On the morning of Friday, January 25, 2019, dark and early, NPR popped up on my clock radio and Steve Inskeep said the following words: “Roger Stone is set to appear in federal court. He was arrested in Florida.” Continue reading “The Art of Distraction…”
So, just last week, Trump fired FBI Director James Comey. Trump himself admitted it was because of Comey’s investigation into Russian interference during the 2016 US Presidential election. Continue reading “Aftermath (Part 3): People will NOT SEE this coming…”
Today is a day for quiet celebration and for concern.
Yesterday was my 49th birthday. Today is the 40th anniversary of Richard M. Nixon’s landslide victory against George McGovern; 40 years of watching and waiting through the rhetoric, the endless punditry, the concession speeches and victory cheers. It’s been 30 years since my first voting year.
In the end, despite heaps of cynicism and skepticism, my electoral college guesses proved right. I recorded my bets when states hit about 60% of precincts reporting in clear majorities, 75% or higher in closer races. I spent most of last night, into the wee hours of the morning, watching Huffington Post’s Election Results. This morning I checked back in and saw no overnight surprise upsets.
Interestingly, only a few of those listed in the Washington Post’s Pundit accountability summary got the numbers close to right. Three assumed Florida would go to Governor Romney, two to President Obama (the more likely outcome in the light of day), with the votes for third-party candidates appearing to affect Governor Romney (Gary Johnson) somewhat more than President Obama (Jill Stein), though neither one did enough damage to change the final numbers:
Josh Putnam, Davidson College: Obama 332, Romney 206. ”Everything above is based on a graduated weighted average of polls in each state conducted in 2012,” Putnam wrote in explaining his methodology. “The weighting is based on how old a poll is. The older the poll is the more it is discounted. The most recent poll is given full weight.”
Markos Moulitsas: Obama 332, Romney 206. “Currently, national polling assumes a big dropoff from registered voters to likely voters. I don’t believe that’ll be the case, and we’re certainly not seeing it in the early vote—Democratic turnout is up. And the RV models have been more accurate historically.”
Nate Silver, FiveThirtyEight: Obama 303, Romney 235. ”The model estimates that Mr. Romney would need to win the national popular vote by about one percentage point to avert a tossup, or a loss, in the Electoral College,” Silver writes.
Sam Wang, Princeton Election Consortium: Obama 303, Romney 235. “In terms of EV or the Meta-margin, [Obama has] made up just about half the ground he ceded to Romney after Debate #1.”*
Jamelle Bouie, The American Prospect: Obama 303, Romney 235. “[I]f Obama wins on Tuesday, the political science on debates will have won out; they can shift the short-term situation, but they don’t fundamentally change the direction of an election.”
*NOTE: Since I first published this post, the Washington Post has revised Silver’s estimate to include Florida’s numbers, putting him up with the 332/206 numbers.
Here in Maryland, as in Maine, Minnesota, and Washington (as well as Iowa, where a judge’s status was in question because of his support for Marriage Equality), we have affirmed that Marriage Equality is right. In Maryland in particular, we have upheld the right for same-sex couples to marry by a majority of 52%.
Maryland also affirmed the Dream Act, and will now be able to hold our politicians involved in corrupt or criminal activity accountable, suspending them without pay. While I’m not thrilled to see gambling expansion in my state, the barn door’s already open, and there’s no turning back now, I guess. In Colorado, for the first time, a state (Colorado) has made recreational marijuana use legal, which will likely push the question to the Supreme Court. With luck, the Court will also address jailing for marijuana use and start to cut our prison population as well.
In general, I’m happy to have a quiet house today, and the sense that things will be calmer, at least for a while. Friends will find a way to mend relationships torn by political grief and misunderstanding.
Though the fiscal cliff still looms large, congress will hold its lame duck session shortly and (with luck) will see a way to steer clear of the threat to our programs. If not, I hope President Obama and the confirmed Democratically controlled Senate will find a way to smooth out the mess the Tea Party-controlled House has made of our politics in the last four years.
Meanwhile, I’m turning my attention to unfinished projects over what remains of November. I have a novel that needs serious revision, assorted tasks for work that are near completion, and the rest of 2012 to survive, assuming the world doesn’t end on December 21st. There are bills to pay, tax forms to file, chores that always need doing.
Life goes on, even as we fit the new changes into our lives and hope for the best.
I mentioned earlier that I grew up in a single-parent household. Dad was as devoted to his role as a Democrat as some were to their various religious sects. By observing my father as he worked to protect and improve the School Without Walls (SWW), I learned early how much politics affects our day-to-day lives.
Dad, part of a group of students, teachers and parents joined together at the height of the 1968 riots, became the representative and eventual leader of the program, using John Bremer’s Parkway Program in Philadelphia as a guide. Based on Bremer’s educational philosophy, SWW followed a path of learning and exploration that widened the base of each student’s experience far past the traditional chalkboard and into the community at large.
SWW suffered through the Rochester City School District’s repeated attempts to shut the program down, forming grass-roots movements that helped preserve the program so that each year it grew stronger and more stable. Over the first three years, the school community held long meetings to work on strategy and to protest the nearly continual threat to the school’s existence.
In 1972, when I was in 4th grade, I began my life-long love-hate relationship with American politics. My school assignment was (and remains) a classic: Follow the election and report back what you learned. The 1972 Presidential Election was a major life lesson for me, because I was rooting for Senator George McGovern.
There were a lot of things happening in 1972. On TV we were watching All in the Family, Maude, M*A*S*H, and other shows in addition to the news. I was so wrapped up in family TV time I had goldfish named Huntley, Brinkley and Walter (because Cronkite was harder to pronounce, I guess). Dad had reel to reel tapes of the Beatles, Pete Seeger, Hair, Buffy Ste. Marie, and others. I was as much into the anti-war movement as an eight-year-old could be.
So when Senator McGovern became an outspoken critic of the Vietnam War, I knew who I wanted for my president.
The night of the election I sat in the kitchen, watching our small portable TV (featured prominently on our round, white table, very similar to the one pictured above). I sat and swiveled around, because sitting still wasn’t one of my strong suits, watching the returns as they rolled in. As the hours rolled by, I watched in horror as Nixon took state after state.
The experience shook me so, I cried.
I recall being in Sun Valley Idaho at a relatively posh (for us) hotel room watching TV on August 8th, 1974, hearing Dad holler at the TV screen “They got the son of a bitch,” as Richard Nixon resigned in disgrace. During our Spring Break in 1976, we took a trip to Washington, DC. I believe it was our first, though I could be remembering wrong. It was a long time ago.
Dad took us to the FBI, the Mint, on a tour of the White House and Washington Monument, and to the Capitol, where we happened across Senator McGovern on his way elsewhere. I don’t remember what I said, only that he was substantially taller than Dad, very gracious and willing to shake my hand.
Senator McGovern died two days ago, having served a long and respected life, even as he is most remembered for that bitter defeat. As our country has become increasingly divided, it saddens me that the legacy people will remember most is Nixon’s landslide victory, however ill-gotten it might have been, and Gerald Ford’s subsequent pardoning of a man who should have gone to jail. Nixon set a precedent that is so firmly in place today, in our current election, that the Republican candidate can say anything and still be a serious threat, even in the face of what his predecessors have done.
I hope, for our sake, we can learn from history. I fear that we will not, and that we will pay a far higher price than anyone might imagine when we go to the polls two weeks from today.
Rest in peace, Senator. I believed in you then and I still believe in you now.
Huffington Post: McGovern’s Patriotism — And How the 2012 Campaign Dishonors It
The Washington Post: George McGovern, the man who never gave up