will be so close that the result will not be known for certain until late into the night.
Post a comment