Monday, September 29, 2008
another red-blue-yellow electoral map -- without the yellow
"same life-- new location" has a general policy about politics: take it outside.
Let me do a little self-disclosure here. I love politics. Or, at least, I once loved politics. I began when I was 3 by taking presidential brochures to our neighbors. That was 1952. I have been involved in almost every election since then -- including running for the state legislature (and losing) and serving as a member of the electoral college in the 1980s.
So, what happened to all of this talk last week about "writing my blog for me" and "letting my blog reflect who I am"? If I really believe that, why is politics a forbidden topic?
Because we are in another one of those national election cycles where we all take our politics far too seriously. (The election of 1800 managed to set the low tone for these cycles.) Every witty remark turns into a blood bath. Let me give you an example. I was at dinner the other night with a group of mutual friends.
Liberal Friend says: "Did you see that San Francisco is going to honor President Bush by naming a public project after him?"
Conservative Friend: "San Francisco? What project?"
Liberal Friend: "A sewage treatment plant." [Laughs]
Conservative Friend: "It figures. Conservatives always have to clean up liberal messes." [Snorts]
If this had been a drawing room exchange in Victorian England between Oscar Wilde and James Whistler, the witty repartee would have continued. At this Portland dinner party, the next few exchanges involved words that began with A and F (not the clothing catalog), and variations on the theme of parentage. The dinner ended with most everyone leaving in high dudgeon.
And that was a group of friends. I can hardly see any profit in sucking my new blog acquaintances into that political morass. There are several friends who I cannot dine with until after the election.
Having said that, my wonk side cannot avoid the temptation to post this election's version of What-Can-Go-Wrong. Forget about dead voters in Chicago and dodgy ballots in Florida. This year, it is very possible that the Electoral College could end in a dead-even tie.
During the past two elections, everyone knew the electoral college vote would be very close. But there was very little possibility of a tie because of the individual state votes. This year is different. The polls have been up and down. But if each candidate carried the state in which he is currently leading, the vote would be 269 votes each. (See the map at the top of this post.) And then the vote would go to the House of Representatives where each state is allowed one vote. Currently, neither party has a majority of the states.
Will it happen? I doubt it. The variables are large enough that one candidate will most likely cobble together a majority. But it will be fun to watch.
I did my best to come up with a witty comment. And then I recalled the dinner. I suspect another day with the steak will make the black eye better. No more witty comments from me.