8:00 PM Western Time (Midnight in the East, 0400 GMT)
It appears to have happened: NBC, ABC, CNN have all declared Senator Obama as our next president. The polls have just closed on the West Coast and the Obama support has been strong enough to declare California, Oregon, and Washington for Obama. It also appears that my home state of Virginia will go for Obama. I’m watching the celebration from Grant Park in Chicago and it’s jubilation. As an aside, we haven’t seen the McCain headquarters as they are in the Phoenix Biltmore and it’s closed to the public. No more need be said.
OK, maybe more can be said. It’s been a long 8 years for many of us and President Elect Obama has a great deal of cleaning up to do. He will certainly need our prayers in the years ahead. Whatever has been said about the “color barrier” this is a historic moment and years from now I’ll remember this moment. But more than that, I believe he is the man who will best be able to reunite our country.
6:00 PM Western Time (9:00 in the East, and 0200 GMT)
Every hour brings new states that have closed their polls, and things continue to look up for Sen. Obama. NBC has 175 Electoral Votes for him and 76 for Sen. McCain. He appears to have some downticket momentum. John Warner (R-Va.) retired and it has gone to Democrat Mark Warner (no relation). That wasn’t a surprise but it was a surprise to see that incumbent Senator John Sununu (R-NH) was defeated by Jean Shaheen and incumbent Elizabeth Dole (R-NC) has been defeated by Kay Hagan. We’re a long way off from this, but there is an outside chance that the Democrats will have 60 seats in the Senate.
That’s important because of the role of the filibuster in the Senate. Any Senator can block discussion or a vote on any bill simply by taking the podium and not giving it up. It takes a vote of at least 60 senators for “cloture” to end the filibuster. The Democrats currently have a majority if the Senate but they don’t have 60 seats and the Republicans have been able to effectively block a great deal of progress. Assuming Sen. Obama wins, if he has a 60 seat majority in the Senate, he will have a tremendous opportunity to move us beyond the Bush years.
4:45 PM Western Time (7:45 in the East, and 2345 GMT)
Well it’s already started: as I write this Kentucky and South Carolina have gone for Sen. McCain and Vermont for Sen. Obama. None of these were surprises, though perhaps if South Carolina had gone for Obama, the race would pretty much have been over by now. As of now, McCain is ahead 16 electoral votes to 3 (at this point I’m watching NBC; other networks have different totals).
1:30 PM Western Time (4:30 PM in the East, and 2130 GMT)
OK, so at long last it’s here: Election Day 2008. My countdown clock goes until January 20, 2009 because that’s how much longer President Bush is in office. Sometime within the next few hours we’ll know who the President Elect is, but he won’t take office for another 76 days.
In the next several hours I’ll be making some changes on my web page. Primarily I’ll be removing the names of the candidates running for President. Keeping track of this has turned into a bit of a nightmare and I have only myself to blame. At the beginning of the primary season I hoped to list not only the major candidates of the major parties, but anyone I could find who announced candidacy for President. At first it wasn’t too bad as I was able to find most of what I wanted from Google or Wikipedia. It became more complicated when candidates would lose their primary and announce that they had either switched to another party or decided to run as independents. It also became clear that some of these candidates weren’t putting in much effort as there were no changes in the web pages over the course of the race. In any case, after tonight nobody is running for president in 2008.
I’m planning to keep most of the other boxes on the left side of the page. I’ll probably get rid of the Bert and Ernie terror alert level; it was a parody of the White House’s color coded terror alert level and I don’t know anyone who keeps track of that now.
I’ve been keeping track of the US combat deaths in Iraq with a counter I downloaded from antiwar.com. It doesn’t look like we’ll be out of there anytime soon and I’m inclined to keep it there as long as our troops are there. Unfortunately I can’t seem to find a counter for deaths in Afghanistan; if I do I’ll add it. There are counters who attempt to keep track of deaths of US civilian contractors and Iraqi civilians but the Bush administration has been successful in keeping that information private and the counters aren’t very accurate.
As long as I’m housecleaning I’m making some changes on the right column too. Primarily I’ll be getting rid of some of the personal blogs that either no longer exist or now require permission to read.
I’m going to write several times during the night as the voting comes in. Right now there isn’t much as the first polls don’t even close for another 2 1/2 hours.