Punditrybedamned, there's only one undeniable truth about this year's Election Night soiree: Nearly half of the American electorate will be wickedly pissed off when they climb into bed tomorrow night. A much smaller yet unquestionably sizeable segment of the American electorate will be wickedly pissed on when they climb into bed tomorrow night, if Craigslist personals and a cursory googling of the term "kinky watersports" is any indication. I'm betting a whole bushel of closet-creepy Republicans will fall into both camps.
A particularly cautious brand of optimism pervades much of the air left of center, but there's literally no reason to be too worried about this one. When it comes down to it, Barack Obama has a much better shot of winning 370 electoral votes than John McCain does of winning the requisite 270 it takes to ascend to the highest office in these United States. Ultimately my proprietary projection analysis shows Senator Obamuhhhh with a relative landslide victory of 322-216 -- there was no October surprise, there will be no last-minute undecided shift and the only Bradley Effect will be the ripples on Dollar Bill's chin if the former senator happens to see airtime on a cable news channel.
The grossly incompetent McCain campaign and its affiliated Republican attack machine tried to throw everything they had at "that one." But they learned what the reigning first family of Democratic politics learned in the primary: Nothing sticks to Obama -- he's more Teflon than John Gotti and Slick Willie combined.
Obama has no experience. Obama's a secret Muslim. Obama's an Arab. Obama's an out-of-touch elitist. Obama's reverend is an anti-American racist. Obama's top donor is a corrupt convict. Obama pals around with domestic terrorists like Bill Ayers. Obama pals around with Palestinian terrorists like Rashid Khalidi. Obama's too radical for mainstream America. Obama wants to spread your wealth. Obama's a Socialist. Obama's a Marxist. Obama wasn't born in this country. Obama works with ACORN. Obama hasn't released his full medical records. Obama wants reparations. Obama wants to bankrupt the coal industry. Obama's got the media in his pocket.
I half-expect to see "Obama Uses Trig Palin As Dildo To Rape Poor Innocent Bristol, Laughs About It" on the Drudge Report tomorrow morning.
But as the negative attacks continue, the junior senator from Illinois' lead keeps widening. Is the economy bad enough that the majority of Americans want anybody but a Republican in the Oval Office? That's part of it, sure. People are finally realizing that the most accurate and honest political statement on the campaign trail came from Obama during the tough primary at a fundraiser in San Francisco when he said: "So it’s not surprising then that they get bitter, they cling to guns or religion or antipathy to people who aren’t like them or anti-immigrant sentiment or anti-trade sentiment as a way to explain their frustrations." The media ate it up as ratings and circulation fodder, and Obama's opponents seized on this perceived gaffe that'd surely lose him some key swing states like Ohio and Pennsylvania.
Let's back up and take that quote in context. Here's the lead-in that was conveniently clipped from the front of the money shot above: "But the truth is, is that, our challenge is to get people persuaded that we can make progress when there’s not evidence of that in their daily lives. You go into some of these small towns in Pennsylvania, and like a lot of small towns in the Midwest, the jobs have been gone now for 25 years and nothing’s replaced them. And they fell through the Clinton administration, and the Bush administration, and each successive administration has said that somehow these communities are gonna regenerate and they have not."
That quotation makes much more sense now, no? And, to his immense credit, Obama's done just what he said in my italicized excerpt. The Democrat's campaign has surely made some missteps, but this has been his crowning achievement, what's made him so successful -- his mix of the ground game and passing game has no doubt persuaded working-class and middle-class folks that it's time to vote with the wallet and family budget rather than the guns and religion. Americans by and large don't want "Country First." No, it's "My Family First," and Obama has managed to convince people he has the capacity to let them dream again, and dream bigger.
But even more so than that, and more than the mandate for Change we'll see declared in Grant Park tomorrow night, the symbol of Obama has more support than the symbol of McCain. Never before in my lifetime has an election held up two diametrically opposed archetypes for the electorate to back: McCain represents Old America, mostly baby boomers and their surviving parents who think America has been the world's only dominant superpower and will forever be; Obama represents the New School, mostly young professionals and educated elites who understand we live in a world in which America will be a big part of an increasingly intricate global network. McCain's supporters think we're entitled to "good-paying American jobs," whereas Obama's supporters realize more and more countries are graduating from the kid's table to the adults' dinner. Obama's supporters understand that every move we make impacts the rest of the world, whereas McCain's supporters just don't particularly give a shit. America, fuck yeah.
The two archetypes over the past year have been asking people to line up behind them. Even if you don't fit the mold exactly, the time to officially choose a side is tomorrow. And what we've seen, even with the introduction of Sarah Palin, is that the Us Vs. Them war we expected never materialized at the level we witnessed in 2004. No, the Us Vs. Them we saw this time was more economic and geopolitical in nature, and it looks like a majority of the American people find Obama's vision if the world to be more palatable. At some point we must realize that the America's long era of world dominance is over, but that we'll still be okay in the end if we come to terms with this reality. We must change our worldview, not just our domestic leaders. That point has come. And that's the mandate for Change.
After nearly two years of the most expensive and perhaps emotional campaign in history, I can't wait for this to end tomorrow night, and by all accounts it should end positively. So, in advance, I'm sorry that almost half the country will feel like they've been hosed tomorrow night. I'm just glad that this time, it's the other half.
(Oh, and if McCain somehow pulls off the impossible...I was jus' keeeeding!)