Red, blue, and purple maps
On November 2, the red-vs.-blue map of the United States was the symbol for a divided America.
MSNBC's Joe Scarborough showed a country swimming in red (or "Scarborough Country," as he would call it), if you looked at a geographical county-by-county breakdown, as was circulated in the blogosphere.
Another interesting idea was the map at BoingBoing, created by Jeff Culver. He changed the red and blue, and in its place, had various shades of purple— depending on voting percentages. The purples smooth out the sharp red-blue divide.
Finally, there's a New York Times map that's red and blue and white all over ( "Essays & Effluvia"has the map). The speckles of color are shaded to reflect population density.
We credit MSNBC.com's Alan Boyle's Cosmic Log for pointing us to all these maps.
On 'Hardball' tonight (Dominic Bellone, Hardball producer and newsletter editor)
Operation "Phantom Fury" is well underway in Fallujah. According to the Associated Press, The top U.S. commander in Iraq on Monday predicted a "major confrontation" on the streets of Fallujah as a U.S.-led force of as many 15,000 troops pressed to retake control of the Sunni Muslim city.
We'll of course bring you the latest from Fallujah with reporters on the ground there...We'll then get expert military analysis from retired General Barry McCaffrey, who commanded folks in the first Gulf War.
We bring you an update on Arafat's worsening condition in Paris from NBC's Keith Miller and then discuss the geopolitical impact of an Arafat death with former Secretary of State (Bush 41) Lawrence Eagleburger...
In the back half we return to domestic politics with retiring Louisiana Senator John Breaux (D) on why the Dems are so out of touch with America and what they need to do to get back a governing majority. Is it the "values" question? Do they need to ditch the Michael Moore/Whoopi Goldberg wing of the party? We'll get reax to Breaux from fmr. BC-04 sr. advisor Tucker Eskew.
Please join us. We'll help chase away the Monday blues...
- Iraqi PM Alawi to his soldiers: "Your job is to arrest the killers but if you kill them then let it be," he said, according to a pool report. "May they go to hell," shouted the soldiers. "To hell they will go," Allawi replied. ( Reuters)
- Bush signals no major shift in foreign policy...Advisors say president unlikely to change course to placate allies ( The Washington Post )
- Palestinian officials fly to France to see Arafat...Senior trio shrugs off Suha Arafat's charge of plot against leader ( Reuters )
- President Bush in his second term "absolutely" would push for a constitutional amendment that says marriage consists only of the union of a man and a woman, White House political adviser Karl Rove said. ( AP)
- Specter: Pro-life nominees will get fair hearings...Says earlier comments were referring to potential fillibusters ( AP )
- U.S. remains unprepared for bioterror attack...Despite increased funding, experts still see vulnerabilities ( The Washington Post )
- Rehnquist still absent as court returns to work...Ailing chief justice said to be participating from home ( AP )
- The summer of love has given way to the autumn of fear in San Francisco, a liberal stronghold where residents bitterly disappointed by the Bush victory are in no mood to reach out and mend divisions. ( Reuters)
- Post-Election, Hollywood Seen as Liability to Left...After John Kerry "surrounded himself" with the likes of Michael Moore and Whoopi Goldberg, many voters in Middle America judged him to be "a real liberal," says one political analyst. ( Reuters)
- Pat Buchanan: Now, end the judicial dictatorship
- The Washington Monthly: Clear and Present Danger...The hawks relaunch a Cold-War relic.
- John Fund: The GOP's Blue-State Blues...Not everything came up roses for Republicans on Election Day.
- Specter Blunders on Roe. V. Wade
Post-election hangover (Dana Falvo, Creative Story Unit)
Starting the Saturday before the election we were in prep-mode for Tuesday; it’s the equivalent of going out to the bars on a Friday night and not stopping until Sunday evening, minus the booze. Once the election came, we were running on pure adrenaline. I’ll tell you this, the past weekend was a time of rest. A lot of effort went into our coverage and many hours of sleep were spent awake.
And then Wednesday hit. It left many scratching their head and wondering when America became so moral-centric and what exactly the future entails for the Democrats. It was almost like a guy having a fun night out, waking up the next morning trying to piece together exactly what happened the night before.
Here we are, the election story is over (and admittedly over sooner than we ever thought) leaving us with the same empty feeling you have the morning after a good all-night party—without the headache. After a year of covering Decision 2004 we’re left searching for a NEW news story— especially here in the CSU. We’re digging for that next big story.
Every part of the week was exciting and for someone who had her first election experience all of the effort and lost sleep was well worth it… I’m even looking forward to the 2008 coverage!
We really do read your e-mails! Here’s one I received from a soldier mentioned in a previous blog:
"Hello my name is Colby Buzzell and I am the soldier that did the MY WAR blog (cbftw.blogspot.com), I received an e-mail from a reader who read your write up about my blog on your MSNBC website and I just want to say thank you for mentioning me and the blog on your blog, I'm glad you liked it. BTW (I'm telling everybody this) if you get a chance, flip thru December’s issue of Esquire magazine when it comes out. Take care -CB"
Keep 'em coming! DFalvo@msnbc.com
A loss for true conservatism (David Shuster)
The basic argument I heard was not about marriage (more on that below) but about being gay. And a majority of voters seem to believe that homosexuality is an "immoral lifestyle choice."
Hmmmm. The problem is that anybody who has a relative or friend who is gay also knows it is not a "choice." It is something wired into the genes of approximately 3 or 4 percent of the human population in every single culture on the planet. Secondly, when it comes to morality, consider this: While the Bible does suggest homosexuality is an abomination (Leviticus 18:22), The Bible also says in Leviticus 25:44 that we may possess slaves, both male and female, provided they are purchased from neighboring nations; Exodus 35:2 says that my neighbor who works on the Sabbath should be put to death; Lev. 19:27 expressly forbids men from getting their hair trimmed; Lev. 11:6-9 states that touching a dead pig makes us unclean (Are you ready for some football?) and Lev. 19:19 forbids us from planting two different crops in the same field or wearing garments made of two different kinds of thread. The penalty? Lev. 24:10-16 suggests we stone people to death.
Maybe some Americans want to return to the days of slavery, devout observance to the Sabbath, long hair, all cotton clothes, and stoning people... I would prefer that our society move forward.
And the best way to move any society forward is to strengthen the family. I adore my family and consider them to be the best part of my entire life. And I'm absolutely convinced that "marriage" fosters social cohesion, emotional security, and economic prudence. That's why I'm baffled as to why we would keep such an institution away from anybody. (I'm not talking about "religion-sanctioned marriage," I'm referring to the civil institution of marriage—the kind that involves a "state-sponsored" license.)
