Last week, the day before the elections, I made a series of bold, surefire predictions on this site, including gambling lines. So, how’d I do? Results below. My pick comes first, with the winner in bold.
U.S. Presidential Election – Electoral College Winner
Obama -400, Romney +300
Nailed it. This race, while competitive, hadn’t been much in doubt after Romney’s post-debate bounce faded in the polls. Don’t try telling that to conservatives, however. They were totally blindsided by the results on election night. They were sure they were going to win. Inside the Romney campaign, this was due to faulty data. Specifically, they missed the effectiveness of President Obama’s ground game, and underestimated Democratic turnout. Their numbers gave them no reason to believe election night would go badly for them. As for everyone else, blame Fox News. The propaganda machine of Fox News ignored facts and left viewers unprepared for the possibility of a Romney loss.
Disturbingly, many on the right are not taking the loss well. Currently, tens of thousands of people have signed petitions for their various states of residence to secede from the Union. Others have descended into reactionary rhetoric, saying and publishing such tidbits as “America died,” or “My country committed suicide,” etc.
I remember the despair I felt after President Bush was reelected in 2004. I couldn’t reconcile the results of the election with what I knew of his administration. How could more than half the country support a president who began an unnecessary war and whose administration created a massive machinery of lies to justify it? We were losing in Iraq, the terrorists who attacked us were running free in Afghanistan and Pakistan, and thousands of people, not just Americans, but people, were dying every year as a result of this man’s policies. This was fact, not the fantasy world where much criticism of Obama resides. So I can understand the feelings of many right-wingers, but the incendiary rhetoric is getting out of hand.
I shouldn’t be surprised. The vile pronouncements of the extreme right have been nothing if not consistent for years now. But one thing the extremists, and regular Republicans, need to remember is that no ideology has an inherent right to the Oval Office. Every time a Democrat wins, the GOP and its base takes it personally, as if only their people have a right to lead, and everyone else is a usurper. That’s why the rhetoric about revolution or secession has me concerned. Not only are Democrats considered ‘other’ already by the right, the country reelected a black man that many extremists continue to believe is an anti-American sleeper agent. Enough already. It’s not the end of America. In fact, every election is a reaffirmation of the United States.
U.S. Presidential Election – Electoral College Tie
Not a Tie -6250, Tie +2500
I don’t even know why I bothered including this one.
U.S. Presidential Election – Obama Popular Vote Over/Under
50.5% – Under, actual result 50.6% – Over
Damn, so close. I’m glad I didn’t parlay this with the Bengals/Giants game this past weekend. That would have been gorgeous had things gone my way, but cooler heads prevailed.
U.S. Presidential Election – Colorado Result
Romney +135, Obama -165
Colorado is one of those swing states that Democrats look to keep for a while.
U.S. Presidential Election – Florida Result
Romney -200, Obama +160
When election night rolled around, even Nate Silver, celebrity predictor extraordinaire, had this one at 50-50, so I don’t feel bad about losing it. Republicans should, though. Florida is ground zero for the implosion of the southern strategy. Let it be known, here and now, let it be screamed from the rooftops: the Republican Party can no longer pander to racist sensibilities in white voters and expect to win national elections. Hallelujah. This has been a long time coming. It would be nice if the GOP had to reject the southern strategy because it is the right thing to do, rather than it returning diminished results, but what the hell? No matter the reason, one of the two major parties in this country being less racist is a good thing.
So what happened? For over a generation, the GOP has given a wink and a nod to racist sentiments and used outright voter suppression as tactics to win elections. As a way of ensuring large margins among white voters, it can’t fail, especially in the south. But then a strange thing happened. The numbers of minority voters increased to the point that they could offset the gains the GOP was getting with whites. And minority voters aren’t stupid. They pick up on racist code words just as well as white people do. The GOP lost Florida, and is in danger of losing Texas in upcoming elections, not because they failed to appeal to minority voters. No, that is far too soft an assessment. To many minority voters, the GOP is the party of racist white people. Have fun rebranding that image, Republicans.
