Thursday, December 25, 2008

My Election Day Predictions

Republican Politics, American Style
Published on October 30th in Metro Eireann By Charles Laffiteau

While you were sleeping last night, Barack Obama broadcast a half hour political infomercial simultaneously on all four US national TV as well as all three US cable/satellite TV news networks, in an attempt to “close the deal” and win the votes of the last of America’s “undecided” voters. Now do I think Senator Obama really needed to spend in excess of $6,000,000 to beam a single TV political advertisement into every home in America with just 6 days left in the US Presidential campaign? No, I don’t!
But even though I don’t believe Barack Obama needed to run this TV ad in order to ensure that he will win the US presidency next Tuesday, I think it might serve a more useful purpose in the weeks and months that follow Election Day. That’s because this particular political commercial wasn’t just designed to win over “undecided” voters. Rather, this commercial was actually Obama’s first, and probably his only, opportunity to address all Americans, including those who already have or will vote for McCain on 4 November, without interference from debate moderators or rebuttals from his opponents.
As President, Obama will have many other opportunities to address the American people on national TV, but because the US TV networks provide this time for “free”, they are also obligated to provide “equal time” for representatives of the opposing political party to comment or respond to whatever the President says on these broadcasts. Since Senator McCain and the Republican Party elected not to buy the same kind of nationwide TV commercial time, they forfeited the opportunity to immediately attack or attempt to counter Obama’s final message to America’s voters before Election Day.
I will comment further on last night’s political commercial after the election is over. For now let it suffice to say that I think it will assist President Obama in gaining the support of most Americans, including those who won’t vote for him, for the foreign and domestic policy prescriptions President Obama will be proposing in the coming months.
Last week I mentioned that the winner of the last of the three US Presidential debates was a character called “Joe the plumber”. Well even though “Joe the plumber” subsequently received a lot of publicity on the campaign trail, thanks to McCain turning him into a symbol for small business owners worried about Obama’s future tax plans, poor old “Joe the plumber” still ended up getting upstaged a few days later by a “hockey mom”, Republican Vice Presidential candidate Sarah “the fashion diva” Palin.
Having “Sarah the fashion diva” replace “Joe the plumber” as the center of the news media’s and potential voter’s attention on the Republican presidential campaign was definitely not what John McCain had in mind with only twelve days left till the election. I should also note that for the previous six weeks, McCain and Palin’s campaign appearances and stump speeches had all been aimed at winning over lower income “blue collar” white voters who are seldom mistaken for Saks or Neiman Marcus customers.
So what were McCain’s advisors thinking when they decided they needed to spend over $150,000 in scarce campaign funds at stores like Saks and Neiman Marcus to properly clothe their new Vice Presidential candidate for the two month General Election contest? Hmmmm. Maybe they weren’t thinking. On the other hand when one considers the fact that the highest paid member of McCain’s presidential campaign staff is Palin’s make-up artist, who is making over $22,000 a month, and that Palin’s hair stylist earns another $10,000 a month, then $150,000 for designer clothes doesn’t seem so out of line.
At any rate, now that I have shared this latest bit of Presidential campaign background information with you, its once again time for me to stick my neck out a bit and make some predictions about what I believe will happen this coming Tuesday.
As many of you are aware, I have been promoting the Presidential candidacy of Senator Barack Obama in this column for the better part of two years now. As recently as nine months ago when Obama still trailed Hillary Clinton by 30 points in US national opinion polls, I continued to stand by my prediction that Obama would eventually win the Democratic Presidential nomination. It should therefore come as no surprise that I continue to believe and predict that Senator Barack Obama will also win the US Presidential contest over Senator John McCain on 4 November.
But forecasting a win for Barack Obama next Tuesday is the easy part. What is more problematic for me is predicting how close the final voting results will be in both the Presidential and Congressional races. When I was interviewed by the producers of RTÉ’s Primetime while I was in Denver two months ago, I told them that even though Obama and McCain were running even in the national polls, I thought Obama would end up winning the US popular vote by a margin of 2-3 million votes. But I also said that I thought Obama would win the all important electoral vote by a much larger margin than any of his recent Democratic and Republican predecessors.
Today I am going to stand by that prediction and even go so far as to predict a modern day electoral landslide for Barack Obama as well as his fellow Democratic Congressional candidates. I believe that Senator Obama will capture the electoral votes of states in Republican Midwest bastions like Indiana, Ohio and Missouri in addition to GOP Southern strongholds in Virginia, North Carolina and Georgia as well as in the reliable Republican Rocky Mountain zone including Montana, Colorado and Nevada. In fact, I am betting Obama ends up with a modern-day electoral landslide of 393-396 or maybe even 401-404 electoral votes versus fewer than 150 for John McCain.
As for Congress, I think the Democrats will also pick up 34-36 seats in the House of Representatives and 8-10 seats in the US Senate. I’ll discuss the details next week.

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