The fact is, the couple down the street... whether they are straight or gay, has no bearing whatsoever on my marriage or yours. Gay marriage could only undermine or delegitimize straight marriage if it were a real alternative. But, do you know any heterosexuals who could be persuaded by law (or anything else for that matter) to have sex with or marry someone of their own sex? I don't.
Any intelligent and logical thinking person must know that gays are not going away. So why not coax these human beings into traditional values? Marriage reinforces a healthy social trend... and it provides stability. Isn't that what conservatism stands for?
If we really want to improve and strengthen the institution of marriage, instead of passing laws that exclude couples, shouldn't we be focused on why 50% of all marriages end in divorce? Why not pass a law that requires all couples (as some churches do) to meet with a pastor and talk about hundreds of issues before the marriage. Or how about a law that says you can't marry anybody you met in the last 24 hours?
Unfortunately, logic and common sense to be in short supply these days. Instead, we have an endless supply of hatred and fear. Why is that?
Hardbloggers debate morality as an election issue
Below are two very different, very passionate Hardblogger e-mails we received just within the hour. We think they show the polarity of America when it comes to the issue of morality.
Character counts— and we just got fed up
Yes, I’m one of those that “time forgot” but now number in the majority… frankly, we always were in the majority, we were just a bit too polite and kind not to go for the throat. After years of the media and particularly the California entertainment contingent pushing some seriously disturbing lifestyles on the world in every form possible – TV, Cable, movies, print of all sort, etc. and insisting that what ever someone does is their own business, we just decided enough was enough. In case you hadn’t noticed, we are educated, we are employed, we are the basic fabric of this country. One more thing, we do NOT wish to move to Canada nor are we using such treats and temper tantrums to try to get our way. What we did, is vote our conscience.
Re: the Baldwins, Streaisand, Penn, Whopie, et al, we really don’t care about them anymore. They enjoy the freedoms that we, the people and the voters protect. While they will call us nasty names and insist that morality is relative, we disagree and right now, whether you like it or not, we have spoken. So take a look at what you truly value and tell me that you don’t believe there is a God; you don’t care about honesty and you believe Big Brother Government is the best path. If that really is your world view… wait awhile and I’m sure you will get what you want. If the much maligned Bible is true, then Armageddon is only a matter of time. If we are all wrong, well, everyone dies and then you can do what ever you like. Of course, if we are right… you are in some deep fertilizer, for a very long, long time… you can’t have it both ways. —Sincerely yours, A former Democratic baby boomer
While in line at Starbucks late Tuesday morning, a young man whose Walkman was turned up very high stood behind me. As I (a latte-drinking, Volvo-driving, left-leaning Northwest liberal) waited for my coffee, I overheard the stressed-out tones of some rabid right-wing radio host. He was exhorting his listeners to ignore early exit polls showing John Kerry was ahead because “conservatives tend to vote in the evening.” He explained that conservatives are busy in the mornings getting their children off to school and themselves off to work; therefore, liberals dominate the early exit polls. I wanted to laugh out loud! (Of course later I wanted to cry, but that’s a different story.) My husband and I had spent the morning getting our young children through the a.m. routine an hour and a half early so all of us could go to the polling place together, have breakfast afterward, and— it’s shocking, I know— get everybody to school and work on time.
Bush supporters and the media have characterized the election outcome as a victory for “moral values,” as if the Republicans have them and the Democrats don’t. Well, guess what, I have moral values too, and I proudly voted for Kerry. Pundits say now that he should have talked about his religion more, or done better at equating his policies with his belief in God — maybe that’s true, I don’t know. What I do know is that my husband and I get our children off to school and ourselves off to work every single day. We go to mass and send our kids to Catholic school and try to do unto others as we would have others do unto us and believe, firmly, that here on earth God’s work must truly be our own. We believe health care should be affordable for everybody and the death penalty is not respectful of human life and God’s green earth should be stewarded, not raped and pillaged. We do not believe parents should rack up debts for their children to pay, or that unprovoked armed conflict is just. These are moral values, are they not? The Right wing does not have a monopoly on morals. Sadly, only four more years of Bush’s destructive policies will serve to make this clear. —Gigi G., Seattle, WA
Disillusioned 48% who didn't vote Dubya, do not lose heart! Sure, you may think the world is ending. Sure, at a press conference on Thursday, Dubya enforced a one-question rule, since he had "the will of the people" on his side. Hopefully he was joking. But a vast majority of the kids I've seen trudging through the rainy gray streets of New York don't seem to be laughing.
After all, " Now comes the revolution," according to Richard Viguerie, dean of a conservative direct mail quoted in the article.
And why shouldn't it? About 48% of the country didn't vote for the Dubya, and they're angry as hell. So, they're all going to Canada. For years, in times of peril, we've looked to Canada as inspiration. Need funny? We import John Candy, Jim Carrey, and Mike Myers. Want music? We borrowed Rush for most of the 1980s. Sports? Well, we used to have hockey before the NHL got uppity. And now, there are Canadians proclaiming their support for the mass movement by offering marriage to those embittered-and of age-Americans. But there's a small problem, kids. Canada's closed. And unfortunately, not all of the stereotypically friendly Canadians are... well, that keen on us as it is. Matthew Good, a musician, took the time to beat the Daily Mirror in questioning the intelligence of the "59,094,087 people". To Mr. Good's credit, he replied to response in a well-thought out manner.
And then just blamed Americans for the hell of it.
But don't fret, Mr. Good. You'll be able to share all the anecdotes you want in 2005, when the first entrance to Canada is granted to those who apply now. So, to the 49% who voted against Bush, keep heart! Your dreams can come true! One election was lost, and the next four years seem like a crapshoot; but you still have time to trade in the dollar for the Canadian dollar. Then again, if you're really interested in staying here and don't feel like searching for a job in a non-existent Canadian market, I'd recommend Mr. Good's "non violent protest" to the current administration. Or, you can just wait around and see what happens.
But, I'm still curious. Here's an open call: were you one of the 51% who voted for George W. Bush? If you were, drop me a line and respond to this question: "Should the world be reacting the way it is?"
An extra 10 cool points if you were one of "the 18 to 24 mythic age group." 5 cool points if you were one of "the other age group time forgot."
The president wasn't the only winner last Tuesday (David Shuster)
In this election, there were plenty of winners and losers — and not just the obvious ones. Check out my post-election list on who's in the winner's circle and who didn't make the cut.
