The Election: A Break from Tech


I usually try to stick to technology here, but today I'll break with that and talk a little about the election.

First, there are some calling Ohio the new Florida. I think I've heard that on CNN ten times in the last hour. That's simply wrong for three key reasons:

  1. Ohio has a good process and they're following it. It turns out, I've met Ken Blackwell several times--we both served on an eGovernment committee at the Kennedy School of Government--and he's smart and very competent. I've got faith that anything he's supervising will be done right.
  2. There is a clear margin in the popular vote in Ohio. Admittedly, if almost all of the provisional ballots went to Kerry that might shift, but its very unlikely. We're not talking about a few hundred votes here, we're talking about a few hundred thousand.
  3. Finally, the margin in the popular vote is 50.1 to 49.9, its 51 to 48. What's more, its not in Kerry's favor its in Bush's. Bush has won a clear majority of the popular vote. No president has done that in 16 years (even Bill Clinton).

CNN and other's haven't called Ohio for Bush. They say they're being cautious and certainly after 2000, that's probably a reasonable position, but let's face it: the longer this drags on, the better it is for CNN. They're going to have viewers for as long as they can make it last. So, that means hold on for weeks of back and forth if CNN can pull it off.

Still, I believe its all over but the crying at this point. Kerry can insist on putting the country through another 10-20 days of agony at this point or he can do the honorable thing, like Nixon (can you even say that?) in 1960, and concede.

Speaking of crying, I know many of my friends here in the blogosphere will be deeply disappointed by a Bush victory and I feel bad for them. I know how emotionally invested they were and that's a tough thing. If Kerry had won, I don't think I'd have been nearly as upset (at least not this morning). I'm not sorry that Michael Moore was denied a victory. He doesn't need a bigger ego.

Ultimately, the Democrats have to figure out how to appeal to the vast heartland of America. They can't expect to win the Whitehouse or anything else if all they can do is take the coasts. The problem is that I'm not sure that's possible.

People have decried the divisiveness of the last while and blamed Bush. This election is evidence that Bush is the symptom, not the cause. The cause is much deeper and spells troubled times for America, I'm afraid. The division that splits America is deep and is based on feelings about moral, not political or economic issues. The exit polling showed that moral issues were the leading thing driving voters (20% over 19% and 18% for the economy and terrorism) and 78% of those who said moral issues were most important broke for Bush.

Now, if you're a Democrat and you're thinking "but Kerry is a moral man" that shows just how out of touch with this issue you are. I believe that Kerry is an upright and moral man, but that's not the point. The point is that the Democratic party platform is driven by issues that most people who are voting on moral issues simply can't support. That fact that eleven states voted to ban gay marriage yesterday is a case in point. That's a referendum that the Democrats can either recognize or ignore, but its still reality.

At any rate, I'm simply glad its over. I'll be thankful to not hear terms like "battleground state" or "margin or error" for another four years.