We have now survived a week without all the election ads. Time to look back. (I know- I'm a glutton for punishment!)
Election night I ended up at my local Caribou Coffee Shop and watched NBC News coverage on my iPhone while writing in my journal. Here is a summary of the three hours and a few minutes that were Election Night 2012 for me.
(All times Central Time.)
7:00- My first note as I looked back at the 10 previous elections I voted in, having been supporting the winner in only 3, I thought to the incredibly divisive campaign and wrote:
But who will unite us? In an age of such bitter divisiveness, no one wants to compromise when the opposing party has been made The Enemy and Evil Incarnate. That keeps compromise and negotiations from being possible.At this point, all "battleground states" were too close to call.
After interviewing Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker and the awareness that he is a conservative Republican in a Democrat-leaning state, one of the commentators wisely said asked:
How do you explain Wisconsin politics to an outsider?Ticket splitting and a strong sense of independence along with a progressive streak mark both Wisconsin and Minnesota. The results have shown that again.
I noted, thinking back over these past 40 years of elections I have voted in:
It does feel good to vote. It's what freedom is all about. Yet the cynic in me wonders what difference it all makes in the long run. Though, admittedly you never know who is going to step up and become great.I don't know what prompted the next note but it was clearly on my mind:
I still believe racism plays a larger role than anyone is willing to admit.7:20- One commentator hints that exit polls show that the auto bailout has helped Obama in Ohio. Will it be enough to push Ohio toward Obama?
Tom Brocaw and David Gregory, reflecting on the exit polls they have been discussing:
The people want them to work together.At 7:30 and time seems to still be creeping along. No news from the battleground states on the east coast. With Obama with 64 electoral votes and Romney at 88 I wrote:
It could be a long night- or will it all happen at once right around 11 in the east like in 2008 when most polls across the country have closed?Honest, I really said that!
At about the same time the long lines in Virginia had people still voting, an hour and a h alf after the polls officially closed. Chuck Todd keeps "geeking-out" with his electronics, watching the numbers he seems to want to give Florida more power than it will eventually have. In much of what he says I seem to be hearing that Obama is going to win this. A few minutes later, Brian Williams denies knowing anything they are not sharing.
At 7:50 all is quiet. NBC is filling time. I switch to CBS and they, too, are twiddling with numbers.
At 8:00 (CST) a lot of polls are now closed. From the Rockies east voting is done. Swing states like Colorado, Wisconsin, Minnesota, and Arizona are either too close or too early to call.
Romney has 153 electoral votes; Obama 114. But here in Minnesota the Senate call is quick and decisive. Amy Klobuchar (D) easily wins re-election. The spirit of Paul Wellstone lives on.
Michigan is called quickly for Obama.
North Carolina looks like it's heading to Romney.
Florida- leaning to Obama, but it is still Florida.
Virginia seems to hold no surprises at this point.
Ohio- Chuck Todd says again shows some positive signs toward Obama.
I find it funny that both campaigns are calling their gatherings in Boston and Chicago "Victory Celebrations." Have to maintain their positive spin and wishful thinking.At 8:10 NBC reports that former Gov. mike Huckabee has commented on another network that the GOP has done a "dismal" job with people of color, especially Latinos, who are the fastest growing voter base in the country.
8:15- Obama 128 electoral votes; Romney still at 153.
Florida has 80% of votes counted and it is still very close.
NBC takes another break; so do I as I head home to watch the rest unfold.
8:30- Wisconsin quickly called (relatively for a swing state) for Obama. he has now gone aead in electoral votes 158 - 153
8:44- Elizabeth Warren declared the Senate winner in Massachusetts. Indiana's voters soundly reject that rape is God's will as Democrat Donnelly defeats Mourdock.
8:50- New Hampshire goes Obama and as we get closer to 9:00, things are looking up for Obama. Still tight- but hopeful.
9:00- states go as expected, Now at 162 - 162 in electoral votes. But McCaskill is declared the Senate winner in Missouri over Todd Akin and his "legitimate rape" and very, very bad biology.
9:45- Minnesota has gone for Obama again. Obama at 172; Romney at 174. As we approach the 10:00 (CST) hour, NBC announces to their affiliates that they will stay national over the top of the hour break. Are they preparing a major shift in the next hour when California polls close?
10:00- Again with the as-expected states, Obama is at 243 and Romney at 188. A few minutes later Romney is the apparent winner in North Carolina and his total shifts to 203. Then Iowa goes "blue" and...
10:12- NBC gives Ohio to Obama and he goes over the 270 electoral vote mark.
Obama is re-elected.
And I head for bed, surprised it was this early again this year. And still wondering if the exit polls gave enough information that they had this as the probable outcome a few hours ago.
Another national election is over. Thanks goodness. It was awful- and I know it will continue to be divisive. But for tonight, I go to bed feeling very good to be able to go to sleep knowing that when I wake up in the morning, Barack Obama will have four more years.