Thoughts? Reactions? E-mail me at DShuster@MSNBC.com
Must-reads today (Dominic Bellone, Hardball producer and newsletter editor)
Several pressing issues swirling around DC today: Bush's presser outlining in broad language his second term, rumors of a cabinet/staff shakeup, Arafat's grave health , the impending assault on Fallujah , and the Democratic party in ruins.
We'll hit all of those topics with an extremely talented cast of character to include: Texas Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison, NY Post Washington bureau chief Deb Orin, Newsweek's Mike Isikoff, former Bush 41 counsel C. Boyden Gray, GOP strategist Ed Rogers, Jerry Brown & Rep. Harold Ford...
Chris is out on assignment tonight so we have NBC Justice correspondent Pete Williams to helm the Captain's chair.
During my web surfing I came across this little Orwellian sugar plum. The U.S. has set up a psychological operations center outside of Fallujah to educate the citizens on the impending strike and it's purpose...Here's how Maj. Jim West, a Marine intelligence planner, described it:
"We're trying to tell them they have friends out there who care about them, who may have to attack and here's what we want them to do," West said. "It's not to take over the city; it's to return the city to you."
- Cool county by county Red/Blue state map
- Washington Post analysis : Vote gives Bush rare opportunity...but window for hoped-for reforms could be brief
- GOP emphasis on values pays off... Republican tactics target nation's cultural divide (The Washington Post)
- President Bush's victory, the approval of every anti-gay marriage amendment on statewide ballots and an emphasis on "moral values" among voters showed the power of churchgoing Americans in this election and threw the nation's religious divide into stark relief.
- From Howard Fineman : A Sweet Victory ... And a Tough Loss... Bush Two: They liked his war on terror, and his moral stance. How Bush topped his father, defeating Kerry on the strength of his strength.
- Attorney General John Ashcroft is likely to leave his post before the start of President Bush's second term, senior aides said Thursday.
- Maneuvering begins for 2008 ... Fields wide open for both GOP, Democrats
- Elizabeth Edwards diagnosed with breast cancer ... Former candidate's wife held off on examination amid campaign
- From Peggy Noonan: So much to savor... A big win for America, and a loss for the mainstream media.
Get the hottest political stories and Hardball updates delivered to your inbox everyday. Subscribe to The Hardball Daily Briefing.
The vote was rocked, don't believe those exit polls (Joe Trippi)
Eight hours later when the world found out that these exit polls were a load of bunk it was no surprise that the blogosphere sank into depression while the Bush campaign was hit with waves of ecstasy.
If these exit polls were so wildly off their mark why do we continue using them to analyze Tuesday's election?
Case in point...
On Election night we were treated to comment after comment lambasting the youth vote. They said it hadn't increased it's percentage of the vote... that these young votes hadn't materialized... that every election cycle we talk about them turning out in droves but nothing happens.
We should not be using the same exit polls that predicted a Kerry Electoral College landslide as our guide to understanding which voters turned out Tuesday night.
David King writes today in the Boston Globe:
"Start with the numbers. According to Professor William Galston at the University of Maryland, at least 20.9 million Americans under 30 voted on Tuesday. That is an increase of 4.6 million voters from 2000. Four years ago, just 42.3 percent of young people voted. This year more than 51.6 percent did."
"Young people were especially active in battleground states, with turnout at 64.4 percent of eligible voters. Furthermore, these estimates understate things, because college kids are more likely than other groups (except the military) to vote by absentee ballot. Surveys of college students around the country, done in the weeks before the election, found 42 percent of students planning to vote absentee. Exit polls completely miss these young voters who numbered, this year, close to 3 million."
Young Americans are awake like never before and studies show the earlier a voter becomes an active voter the more likely they are to be active voters throughout their life.
Politicians beware. A generational giant has been awakened.
Pondering the future
What would Bush's second term be like?
George W. Bush believes that his presidency is consequential and potentially historic. If he can bring democracy to Iraq and Afghanistan — two challenges that are in the fledgling stages, we should say. But also, reform the tax code and reform Social Security — reform Social Security in a way that is going to set off a seismic debate in this country about that program.
A very important point about second terms — people forget — Ronald Reagan, in his second term, went about an arms control pact with the Soviet Union — his arch-enemy.
For George W. Bush, his first term was for the voters. I think the second one is for history and he’ll try to fix Social Security and Medicare as his top priorities.
Newsweek's Jonathan Alter says Bush could bring us together :
If Bush wants to secure his legacy and defy expectations, he’ll move quickly to the center and stay there.
Let’s all calm down , says Newsweek's Michael Hirsh:
First, there is every possibility that Bush’s second term might prove to be different from his first, especially in foreign policy. And it won’t be more radical (that may not be possible). Indeed, perhaps the only consolation for Democrats who saw Bush as a dangerous departure from centrist foreign policy is that he must now clean up the mess he has made.
Um, yes, the youth voted
The conventional wisdom is flat-out wrong. The youth voted.
At least 20.9 million Americans under the age of 30 voted in 2004, an increase of 4.6 million over 2000,1 and the turnout rate among these voters rose from about 42.3% to 51.6%, a sharp rise of 9.3 percentage points, according to final national exit polls and an early tally of votes cast. Youth voter turnout was especially high in the contested battleground states. "This is phenomenal," said CIRCLE Director William A. Galston. "It represents the highest youth turnout in more than a decade, 4 percentage points higher than the previous peak year of 1992."
Because young people participated in considerably larger numbers than they had in the past, they kept pace with the higher turnout of Americans of all ages. Voters under the age of 30 constituted the same proportion of all voters as they did in 2000 (about 18%). Young people voted at a much higher rate in contested, "battleground" states. In the ten most contested states, youth turnout was 64%, up 13 percentage points from 2000. In the battleground states, the youth share of the electorate was 19%. In the remaining 40 states and the District of Columbia, youth turnout was 47% and the youth share of the electorate was 18%. One explanation for the higher rates of participation in the battleground states is that there was greater voter outreach and political advertising in these states. Current research shows that youth participate when they are asked to do so.
—Matt Stoller writes for the Blogging of the President.
The election may be over, but the slicin' & dicin' ain't (Dominic Bellone, Hardball producer and newsletter editor)
It's the morning after the night before and I couldn't be more relieved. But we're just getting started with our post-elect slicin' and dicin' at Democracy Plaza... We're all very pleased to see that there won't be a protracted legal fight (I know that comes as a blow to our colleagues at The Abrams Report, but we're politicos here, not legal eagles)...
