David Reynolds; Dave’s Crystal Ball
For those who will go to bed early tomorrow night (except for W&L Professor Mark Rush in Dubai), or those who would rather watch an old movie on the tele, I have decided as a public service to provide results of tomorrow’s election, the most important presidential election this country will conduct – until the next one.
So, who won the White House? Can’t you wait another minute? I’ve already promised you the news hours before it happens. Don’t get greedy. First the Congress.
Wednesday’s congressional headline: “No Change.” Yep, the Dems hold on to the Senate and the GOP takeover of the House of Representatives in 2010 is confirmed. So, why no change in the control of the U. S. Senate? Easy question. Answer: There were enough Democrats running as Republicans and/or not backing President Obama to allow Harry Reid to continue as majority leader. Some examples: Manchin of nearby WV; McCaskill, MO; Nelson, NE, Donnelly, IN.
It makes sense that gridlock is the order of the congressional day. Why? We are a deeply divided country, not just in terms of the two major political parties, but in almost cultural terms. America does not have a common culture, if it ever did. Religious affiliation; marital status; the question of when life begins; how congested are one’s surroundings, and thus the need for expanded government; whether peace or freedom is more important, etc. These are just a few not so small matters in our lives that divide us. Congress reflects this division.
This may mean that if the Democratic Party again dominants national politics, it will need to revert to its roots. That is, to be the party before 1972 and George McGovern. I know of a couple of people who can lead the party back to the future. Please don’t call them strange bedfellows. They happen to be married. And to each other. (Disclosure: Prior to 1993 I generally voted for Democratic Party candidates. Then I realized that the party left me.)
Okay, time for the big show: Romney Wins!! And how did he do it? Turnout, intensity and a surprise state. First a national consensus on Mr. Obama. While America is a land where we like to give everyone a second chance, it is also a land where we dislike second acts. We want to see how the play ends. Eight years is too long a wait.
Now for the only number that counts – 270 in the Electoral College. Drum roll, please: Romney 275; Obama 263. (Even if Mr. Obama wins, he win be the first presidential incumbent to fail to carry any additional states in his reelection bid.)
Romney collects 147 votes west of the Mississippi, including 9 from Colorado. He loses to Obama in WA, OR, CA, NM, MN and IA.
East of the Mississippi Romney carries the old Confederacy, plus WV and IN. He loses: all six New England states, the Middle Atlantic states of NJ, MD, DE, NY and the Upper Midwest states of WI, MI, IA, IL and yes, OH, with Northern Ohio winning the Buckeye state for Obama.
Three other keys for Romey’s win:
First, Florida (29 votes). The case (or scare tactics, if you wish) for the status quo for Social Security and Medicare did not stick. Floridians like their new governor and U. S. senator, both Republicans.
Second, Virginia (13 votes). The Democratic base failed to turn out. (Most newly registered 2008 voters failed to bother to vote in 2010.) Romney wins by 2-plus percentage points. Meanwhile, Allen loses to Kaine by less than one percent. Allen ran most of the time (until mid-September) against President Obama, not likable Tim Kaine. Virginians know the real Tim Kaine, the more recent governor — and they like him.
This leaves the big surprise — Pennsylvania (20 votes), my home state. PA is AL separated by Philadelphia and Pittsburgh. And just as in football, Alabama usually wins. Keep an eye on Bucks and Chester counties in far-suburban Philly, both counties where I once lived. If Romney carries Bucks County by 56-44, he will carry the commonwealth.
A final public service message announcement. In case my crystal ball is cloudy and you classify yourself as an ABO (Anybody But Obama) voter, I know a good real estate agent in Canada.