Yesterday's electoral experience was a lot different from what I'd grown accustomed to over the years. I've voted for eight presidents now, but this was the first time I've done so where 1) the electoral votes were considered up for grabs, and 2) I wasn't in a booth cranking a lever older than I was. Voting was quick, easy, and overseen by representatives of both parties--a man with a plaid shirt and gray ponytail, and a woman in pressed jeans and an Hermès scarf.
They'd been instructed not to reveal which party they belonged to.
Later, I helped with a dramatic reading of alarmist, pre-election status updates organized by my friend Kristen:
I watched the returns at a Michigan Radio event held at the downtown Buffalo Wild Wings. (Which people here inexplicably refer to as the "BW3." Where's the third W? I ask you.) I got there just in time for the networks to call Michigan for the president; the roars got louder with each announcement (Stabenow, Warren, Pennsylvania), and when CNN finally called it, the joy rivaled New Year's Eve in Times Square. Just acres of happy bedlam.
A lot's been said today about two years, $6 billion of spending, 20 Republican debates, that resulted largely in the status quo. But it's not the status quo. We've got an Asian, legless Congresswoman, a lesbian Senator, and three fewer misogynist pinheads. More gay people can marry each other, more adults can legally possess marijuana, and more porn actors will throw fits over whether they have to wear condoms.
The best part, for me, was that the real winner last night was Math. Of all the chicanery and posturing among the pundits who were paid to sit behind their laptops and just say stuff to fill time, Mr. FiveThirtyEight's data models blew them all away. And I love how he says "If I were to make a bet" rather than "If I were to predict." When it comes to his data, he's willing to be accountable for what he says and take a material hit if he's wrong. As opposed to others who merely shrug it off and live to bloviate another day.
When I had lunch with Moxie today, she regaled me about our son's gleeful geekery last night. Apparently he stayed up for the whole thing, made flawless predictions, and his first words this morning were, "Did Obama take Florida?"
I can see why I've sired Nate Silver, Jr. I don't want to brag or anything, but when it comes to presidential races, I've backed the winner two times in a row. Spooky, right?