We've assembled two solid hours tonight with a gang of your favorite Hardball faces: Reagan, Buchanan, Andrea, Trippi, Meacham, Gregory, Katrina, The Rev et al... (Hardball is on at 7 p.m., and an extra edition is at 9 p.m. ET)
How did Bush pull off the upset? What's the mandate mean? What finally swayed the undecideds? How can a devastated Democratic party regroup and become relevant again? What does the future hold in Iraq? Our panel of smarty pants will unleash a flurry of exegeticals examining these and other pressing matters facing the country.
We'll also talk to veteran Senator Trent Lott and Sen.-elect John Thune, this year's giant killer from South Dakota about what Congress has in store with an increased GOP majority.
My producing colleagues have a number of editorial surprises up their collective sleeves but I don't want to give the game totally away... we aim to amuse though, that's for sure.
Thanks for sharing your election night with us, Dominic Bellone (The Briefing dude).
A counter-point to Trippi's thoughts on the youth vote, from our Bloggers' Cafe regular Erick Erickson of Redstate.org.
Erick also looks at how volunteer grassroots activists trounced 527s, and why:
Dot-com campaigning crashes
Yesterday I wondered what paradigms would be blown out in this election season. The one I was most interested in was the get out the vote ("GOTV") program— in particular whether paid organizers with 527 organizations would outperform passionate volunteers loyal to their candidate. It now appears we have the answer. The President's volunteer program of grassroots activists trounced the 527 organizations like Americans Coming Together.
The problem for the Kerry campaign was that, while the Democrats made some inroads with volunteer GOTV, they relied heavily on independent groups headed by former high level party members and funded by Democratic contributors. Unfortunately, with the passage of the McCain-Feingold campaign finance reforms, these independent 527 organizations are not allowed to coordinate their activities with the Democratic party. To do so would be illegal. While the Democrats could figure out what was going on based on bravado and press statements, the Democratic Party could not see the raw data from the 527s. These groups
were left on their own to get out the vote for John Kerry.
In contrast, the Bush campaign used a massive army of loyal volunteers to drive up turnout and get out the vote. While the volunteers were, obviously, not paid, they were fiercely loyal to the President. In fact, according to all of the polls no matter how divergent in their horse race numbers, Republicans were, in this election cycle, more supportive of their candidate than at any other time in the modern history of polling. As a result, the volunteers outmaneuvered, outmanned, and outgunned the 527 machine. Bush/Cheney campaign staff say that this year's GOTV program was the biggest, most organized, and most effective grassroots movement in the history of Presidential politics. It will most likely turn into the must duplicate GOTV model for both parties.
Another paradigm that stands is the law of political inertia. For a week, the media and many liberal bloggers and organizations became convinced that a swarm of younger voters and first time voters would create a tidal wave of support for John Kerry. Joe Scarborough and I disagreed with that theory. We sided with political physics -- voters at rest stay at rest and active voters stay active. The law of political inertia operated just like Newton's law of inertia. The 527 organizations spent a lot of energy trying to energize new, younger voters. As Joe Scarborough, Isaac Newton, or I could have advised them, it is more efficient and effective to energize already active voters. It takes too much time, talent, and treasure in a campaign season to spend too much time on new voters. While talent was readily available,
the 527's lacked the time and allocated their treasure poorly in efforts to turn out the new, young voters.
Lastly, I tell all of the candidates with whom I consult that they should use the "follow the leader" rule. If every other candidate is doing something, there is probably a good reason and my candidate should also be doing it. This year treated political junkies to lots of stories on the end of political consultants, the rise of the Internet political movement, the ability to fire up new voters, and the need for new theories of campaign management. Despite all of this excitement, all of the old rules tended to hold. Prolific internet fundraisers and "movement" liberals like the DailyKos were not even able to elect their "top 15" list of candidates through aggressive Internet organization and mobilization. They came close, but like the Yankees this year, could not close the deal. The danger now will be an aggressive retreat from new technology. Instead, all sides should try to use new technology in existing paradigms instead of creating new paradigms to fit the technology. Much like the crash of the dot com companies that existed solely for the sake of existing, this political season was all about the crash of dot com campaigning.
In the end, this election saw extremely few paradigm shifts. About the only one of note is that political professionals may soon be reaching the end of their ability to conduct useful, meaningful polls and exit polls. The data from the 2004 general election jumped all over the field. Interestingly, had pollsters stayed with traditional models instead of buying into the new voter hype, their track record this year would have been much better.
The youth did get out the vote (Joe Trippi)
The fact is that those between that ages of 18 and 29 gave John Kerry 1.7 million more votes than they gave to Al Gore in 2000.
In 2000, 17.85 million people in the 18 to 29 age group voted— in 2004 that number exceeds 19.38 million. More importantly than just a 1.5 million vote turn-out increase this year, they also voted decisively for John Kerry unlike in 2000 when they split evenly between Al Gore and George Bush.
I wrote a Trippi’s Take looking at all this— and the fact is turnout and stronger support for Kerry from voters between the ages of 18 and 29 was the only reason John Kerry was even in the game yesterday.
I hope you will check it out my Trippi’s Take by clicking here –and let me know what you think at Jtrippi@msnbc.com
Update: After a night of suspense, the news is in: President Bush has been re-elected to four more years.
Democratic candidate Sen. John Kerry has called President George Bush to concede.
Below are some of your reactions to the election results: (Click here to read more.)
Does anyone have any idea how large this Bush victory is? He overcame tons of obstacles, like CBS spreading false stories; New Yory Times/CBS false weapon stories, tons of celebrities & musicians throwing money/support at Kerry, people vandalizing republican signs, buildings and vehicles across the US. The list is endless! Makes you wonder if no tricks were done how large the president would have won. President Bush is a good man and ultimately the population saw it and voted accordingly. —Kevin Keen, Middletown, Maryland
Well, it looks like Bush squeaked by for another 4 years. The sad thing is, he probably doesn't care it was close, and we'll have to wait and see if there's any 'reaching across the aisle' for the common unity of the nation. Given his performance over the past 4 years, I'm not holding out much hope. So what if I get an $800 dollar tax rebate when my medical insurance permiums are $800/month. It's a drop in the bucket! We'll also have to wait and see if Bush continues to sign spending bills leaving our nation in more debt, for our children and grandchildren to pay, or if he is willing to veto some of the pork. —redjr
Since the "red" states are the ones to re-elect Bush, I say, let them be the first to march off, and fight his war.—John, Philadelphia, PA
Americans all over the country and all over the world have taken advantage of their fundamental right to vote. They have spoken and been accounted for. The second half of this system is making sure that everyone is heard. The fact of the matter is this: at this moment 48% of this country didn't want Bush re-elected for some reason or another, and more are clearly disappointed about actions he's taken in his first term. His approval rating going into the election was at 49%, which is, from my understanding, the first time ever that a president has kept his seat with a rating below 50%. The people have spoken and the system is working well so far. President Bush now needs to listen to those concerns and address them. If he does listen and, through compromise, works to unite an obviously concerned and divided nation, then everyone's voices will truely be heard. However, if he chooses to ignore the other 50% then he will have failed the system.—Patrick, Fairfax, VA
Too early to call, but are bloggers calling it a night?
