Tag Archives: election day

Stuart Smalley To Be The Next US Senator?

Franken to be announced winner in MN Senate race
Franken to be announced winner in MN Senate race

In November’s Election Day 2008, we saw many hotly contested and historic races.  One race that stands out above many of them because it is both, hotly contested and historic in the sense that it is one of the most longest and drawn out races that we’ve seen in recent history, is that of the Minnesota race for U.S. Senator between Republican incumbent Norm Coleman and Democrat Al Franken.  And here we are two months removed from the day of the election and Minnesota officials seem to be ready to announce Al Franken as the winner and next United States Senator.

Franken, famous from his time as a comedian and writer for Saturday Night Live, where he played characters such as self-help guru Stuart Smalley, also went on to become a liberal political commentator.  On his national syndicated radio show, he announced his bid in early 2007 where he would win the primarily which would eventually pit him against Norm Coleman.  The general election season between the two could have been consider typical and normal between political rivals, with Franken getting a boost from his pre-politician fame from SNL and his talk show.  But that would only bring us to the election day.

The race was too close to call on the night of the election.  That would lead up to state canvassing board to announce the mandatory recount on November 18 because Coleman had only a lead of 215 votes out of close to three million, which was less than one half percent of the total votes cast.  Over the next month, a long and grueling hand recount of the 2.9 million votes would ensue.  That would be followed by a search for hundreds of missing and/or uncounted ballots, and then to thousands of other ballots challenged by either campaign of the voters true intent.  Then, after state Supreme Court became involved, there were the review of several hundred absentee ballots that may have been discarded.  So for two months it was back and forth, lead change after lead change, first it’s Coleman and then Franken, etc.  The end would result in the canvassing board ready to announce Al Franken the winner by 225 votes.  The announcement should come on Monday, a day before the U.S. Senate convenes on Tuesday.

Not for nothin’, but its unfortunate for the state of Minnesota, but aren’t we glad we didn’t have to go through this to decide who would be the winner of the presidential race.  We all remember when a long drawn-out race of this type presented itself in 2000 when Bush defeated Gore, but we were saved much heartache, misery and worry when Al Gore gave it.  He could have taken it this far, some believe that because it was for the presidency he probably should have.  But in this case, for all that’s decent, for all that’s righteous, lets finally have a winner announced.  This has gone on way too far.

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The Real Election Day

Electoral College votes for Obama-Biden ticket
Electoral College votes for Obama-Biden ticket

While this year’s election day held on November 4, served as the day when millions and millions of Americans went to the voting booth and cast their vote for who they wanted to be president.  As we all know a majority of U.S. citizens cast their vote for Barack Obama.  Not saying that our votes didn’t matter, but that wasn’t the day when the next president is officially picked.  That day comes in December when the Electoral College meets and it is then when those few select people formally select who will be the next President and Vice-President of the United States of America.

This year, the electoral college met on Monday, December 15.  In the capital cities of every U.S. state, they met and officially made Barack Obama our 44th President of the United States.  Most people are aware that our country participates in this type of indirect election, but many of those same people do not like it at all. 

Around this time every four years, it isn’t out of the ordinary to hear calls to get the system re-tooled, this time without the Electoral College.  These calls were more abundant than normal eight years ago when we saw one of the closest elections in over a hundred years.  Then Vice-President Al Gore had won a popular vote, meaning more Americans voted for him than his opponent George W. Bush.  But the reason we had George Bush as our president for the past eight years is because Gore failed to capture what he needed for electors, in essence being “you win the state, you get the electors.”  That’s why supporters argue that candidates must build a base that is geographically broader and diverse across the nation.  In other words, he or she would have to have a wider appeal to the people and not just in urban areas where much of the population is centered.

Not for nothin’, but elections are essentially the battle for a state’s vote, not just people.  Of course it cant’ be done without the people, but its a work-around or a middle man that we’ll have to put up with probably for a very long time.  It’s fortunate that candidates recognize this fact, specifically this year and now we do not have to worry about any controversy such as in 2000 or 2004.  But its unfortunate that it’s part of the reason why candidates put so much focus and attention on swing states.

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Obama’s Grandmother Dies

Obama and his Dunham grandparents
Obama and his Dunham grandparents

Senator Barack Obama’s grandmother, Madelyn Dunham, passed late Sunday night.  She died surrounded by family at her Hawaiian home after a long battle with cancer.  Obama and his sister, Maya Soetora-Ng, released the news during the day on Monday.  Dunham was 86-years-old.

Obama and his sister released a joint statement saying, “She was the cornerstone of our family, and a woman of extraordinary accomplishment, strength, and humility.”  It continued, “She was the person who encouraged and allowed us to take chances.  She was proud of her grandchildren and great-grandchildren and left this world with the knowledge that her impact on all of us was meaningful and enduring.  Our debt to her is beyond measure.”

Barack Obama took two different trips off the campaign trail to go visit his grandmother in Hawaii.  The first taking his family there in August, but the latest one was in the midst of the season just about two weeks before election day to go visit her to spend the day with her after her health deteriorated after suffering a broken hip.

