22 September 2012

Home stretch?

Look, I'm a sports fan.  Ain't nothing over til it's over.  You don't do things like buy a plane ticket to Indy for Super Bowl weekend and get a hotel on the Circle so you can celebrate with your people when your team wins because your team might not win.  (Yes, that game - and Reggie Wayne phoning it in on that awful, awful pick late in the 4th, and that inexplicable drop by Garcon in the 1st half - that's all on me.)

Ain't no one at BLC sayin' anything is over.  There are the debates.  There are many, many millionaires out there who have become millionaires by having deregulated industries, dirty air, and no tax burden to speak of who are giddily taking advantage of the Citizen's United Supreme Court decision and who are spending whatever the heck they want to drive down the President's numbers.  There is the Middle East. 

But trends are heading in the right direction.  Despite the deeply racist nature of the American electorate (more on that later), a sluggish economy and foreign policy being, uh, interesting, trends are headed in the right direction.  Mr. Romney seems to be short on cash (say it with me "Awwww..."), Mr. Obama seems to be doing okay in that regard, and it's looking like, with the modelling I've seen and played with and done myself (and in my context "modelling" means playing with interactive election maps, just to be clear), if - IF - the election were held today, then the President would win from 247 Electoral Votes if everything breaks against him to 347 Electoral Votes if everything breaks his way.   (You don't really need me to tell you the battleground states.  Early on election night look for how quickly they call Indiana, and how big the margin is in New Hampshire.  But I'm getting ahead of myself.)

Whether we do or we don't re-elect the black guy (and again, I'm not saying we will, I'm just saying that things are trending in the right direction), here are some other races and issues to watch.

1. The queers are here, finally? In 2004, GOP'ers put gay marriage on a number of state ballots in swing states to help deliver the vote to President Bush, the thinking being that anti-gay animus would get those most likely to be the President's supporters (Evangelical Christian white voters) off their couches and into the polling booths.  Well... this time, it's looking like, in three of the four states with gay marriage on the ballot statewide - Maryland, Maine, and Washington, but not Minnesota - that the gay marriage issue is driving Democratic and younger turnout.  Let's be clear - there might still be some Bradley effect going on with voters telling pollsters what they think is the socially acceptable response and thinking that they will get in the voting booth and prevent the damn queers from getting their nuptials - but the numbers look good.  To this point in our history on state wide ballots, gay marriage is a 1993-Colts-esque 0-32 loser.  No statewide electorate has ever chosen to affirm that separate isn't equal in favor of their gay and lesbian neighbors.  So it ain't over by any stretch.  But - in a great, thoughtful, analytical piece (like the kind you read and think "wish I could do that" and then you think "hold on, wish I could get paid to do that") by Harry Enten in the Guardian, here - things are looking good.

2.  The Senate just might stay blue - for this Congress, anyway.  Six months ago it was looking grim for the home team, but thanks to, well, incompetence, Romney's hoof-in-mouth disease, Missouri's challenger showing that he was from the 17th Century (though that race is distressingly competitive right now), and generally good economic news, it's looking like the Democrats will hold on to their majority, which is surprising considering that 23 of the 33 seats being contested are currently Democratic (we'll worry about 2014 later...).  The seven Senate races that are going to be most competitive are Massachusetts and Nevada (GOP held by incumbents Scott Brown and Dean Heller, respectively), and those held by Democratic incumbents in Missouri (Claire McCaskill), Montana (Jon Tester), Florida (Bill Nelson), Virginia (for the retiring Jim Webb), Wisconsin (for the retiring Herb Kohl) - and let's add Connecticut (surprisingly competitive, for the retiring Joe Lieberman). According to Richard Dunham in the Houston Chronicle blog here, Romney's drop in Virginia is helping Tim Kaine, the Democratic former governor, pull ahead.  Best case scenario for the Democrats?  The wheels really fall off the Romney Range Rover and candidates in striking distance but stuck behind in the polls in Nebraska and Indiana eke out a win.  For the Republicans, pickups that seemed safe in the summer - North Dakota, Nebraska, Montana - come through and they win control of the Senate.

3. Despite Rep. Pelosi's assertions to the contrary, the Dems do not win control of the House this election.  Roll Call lists 27 competitive races - watch NH-2 to see if the Democratic challenger, Ann McLane Custer, can unseat GOP incumbent Charlie Bass, and that will come in relatively early in the night.  Also, Indiana 2, where departing Democrat Joe Donnelly is running for Senate, is "Likely Republican" at this point but polls close early in Indiana and we if this one is tight that may be a good sign for Democrats nationally.  (If West Point alumnus Brendan Mullen gets the upset here over former Indiana House member Jackie Walorski, it could be a long night for the GOP.)  Of the 27 contested seats, 10 are in the Eastern Time Zone, so we'll know a lot pretty early this year.

4. If you wanted to make a donation to an election beyond that of our president, may I recommend a few (click on the link to be taken to the campaign page):
  1. Tammy Baldwin for Senate in Wisconsin vs former Governor Tommy Thompson.  Tammy is an out and proud lesbian from Madison who is the hardest working woman in Washington and who will finally give Wisconsin the representation they deserve after Herb Kohl (D-WI)'s lackluster years of service. 
  2. Mazie Hirono for Senate in Hawai`i vs. former GOP Governor Linda Lingle.  I gotta be honest, I don't love me some Mazie.  She's not a great candidate, she's not an intellectual power, but she's steady and reliable and she's likely to be a good Democratic vote for the next 20 years in the US Senate.  Voters in Hawai`i do not throw out incumbents.  She will be Hawai`i's Herb Kohl, but better that than voting in Hawai`i's Olympia Snowe and giving the GOP another Senate vote. 
  3. Claire McCaskill for Senate vs. GOP State Representative Todd Akin.  Because no one should serve in the US Senate who uses the term "Legitimate Rape." 
  4. Minnesotans for all Families, the group leading the way against the proposed ban of same sex marriage in that state and who are running ads like this featuring former Governor Jesse "the Body" Ventura and like this featuring "John and Kim. Catholics. Republicans." And because this is looking like the closest of the gay marriage votes.  And because Vikings Punter Chris Kluwe is freakin' awesome. 
  5. Feel like a longshot?  Take a flier on unseating Jon Kyl (R-AZ) by donating to Richard Carmona's campaign; or keep another another Tea Party nutbar out of the Senate (because if Rand Paul isn't the worst thing to happen to that August body since they approved Clarence Thomas to the Court than I'll move to OH-8 and run against Boehner next time) and give a little to Joe Donnelly's campaign for Senate in his race against Mourdock.  (And I've never linked to the Kokomo newspaper before - red letter day for BLC.)
All for now.  Lots could change.  Six weeks until the election - register if you haven't and vote like you mean it!

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