John Edwards is on the screen, speaking as I write this, "We waited four long years for this victory, and we can wait one more night."
Jeralyn writes, "Beautiful. Just what I wanted to hear. Now I can go to sleep."
Atrios writes, "go to bed."
Liberal Oasis writes, "Get ready."
Markos looks like he's still up, and writes, "The more I think about it, the more pissed off I am that the networks are calling Ohio when the state is still clearly undecided."
I'm going to bed. Good night!
—Dave Johnson, Seeing the Forest
"The legal equivalent of the Bat Signal has just gone up from Cleveland,"
writes Keith Olbermann
. "The Kerry Campaign isn’t going to concede until the last lawyer is spent in Ohio."
So much for the ultra-conservative state-calling by the television networks in the wake of the debacle of 2000.
As midnight came to the East, ABC and CBS, were out there, alone, having called Florida for the President. Just as four years ago, that’s great if they’re right. But if they’re not, it will again guarantee a long-running dispute and perhaps a Constitutional crisis.
What does this election mean for the blogosphere?
Throughout the last few days, and the last few weeks before them, even as blogospheric traffic and intensity has increased, there has been very little of substance to actually write about. One of the reasons is that the race became all consuming, and the race is dominated by hard numbers and strategy which was out of bloggers' hands. I think a larger reason is that the ideological positions of the country have hardened into Bush and anti-Bush. What we are seeing, as the Senate and House break to the Republicans, is that liberals on online communities like the Daily Kos, MyDD, and DU are yelping helplessly for positivity.
You can feel the blame. The youth who did not vote should get drafted, is one common refrain. There are others, as I'm sure you can imagine. But I think the conclusion I'm finding is that there is very little difference between anything on the blogs and anything elsewhere. The blogs are not a separate world anymore, but a part of America that watches the media and creates its own conventional wisdom, which is sometimes reflective of reality and often not. Not so different from Washington, DC, actually. —Matt Stoller writes for the Blogging of the President at www.bopnews.com
Youth vote over-hyped
So Joe Scarborough was right . The youth did not get (more of) the vote out. In Joe's words, "They always leave you at the altar."
The youth voters did break for Kerry. Also note that the 18-29 year olds were divided about their feelings on the war in Iraq. This, despite suspicions that draft rumors would mobilize the young voters.
Bear in mind that voter turn-out may be higher in general, so even if more of the youth did vote, the percentage might not have changed.
Thoughts? E-mail JGo@MSNBC.com.
—Jesamyn Go, Hardball web producer and disappointed member of this demographic
The power of the blogs
Just how powerful are blogs? In Kentucky they have helped an unknown Democrat nearly(?)pick off a Republican Senator. DailyKos and Red State have been prolific fundraisers for the left and right. Today, they crashed the market. Shortly after 2p.m., exit polls were released and picked up in blog chat-rooms. Then the exit polls hit Drudge from the chat-rooms. Thereafter, the Dow, NASDAQ, and S&P nosedived.
Will Collier says the Dow got blogged. Tim Blair has a quote citing a Reuters story, found a trader who says, "'Apparently the blogs are saying that Kerry is ahead in one or two of the swing states and that's why the market dipped.'" The entire drop was based on rumored numbers without understanding. This could be a bad omen for the blogosphere unless it matures enough to deal better with possible bad information.
—Erick Erickson, Redstate.org
Kevin Drum, quoting The Baltimore Sun quoting Kevin Drum, writes:
"META-META-BLOGGING....What do I think about the mainstream media's newfound ritual of asking bloggers what they think about the election results?"
Here's what he told Tricia Bishop of The Baltimore Sun this afternoon:
"In a way it's the ultimate in navel gazing," Drum said. "The bloggers all read the media and the media call bloggers to find out what they're reading."
It really does seem like that sometimes.
During the Democratic Convention I posted a picture of a news camera crew filming a print reporter interviewing a blogger, who was interviewing the reporter. The caption read, "This is reporters covering reporters interviewing bloggers while bloggers interview the reporters."
— Dave Johnson, Seeingtheforest.com
Republican hidden ground operation facts
I have a post up at my weblog with some facts about the Republican "ground operation"— their massive Get Out The Vote operation. As well as Bush does tonight, this is a big part of why.
Some facts about the Bush ground operation:
- Bush GOTV budget $125 million Pennsylvania, volunteers made 1.8 million calls last week compared to 415,000 in 2000.
- Washington State, GOP mailed out 1.2 million absentee ballots, up 53% from 2000
- And in WA volunteers contacted 200,000 homes last weekend> - Bush campaign contacting 400,000 people a day in Ohio
- In PA Bush campaign plan to contact 2 million voters since Friday
- Four years ago, Bush employed 22 paid staff members in Florida. This
year, he has 500 on the payroll.
- Bush campaign Florida goal was 6,600 volunteers, instead they
- RNC paying travel, hotel & food for at least 5,000 loyalists working
in battleground states Minn. - GOP contacting 1 million with freshly-refined database
- Chamber of Commerce claims to have registered 500,000 new GOP in
- Chamber hopes to "reach" 20 million employees.
- Chamber/BIPAC membership was 50 corporations, now 500
- Oregon GOP 22,000 volunteers "largely hidden from view" "keeping their plans under wraps" and "silent but deadly"
- Iowa, GOP making 32,000 voter contacts each week
—Dave Johnson, Seeingtheforest.com
In addition to what Dave has pointed out, the Republicans have aggressively recruited and trained lawyers around the nation to go to swing states. Email lists have been used constantly to keep lawyers and other volunteers in touch and in the field. The Republicans are using a program called "Voter Vault" that gives field operatives across the nation the ability to find data on voters, target Republican voters, and get those voters to the polls. It is the most impressive GOTV operation the Republicans have ever put together. Interestingly, the Republicans are not just putting their GOTV plan into operation in battlegrounds, they are also putting the GOTV plan in operation in safe states to boost the President's popular vote number.
