Friday, October 17, 2008

The Freak Show is Nervous...

Our lovely buddies in the "news" media, aka the Freak Show are nervous about election night. And not in a way that anyone else in America. The Freak Show is nervous about their dramatic election night extravaganza will be cut short by an Obama landslide! With the polls shifting dramatically in Obama's favor and McCain's prospects looking worse and worse, there's a good chance that the election will be over before voting results from the West start coming in.

As is usual, the colls will close on the east coast several hours before their west coast counterparts. In 2004, the media had a feeding frenzy with 2 extremely close races, each coming down to one Swing State. The electoral map this time though, barring a national crisis, is looking a little different:

If Obama starts the night with North Carolina, Virginia and Pennsylvania, McCain is screwed. McCain has no reasnoable electoral strategy w/o Virginia, let alone North Carolina. McCain is playing major league defense right now. His electoral strategy appears to be a replication of Bush's 2004 map. He's been campaigning and spending heavily in Virgiia, North Carolina, Indiana and West Virginia, states he can't afford to worry about on the electoral map. In order to win McCain needs to be able to focus all his energy on traditional Swing States like Florida, Nevada, Missouri, Pennsylvania, New Hampshire, and especially Ohio. To reitirate, McCain is done without winning Florida, Virginia, North Carolina and Ohio:

<p><strong>><a href=''>Electoral College Prediction Map</a></strong> - Predict the winner of the general election. Use the map to experiment with winning combinations of states. Save your prediction and send it to friends.</p>

In this example, McCain loses Virginia, which has less electoral votes than Ohio and Virginia which I here hypothetically give to McCain. What can he move from this map into the GOP column? Maybe the 2004 Bush states? He's thrown Iowa under the Straight Talk Express with his continued slamming of ethanol subsidies (which I kind of agree with him on), putting it all but out of reach. New Mexico similarly doesn't look like much of a contest this year. He would need to flip both or Pennsylvania to offset his Virginia loss. And if he loses Florida or Ohio right off the bat? Forget it.

So why does this have the media running scared? Simple. Its a huge conundrum for them. If the race ends early, do they call it for Obama? There are two significant downsides to doing so. 1. It hurts ratings. Doing so would force them to talk about something else substantive like the congressional elections. Wouldn't that be awful. 2. Their declaration could affect voter turnout. If the media declares it in the bag for Obama while its still daytime in the West, voter turnout could go down. Why vote if the election is already "over". States like Missouri, Nevada and Colorado could potentially be won by McCain because Obama voters are already celebrating. This would be a real shame, and deter from a truly representative electoral result.

So what are the media bigwigs going to do? Senior Vice President of CBS news Paul Friedman said: "We could say something like, ‘Given the number of electoral votes Obama already has, and given what we know about the voting so far in various states where the polls have not closed, it is going to be very hard for John McCain to win.’ I would sincerely hope that kind of language would not discourage people out West from voting.” Sam Feist, CNN's Political Director said "A night of early surprises would be a gift for John King's "Magic Wall" of computerized maps. Feist said: "If we know early in the evening that Barack Obama wins a critical state such as Virginia or Florida, we'll have a conversation about what John McCain would have to pull out of his hat now," such as Wisconsin, Minnesota, New Mexico, Colorado or Nevada". This is why we love CNN. John Kind just goes crazy with that newfangled thing. I miss the whiteboard.

On MSNBC, the diagnosis is not good for McCain. Joe Scarborough said on “Morning Joe”: “When it becomes obvious that one candidate’s going to lose, usually members of that party start jumping, like rats from a ship. You’re starting to hear from Republicans that are really afraid McCain’s going to lose, Democrats may [reach] 60 in the Senate, and this is going to be a historic rout.” That's not exactly a glowing prediction for McCain's Nov. 3 chances. I can't wait to see the media freak-out then.

(Thanks to Mark Halperin at The Page for directing me to the Politico article)

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