The timing of her death was quite tragic and sad as it came just hours before she could have seen her grandson elected President of the United States of America. 

Not for nothin’, but while the death of Obama’s grandmother Madelyn is quite sad, she’s not the only person that would have love to have lived to see this day.  This groundbreaking election is something many people fought and died for.  It wasn’t that long ago that blacks and women weren’t even able to vote and now we’re on the verge of having one as president or vice-president.  Now Madelyn Dunham sits in the presents of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., John F. Kennedy, Rosa Parks, Susan B. Anthony, and countless others who lived to help make our nations historic day on Tuesday possible.

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The Day After

Election day nears
Election day nears

On Tuesday when the ballots are counted and America has elected our new president of the United States, for many of us this will be a joyous occasion as history has been made and our team has made it in there!  But on the other hand, there will also be those people who dread the thought of an opposite outcome than the one they want.  With the intensity this election season has brought us, we can say one thing for sure, and that’s nearly half of America will not be happy with who our new president-elect is, but for at least for the next four years we’re going to be forced to deal with it somehow.

It’s a fact that we have to mentally prepare ourselves for.  Sen. Barack Obama has a lead in the polls, but there’s a chance that his lead will not last and we’ll have our winner being Sen. John McCain.  Are Barack Obama supporters ready for that?  Well if everything plays out like it looks like it will then our new president will be Barack Obama.  Are John McCain supporters ready for that?  The day after and the upcoming weeks, months, and years will give us the answer.

If the expectations stay the way they are, Obama wins and McCain supporters get disappointed.  For the past two months polls have shown McCain behind and lately there has been no sign that he would come back and win.  So some analyst and strategist have all but predicted a GOP loss.  Even radio commentators have been picturing a post-Obama win America.  They complain, worry, and fear that his plans and platforms will not work out.

On the other hand, lets assume that polls have been inaccurate, or by some slight miracle John McCain fights his way back and on election night democrats will have a big disappointment on their hands.  Comedian Chris Rock joked that if Obama loses then the Wednesday after Election Day if there’s any activity that involves black people, then it’s not going to get done.  Also an Italian author wrote about a second civil war breaking out.  Not to mention the dozens of actors, actresses, and celebrities who are threatening to move to Canada.  Such threats were made in 2000 and 2004 but actual statistic show that they didn’t materialize and were just a threat.  But also in the threat department the threat of violence is another real thought.  It may not be peaceful in many urban areas if Obama doesn’t win.  Actually he doesn’t have to win for unruly crowds to take the streets.

Not for nothin’, either way this turns our country will need some serious repairing to get people working together again.  One person is going to win and one will loose.  Its just how the other side will take it.  Or actually you can say how well the other side will take it. 

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Don’t Take What You See Face Value

Map of early voting states
Map of early voting states

 

In the final weekend before the election, presidential candidates, vice-presidential candidates, politicians, celebrities and others on the campaign trail doing everything they can to make their respective campaign successful.  After a number of states opened polls early for early voting, many are closing Sunday and Monday in lieu of Tuesday’s Election Day. 

Over 30 states allow their voters to vote early.  In a few of them you need an excuse to vote early, but in most early voting at polls has seen record numbers.  Over 20 million people have cast their vote before election day.  And we’ve also seen widely reported that most of those cast have been democratic, but don’t get too excited.  While a large share of those cast were by democrats, the voters are only registered democrats, but are still free to vote which ever way they want.  In many cases that wouldn’t be a problem, we can all assume that registered democrats will vote for the democratic candidate and registered republicans will vote for the republican candidate, but assumption can be the base of many mistakes.

As we all know this is quite the historic election that divides the population as any election, but this one has to potential to polarize the American public like none before.  Primarily because of what has been represented from the two campaigns.  Many democratic voters are not voting for Barack Obama for various reasons, still bitter from Hillary loss, don’t feel comfortable with him, or just do not want to vote for an African-American.  That’s similar to republican voters do not want to vote for McCain because they feel he doesn’t represent the party fully, no confidence in his VP candidate, or actually feel he isn’t the best candidate.

And as an added bonus some thought has to be put on the “Southern Democrat” population.  Close to a third of early voting states are southern states.  As many of us know, several years ago the republican party were liberal and the democratic party were more conservative.  With Franklin Roosevelt’s New Deal administration came an actual new deal in American political structure.  After the impact his administration had on American politics, the party values essentially switched making republicans more conservative and democrats more liberal as we see it today.  While many politicians since the start of the 1960s began to switch parties to align more with their values, many democratic voters in the south did not get that memo.  That’s why you’d see civil rights leaders in the republican party in the south because they were in direct contrast to Southern Democrats who opposed the civil rights movement.  And that’s why to this day many old school southern democrats, while still registered as democrats, vote conservative and for republican candidates.

Not for nothin’, but these are just two of the reasons why we can be misled by polls.  Unless you see an actual number of how many people are voting for which candidate, we’re not going to know officially who’s in the lead.  No matter how much you think or are told that the Obama campaign is ahead, no pundit, analyst, or strategist has a crystal ball, nor can they see the future. 

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