—Erick Erickson, RedState.org, Confessions of a Political Junkie
The tone from the White House reporters
Don't forget to check out Keith Olbermann's blog, Bloggermann — he is blogging about reports that are coming in from NBC's correspondents:
- "Discouragement" at the White House. That’s the term used by NBC’s White House Correspondent David Gregory in his 7:05 PM report, describing the reaction of President Bush’s “top advisors” in a war room within the war room at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. David’s sources report a “tense” set of advisors, who have already determined an unwanted “tightness in the race,” not unlike what they saw in the waning days of the 2000 Gore-Bush vote.
Live blogging is the thing to do on the Internet. Here are few taking part:
Lines, Lines, Lines: I thought the lines would taper off in midday, and they have. I haven't heard the lines starting up after work, either. Is this a turnout fakeout? Did I just write that sentence?
The answers, in order, are 'who knows' and 'sadly, yes'.
—Matt Stoller writes for the Blogging of the President at www.bopnews.com.
Lawsuits about to be filed: National Review's blog is reporting credible information that the Democrats are about to file a lawsuit in Ohio to keep polls open. The Democrats are citing long lines.
Under Ohio law, any voter in line at the time the polls close is permitted to vote.
MSNBC's Election Coverage has started, and Chris Matthews invites you to join MSNBC's coverage. Below are his thoughts on why November 2, 2004 is a day to remember.
America voted with exuberance and passion (Chris Matthews)
This election matters to people. Not in 40 years has there been such excitement in the country about a presidential choice. Young people especially are engaged as never before. Whether they show up and wait in line and withstand the pressures, tedium and ultimate satisfaction of real-life democracy will, our polls tell us, decide whether John Kerry or George W. Bush leads us into the future.
This election also "divided" people. Some see this balloting as their first and perhaps only opportunity to vote on whether it was a smart decision to take this country to war in Iraq. Others see this vote as an up-or-down opportunity to register themselves on such state-of-the-art social issues as gay marriage and stem cell research.
America voted today with exuberance and passion. Men and women. Every age group. Every background, went to the polls to choose the leader of the country and also the kind of country they want to live in. The one thing we all agreed on is that we care. It was, therefore a day to remember— a moment Americans voted with pride and confidence, despite the stresses of war, cultural conflict, and economic change.
It was a day the American people voted with the full throttle of democracy, the form of government we taught the world.
People across the country are now participating in what experts believe could be a record turnout: Voters casting ballots in about 200,000 precincts from the East Coast to the West Coast, from Alaska to Hawaii. The polls close at eight different times...on through the night. Every vote in every state counts tonight... as voters deliver the ultimate poll and decide who will be elected president, also who will win the popular vote.
And we'll be making the calls from the East Coast to the West with the polls closing in Alaska not til 1 a.m ET.
In the next seven hours and beyond, we'll tell this story of this wave of democratic action.
The pride and passion of this election on both sides has been obvious.
Today, voters from the oldest to the youngest filled the polls to the brim with their presence and their emotions.
Stay tuned to Chris Matthews' and MSNBC's continous coverage of Decision 2004.
Tensions are high. Stomachs are in knots. Now, we wait.... And wait... for the final decision as to who will lead our country. How do you relax in a tight race? Check out these blogs to help you unwind.
Conservative Professor Bainbridge has Election Night Wine Recommendations
Want a taste?
Bush supporters might consider: A red wine to toast every state that turns red; more specifically: Alderbrook's Zinfandel Sonoma County George's Vineyards
Liberty School Cabernet, to celebrate the President's commitment to freedom
Kerry supporters might consider: Hmm.... What goes with blue states? Blue Nun!
Or a rose for their pinko candidate, such as Bonny Doon's Vin Gris de Cigare
Best of all, of course: An elite French wine, such as Chateau Lafite
What is going on with the Web? To be frank, nothing. Huh? Well, data of dubious originality has been flooding the web and folks are hitting the blogs so much that most are crashing.
Today is a high traffic day. The question remaining is, when the dust settles, how many of the current blogs will still be around this time next week?
At six in the morning, I began my jaunt around midtown Manhattan. You'd think early morning voters would be cheery and ready to discuss politics with you; if this is your school of thought, you'd love to know about my great deal for this bridge in Brooklyn. It's spectacular.
But despite the angry statements of "I have no time" and "I don't speak english and I didn't vote" from people just leaving the polls, there were still lines as early as six a.m. And of course, my ultimate destination for the next 12 hours, Democracy Plaza is alive and thriving.
People are bustling through; performers are keeping the crowds enthralled; and someone is running around with enough meal cards to feed a small rag-tag production crew. A hungry rag-tag production crew. Three guesses as to who this crew is... and I will find those meal cards. Because I'm getting hungry, too.
Yet the day isn't even halfway done. One of the cheerier voters I spoke with, Shawn, gave me a bit of wisdom for this day of overall insanity: "One of my friends is working as a volunteer in Flordia. His job is to distribute water to people who've been waiting in line for as long as five hours. Standing here [on East 55th Street], I just think of those people waiting for that long--and I'm standing here for five minutes. I think we can all afford to be patient today."
At least until the first exit polls begin to close.
From the Plaza,
There were lots of lines this morning at polling places, but I've heard that the lines are tapering off. What are you seeing? Email me at email@example.com.
Dems' secret plan? Liberal blogger Atrios is following (and updating frequently) a story about phone calls claiming the Democrats have a secret plan to start a military draft if Kerry wins. Posts here and here.
—Dave Johnson, Seeing the Forest
Sabotage? Powerline, which will be guest blogging for NBC's election coverage, is reporting that 30 vans intended for a get out the vote effort by Wisconsin Republicans have had their tires slashed.
According to the Wisconsin GOP's communication's director, Chris Lato, "Thirty vans were parked in a lot in Milwaukee intended to be used for our get out the vote effort there. The tires were slashed. The police are investigating. Also last night, someone used black spray paint to write 'Illegitimate Democracy' twice across the side of our building."
Sgt. Kenneth Harris of the Milwaukee Police Department confirms the report. "Between 4:30am and 6:30 am this morning, 30 economy size passenger vans rented by the Republican National Committee had their tires slashed. The vans were parked in a lot located at the 7100 block of West Capitol Drive." Detectives are still investigated both the tire slashing and spray painting incident.
Easy call (CNBC's Ron Insana)
Art Cashin, veteran NYSE floor trader, surmises that that is what the market is telling us with today’s rally: No hanging chads, no month-long dispute but a president in place, though he won’t predict a winner.
The fact is the American population is motivated and voting… some pundits are reportedly suggesting voter turnout could reach a modern record of 135 million people. As one businessman said to me recently, this is not an election, it’s a referendum.
