election'08: the race to clean the place - 1 day to go
[This election] will be remembered as the year when the not only younger people revived their interests in the issues but also first time voters. A mandate will be reached...because of this group.
These two lines appeared in LFR on November 1, 2004, on the eve of President Bush's re-election victory over Sen. John Kerry, yet they could be written in the same tone on the eve of the 2008 presidential election.
Ultimately, young voters did not respond any more disproportionately than any other election and the nation endured four more years of President Bush.
It is likely to occur again, yet because of sizable gains among white males, young voters showing up at the polls at roughly the same rate could give Sen. Barack Obama the White House.
Here's what to look for Tuesday:
McCAIN NEEDS TO WIN 5 OF 6 BATTLEGROUND STATES
Like Kerry four years ago, McCain has only a few quite iffy scenarios to snatch victory from the jaws of defeat as he said this weekend.
McCain unrealistically must win a combination of five of six battleground states that include Pennsylvania, Ohio, Florida, Nevada, Virginia and Colorado.
Kerry needed to win Pennsylvania, Ohio and Florida to beat George W. Bush. He only won the Quaker State.
OBAMA HOVERS OVER 50 PERCENT IN THE POLLS
According to data compiled by realclearpolitics.com, Obama leads in all 15 major national polls. More importantly, Obama holds a slight majority of the vote in 14 of the 15 polls, with the International Business Daily poll having him leading 48-43.
Fifty percent is the key for Obama, making any number of undecideds moving to McCain relatively moot.
When it comes to election landslides it is hard to beat Reagan trouncing Walter Mondale by 18 points in 1984 and Richard Nixon laying the wood on George McGovern in 1972.
Presidential "landslide" is a relative term within politics. Where a seven point win other races might be a squeeker, the 6-7 point average margin of victory most polls show for Obama constitute a landslide.
Merely reaching 50 percent would be historical for Democrats. Obama would be the first to do so since Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1932. President Clinton was stymied by third party candidate Ross Perot in 1992 and scored 49.2 of the vote against Bob Dole four years later.
OBAMA BEGINS TO NAME CABINET
Invariably as it becomes apparent Obama will be elected president, campaign staffers will begin peddling the names of possible cabinet members.
Thus far, Rep. Rahm Emmanuel, a former Clinton staffer has been mentioned as a possible Chief of Staff, while a New York magazine story quotes sources saying Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson will not be retained by Obama. In his place another former Clintonite and Harvard president Larry Summers may be summoned.
Obama may go Republican with Sen. Dick Lugar of Indiana at the state department and Colin Powell may play some role in bringing the nation's military thought process back to circa 1998.
REPUBLICANS BEGIN THE BLOODLETTING
The losing party usually brings out the knives for their guy's failed attempt at the White House. This year it could get more ugly than usual.
McCain may have religious conservatives angry he did turn towards Jesus before selecting their darling, the lovely Sarah Palin. Old time conservatives are already seething over the loss of the "real McCain", "The Maverick". Of course, this is the McCain persona those same people found incorrigible on Capitol Hill
What is likely to happen in the next few weeks is cover stories and columns showing infighting, constant bickering and a case of too many Chiefs and not enough Indians.
SENATE NEARS FILIBUSTER-PROOF
Democrats in the Senate need 60 members including Connecticut's Joe Lieberman and Vermont's Bernie Sanders in their caucus.
They appear to be falling just short of sixty with 58 looking likely. Saxby Chambliss in Georgia and Al Franken in Minnesotacould be the key for Democrats to crack a filibuster-proof 60, something a presidential has not had since President Carter in 1976.
THE RISE OF THE LATINO VOTING BLOC IN THE WEST
In 2000, Al Gore barely won New Mexico. Four years later, President Bush won it by less than one percent. In 2008, New Mexico, with a large influx on Latino voters and a Republican bent on alienating this burgeoning majority, the state is firmly blue for Obama.
The fever may be spreading. Colorado is leaning blue. So is Nevada. Most surprisingly in recent weeks, has been the movement in the electorate towards Obama in Big Sky states like Montana and North Dakota. Neither of these states are likely to turn blue in 2008, but may go the way of New Mexico in 2012.