Saturday, October 11, 2008
Historic Election Countdown!

Twenty-four days to go! I can hardly express how excited I am about this election year. This is for several reasons: first, for the very first time in my life, my vote in a presidential election will actually count! Virginia has not gone for a Democrat in a pres election since 1964 (Johnson). As of this week, Virginia has moved in the polls from "toss up" to "leaning Obama." That's such an amazing shift in Virginia's politics that just thinking about it makes it hard for me to breathe! Obama's lead is still tight, and I don't want to be complacent, but... it will be interesting to see what the actual statistical results are. Right now I fear that the poll samples may be too small and too focused on NoVA to be accurate. I also fear a "Wilder [or Bradley] effect" in this election. Lately, people have been talking about a possible "reverse Bradley [or Wilder] effect," but the jury's still out on whether that's a real phenomenon or just a theory that sounds good. Most likely, the "there is no Bradley/Wilder effect" position will turn to be the closest to the truth, but the WaPo's analysis today is interesting.

Second, this is an historic election. I guess you could say the campaign was extra-historic with the primary race between Hillary and Obama--because of the two people most likely to become president in this election, one was either a woman or an African-American. This has already been a world- and game-changing election--regardless of the outcome.

Third, we will have two Democratic senators! Warner is way (28%!) ahead of Gilmore, who never had a chance (I'd add a "poor guy" here, but really, with Gilmore's bad record as governor, and some of the tricks he got up to during this campaign, I don't feel any sympathy at all. Just glad that Virginians have enough sense to not make the same mistake with him twice).

And, in our Fifth District congressional race, Tom Perriello is closing the gap between himself and Goode. The latest poll shows him only 8 percentage points away from Goode. Tom's name recognition is now at 73% (it was 29% in July). Also, Tom's favorability is going up, while Goode's is dropping. Might not be enough movement to make a difference by Nov., 4, but... closer than any challenger thus far!

Finally, elections of any kind are exciting to me. The democratic process, as frustrating and disappointing as it sometimes can be (was it Churchill who said "Democracy is the worst form of government, except for all those other forms that have been tried from time to time"? [yeah, it was]). Just the act of voting feels simultaneously solemn and sacred, communal, and powerful. I usually vote absentee prior to the election, because I volunteer in one way or another at the polls all day, so I don't experience quite the same the feeling of going into one's local polling place, along with one's neighbors, and the millions of Americans all across the country, who are all participating in this important act on this special day. But, then I get the extra thrill (I suppose) of knowing that I've already voted--already done my part as others are just waking up on election day...

And Ben Franklin said "Democracy is two wolves and a sheep voting on what to have for dinner."
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