And judging from the market’s behavior today… Wall Street, a veritable daily voting booth of its own kind, is expecting a final tally is within reach.
Mark & Ken, like their names, agree: The right is furiously burning bandwidth this morning with a curious quote from Mark Mellman, John Kerry's pollster. As Polipundit reports, Mark Melman has an article in The Hill in which he says “We simply do not defeat an incumbent president in wartime.”
National Review's blog, The Corner, has more.
Generation E will make the difference (Joe Trippi)
I just posted a Trippi’s Take column on why Generation E, the empowered generation between the ages of 18 and 29, are going to vote and help change our politics for the better. I think that today may be the first time in decades that the future of America will be decided by the future of America. This is embodied, perhaps, by the most creative and definitely the most empowered generation of Americans ever. The big surprise tomorrow will be their participation as citizens today in a pivotal vote for our nation.
I hope you will check it out and let me know what you think at JTrippi@MSNBC.com
E-mail us at Hardblogger@msnbc.com
Maybe the vitriol will end
On election day, beyond the vitriol and venom, bloggers are now settling into reality. Josh Trevino, at Red State says the dreams are simply different for red voters and blue voters.
In an election season that has never seen a Republican base as fired up for their guy and a Democratic base fired up against their opponent, perhaps the mere act of casting the vote will be the release through which the tide of vitriol rolls out to calmer seas.
Florida this morning (David Shuster)
"Eerily smooth." A few minutes ago, that's how one lawyer/observer described the scene to me at precincts today in Miami-Dade, Florida's largest county. Across south Florida, there have been a few reports of late opening precincts and long lines. But so far, there do not appear to be any major problems. Turnout is hard to measure, given that 20 percent of all registered voters in the sunshine state cast their ballots before today. But, we should have a better sense of things later this afternoon. The weather here in Miami is gorgeous... 79 degrees, a few clouds in the sky, and a slight breeze from the Ocean.
Email me at DShuster@msnbc.com
Check out our Citizen Journalists - your reports are flying in - keep them coming!
Daschle v. Thune: John Lauck, a conservative blogger in South Dakota, has been live blogging the hearing that arose out of Tom Daschle suing John Thune yesterday. Many conservative bloggers are wondering if Daschle has gone mad. It is probably not good press to run to court at the last minute suing the opponent. Powerline says that Daschle is showing desperation. Hugh Hewitt thinks the last minute lawsuit is “pathetic.”
Daschle’s campaign ran to court yesterday alleging that Republicans are or intend to intimidate Native American voters. The Daschle camp tried to get the judge to order the South Dakota GOP to stop poll watching on Indian Reservations. In the end, the judge issued an order blocking the GOP from writing down license plate numbers. Republicans are still bitter from the 2002 election where John Thune lost by 500 votes. The Republicans alleged voter fraud on Indian reservations. As a result, the GOP has been very aggressively coordinating poll watchers this year. For more information on Daschle’s suit, see here.
E-mail us at Hardblogger@msnbc.com
Why you should go out and vote today
On last night's Hardball, Chris and the Hardball panel shared their thoughts and emotions leading up to the big day, and why they think you should go out and vote:
This is an electric time. And to be here at Rockefeller Center with all these people out here— it's like a theme park.
I love elections. I've loved them since I was a kid. The best reason to vote tomorrow is to think of all the people that don't want you to vote. They think you are too conservative or they think you are too liberal. They don't like your views on war and peace. They don't like your attitudes about lifestyle. And the only way you can make those people a little bit less happy, which is a good idea, is to go vote and show them.
This election is different. And you really feel that this country is engaged. Whether or not people actually vote? Well, we'll have to wait to see what the turnout is.
But the issues are so big ever since 9/11. We're at war. This could not be a bigger choice. And you've got to admit that these candidates could not be more different philosophically and you cannot be undecided.
Go outside Democracy plaza and see people walking through those exhibits, and feel just the vibrancy of it. Iit really is very moving.
Also, think about people who would like to vote in Iraq and are being shot out on the streets because they, as yet, have not figured out to game a January election that will be safe.
I get so sick and tired of hearing people talking about two Americas. I'm not talking about health care and all that, I'm just talking about a divided America.
I'll tell you, there is one America. I've made people angry this entire campaign, whether it was going after John Kerry's speech or George Bush's performance in the debate. But I can tell you, regardless of whoever wins Tuesday, America will be strong Wednesday morning.
Anybody that's been through this process has to know that both of these gentlemen have been through a brutalizing process. They are heroes. They should be applauded as heroes. Regardless of what happens, we move forward. I do not believe we live in two Americas.
I went to the Democratic Convention and everybody said, “Gee, you're going to get ripped to shreds.” But I had people coming up, hugging me, saying, “I love watching your show. I love hearing you talk about the issues. “
Listen, John Kerry is not going to take us out of Iraq the next day. John Kerry is not going to raise taxes 100 percent. George Bush is not going to move us sharply to the right or the left. We've had Michael Moore on the left -- and we've had others on the right that have made a lot of money by trying to scare Americans in the middle. People have used division as a marketing tool to sell books, to sell movies, to sell hate speech.
But we've got two responsible men running for president of the United States. And this is a celebration. This is why I love America so much.
There's a wonderful piece E.B. White wrote in the middle of World War II... He’s a great American essayist and "New Yorker" figure. He wrote a piece saying that "Democracy is the recurrent suspicion that more than half the people are right more than half the time.
Democracy is the score at the top of the ninth. It's the mustard on the hot dog. It's the feeling of communion in the libraries and the feeling of privacy in the voting booths." And when FDR heard that, he said, "That's my sentiments exactly."
The other thing we have to remember is that, five squares miles from Democracy Plaza, 3 1/2 years ago, 3,000 people died because they went to work. Because they lived here and they lived under this system. And voting and participating is one way to honor their memory.
Election coverage virgin (Dana Falvo, Creative Story Unit)
On Tuesday, we here at MSNBC will be fully immersed into Decision 2004 coverage… that is of course if you don’t count what we are already doing.
Starting last night, all programs for MSNBC, as well as all other NBC/ Universal networks, are coming from Democracy Plaza.
This is my first election and I am wide-eyed and enjoying every step of the way. It is my duty to anchor produce our very own blog aficionado Joe Trippi for Tuesday night’s coverage. On Election Night, I will be working with Joe, our producer back in the control room, and our web team to make sure our network is up to date on how the blogs are covering Election Day.
After a quick rehearsal on Saturday, Joe and team are ready to deliver the scoop on the latest election chatter from you, the voter.
So far everything has been great, a little hectic at times ,but very exciting. There is so much going on at Democracy Plaza with all the exhibits, the live shows and the thousands of people that have come here. Joe and I will be in the thick of it at our Bloggers Café at Democracy Plaza, as we give you the information from polls across the country as your information comes in.
Thanks for continuing to write in your Citizen Journalist reports. Among those we have received included poeple confused by their ballots, a soldier home from Iraq getting out the Bush vote, and a professor who is seeing voting through the eyes of her recently naturalized students. Click here to read your reports . Some of them are thoughtful, others filled with worry, all of them inspiring and interesting.
Calling South Dakota: A few hours ago we received an email from someone in South Dakota claiming to have received an automated phone call from a preacher questioning whether voters should support John Thune after he attacked Tom Daschle's wife, Linda Daschle, a lobbyist in Washington, DC.
Daschle campaign spokesman Nick Papas denied the calls existence. Nick did say that a minister is making an automated phone call praising Tom Daschle's faith and values. But, Nick was adamant that the call did not mention either Linda Dascle or John Thune. The executive director of the South Dakota Republican Party, Jason Glodt, said the state GOP has gotten a steady stream of calls and email in complaining about the automated call. According to the GOP, which is trying to get a copy of the supposed call, the call blasted John Thune.
It is unclear if there are multiple calls going out. If you have any information, report in to use at hardblogger.msnbc.com
Help me operator: Jim Burks, a seventy-five year old small businessman living in Lancaster County, Pa., was working today when his phone rang. It was an automated phone call telling him that President Bush had a plan that would "do away with" his social security. A few hours later the phone rang and it was an automated phone call letting him know that he was no longer registered to vote and so there was no need for him to go to the polls tomorrow. Mr. Burks told me that, not trusting the government, he immediately called the local Republican Party about the phone call and they verified that he was registered. Mr. Burks intends to go vote for President Bush tomorrow.
According to a Bush campaign source, the voter registration calls are going throughout Republican areas of Lancaster County, PA. It is not clear if Republicans are getting the calls exclusively. Nevertheless, the Bush campaign has added a line to their standard phone script to inform voters about the phone calls.
Does Karl Rove control the weather?
Karl Rove, the President's political mastermind, is often caricatured as an evil genius. I am beginning to wonder if he also controls the weather.
In an election where all the traditional rules are flying out the window, this might be the year to end one more political indicator. In past years, Republicans prayed for rain. Traditionally, Republican voters are more willing to get out in bad weather to vote. According to MSNBC , rain is expected throughout much of election day in Ohio and Pennsylvania.
On top of that, master guru of politics, Larry Sabato, indicates that momentum has shifted to Bush in Pennsylvania. If conventional weather wisdom holds, Bush could be singing in the rain tomorrow night and Kerry could be all wet. —Erick Erickson, Red State.Org, ErickErickson.org
Evening blog round-up
—Dave Johnson, Seeing the Forest
Because Ralph Nader has to beat someone: If you thought Ralph Nader had no shot of winning the 2004 presidential election and would serve once again instead as the spoiler, I have some people I'd like you to meet. These candidates could very well be considered spoilers to the spoiler, pulling .00010% of the precious spoiler vote away from Nader in 2004.
Every four years there are dozens of independent & third party Presidential candidates who make the ballot... each yearning for the precious glow of the media light to shine upon them. Unfortunately, they lack the last name of Nader and go unnoticed by tens of millions of their could— be constituents.
I'd like to take this opportunity to introduce you to some of the more colorful candidates out there on the fringe of this year's ballot for President.
A.J. Albritton (Alabama) - Touts himself as the nominee of the "American Republican Party" - an unknown entity for which it appears he is the only party member. A frequent write-in candidate, Albritton is making his fourth consecutive run for President in 2004. He was also a write-in candidate for Congress in 1988 ... and for Governor in 2002. Albritton describes the purpose of his campaign as follows: "The American candidate who is also the Victorian Candidate. The Victorian Era to be the New Model Victorian Era -- from the male point of view." Huh? He promises a "new model Star Spangled Banner" and relocation of the federal capitol.
Sound like someone you'd consider voting for? Be sure to check out the seemingly complete list of third party, independent and write-in candidates over at Politics1. You may not find your favorite candidate but I guarantee you'll have a good laugh.
Operation Truth is a non-partisan veterans' organization. According to their website the organization was "created to help them share stories of life on the ground in Iraq and Afghanistan. We are also working to help veterans get the support they need." Their ad features war-veteran Robert Acosta asking why he was sent to Iraq to lose his right hand.
Is this the usual policy of the networks? From the story, "One of the networks, the History Channel, had even broadcast a Swift Boat ad."
—Dave Johnson, Seeing the Forest
Don't forget to check out other blogs (also part of Bloggers' Cafe):
After six months telling us that Tuesday is going to be tighter than Britney Spears’ pants, the murmurs from the cognoscenti during our MSNBC election rehearsal last night reflected a much older conventional wisdom: that incumbents never have tight elections, win or lose.
When offered an incumbent for a second term, a country has always tended to decide not just on a man, but also on an era. I’ve wondered for two years if the Americans of our time would choose - rightly or wrongly, thoughtfully or naively - to ask Mr. Bush to go away, and take the years 2001-2004 with him.
Talk about bipolar! The last tracking polls are tortured, twisted, and, well, impossible to read.
It means the 2004 race for the White House comes down to little more at this point than which side is best prepared to get their people out to the polls. Democrats, with their union buddies, always owned this facet of campaigning until the 2002 off year elections. Now it's time to see if the GOP can repeat its GOTV success from two years ago.
Pollsters like John Zogby believe that young voters are preparing to swarm to America's voting booths to boot Bush out of the White House. All I know as a guy who started his run for Congress as a 29 year old maverick is that my greatest political frustration then— and now—was how hard it was to get people under 30 years old to the polls.
Unless John Kerry has some magic pixie dust that I don't know about, I seriously doubt the granite-faced senator from Blandsville will be the one candidate who unlocks the mystery of pushing millions of new young voters to the polls.
Funny phone in South Dakota? I'm working on a story about phone calls in South Dakota. Supposedly people are getting anti-Thune autocalls. If you know anything about these calls, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
W.Va. voters getting calls? I'm working on a story on a West Virginia registered voters receiving calls telling them they are not registered to vote or that they are able to vote over the phone or on the Internet. I've talked to voters, county officials, activists, and party officials from both sides. I still can't tell if the calls were just confusing or if there was genuine malice from an outside party. If anyone has information on this, or received one of the calls, please let me know at email@example.com.