On a side note, Florida was the number one showcase for dysfunctional voting processes yet again. That’s twice in four elections, Florida. Get your shit together.
U.S. Presidential Election – Iowa Result
Obama -350, Romney +275
Speaking of white voters, Iowa is one of the states with the lowest percentage of minority voters (7%), yet Obama won the white vote there. In Mississippi, where 36% of voters are black, white voters overwhelmingly voted for Romney. This was the pattern nationwide, as well. States where high percentages of voters were white, those voters tended to break for Obama, while white voters in high-minority states broke for Romney. This election is going to keep sociologists busy for a while.
U.S. Presidential Election – New Hampshire
Obama -300, Romney +240
New Hampshire can usually be counted on to come to its senses in the 11th hour.
U.S. Presidential Election – North Carolina Result
Romney -500, Obama +350
How badly did the Romney campaign misjudge the election? This was the only swing state they won. And this result came in mere seconds before NBC called the race for Obama. That had to burn. The first good news of the night is followed immediately by Brian Williams saying it was all over.
U.S. Presidential Election – Nevada Result
Obama -1000, Romney +600
America in microcosm. Not as populous as Ohio, but a state just as important as a bellwether.
U.S. Presidential Election – Ohio Result
Obama -350, Romney +275
Having spent the first 22 years of my life in Ohio, I have to admit I’m a little flattered that my homeland is so important every four years. Apparently I would feel differently if I still lived there. The constant pounding from the campaigns and the Super PACs did have an effect on the electorate. It angered them. It made them feel abused. My friends and family back there couldn’t be happier that the election is over and the media bombardment has ceased. Let’s spare Ohio further pain. Do away with the electoral college, spread the love thinly nationwide, rather than dump it all on the poor Buckeye state.
U.S. Presidential Election – Virginia Result
Romney +155, Obama -190
This wasn’t the only pick I got wrong, but it was the only one I agonized over. I should have just stayed away.
U.S. Presidential Election – Wisconsin Result
Obama -700, Romney +400
Wisconsin is a textbook case of why a campaign should not rely on its VP pick to carry a state.
U.S. Senate Election – Control of the Senate
Democrats -300, Republicans/Split +220
Not only did the Democrats maintain control of the Senate, they picked up a seat. Two if Angus King of Maine caucuses with the Democrats. The GOP reaped what they sowed in the Senate races. In Indiana and Missouri, they nominated a pair of right wing extremists whose unique views on rape alienated statewide voters. In Ohio, they nominated an unqualified partisan hack who may or may not be corrupt. In Minnesota, they nominated a former governor who, back in 2007, said it should be left up to individual businesses as to whether or not they could fire an employee for being gay. His opponent will soon become the first openly gay member of the Senate.
U.S. Senate Election – Arizona
Jeff Flake (R) -420, Richard Carmona (D) +300
Arizona gets a reprieve in 2014, but John McCain’s term ends after the 2016 elections. He’ll be 80. He may run for reelection, but if he doesn’t, demographic changes should make this state competitive. Oh, shit. I just made a prediction for 2016 and it’s only been a week since the election. My apologies.
U.S. Senate Election – Connecticut
Chris Murphy (D) -750, Linda McMahon (R) +450
McMahon could have spent the 90 million bucks she used on two losing elections subsidizing health insurance for her wrestling employees, who have among the lowest life expectancies of any American worker, instead of chasing a Senate seat so out of reach that her campaign was handing out sample ballots with her sharing a ticket with President Obama.
U.S. Senate Election – Indiana
Joe Donnelly (D) -135, Richard Mourdock (R) -105
If you’re going to talk about rape, expressing any view other than that it is a horrible, reprehensible act, seems to be a disqualifier for being a Senator. This would seem obvious, and not in need of proof, but two candidates graciously volunteered to test this hypothesis. Science marches on.
U.S. Senate Election – Missouri
Claire McCaskill (D) -750, Todd Akin (R) +450
U.S. Senate Election – Massachussetts
Elizabeth Warren (D) -430, Scott Brown (R) +310
I couldn’t be more thrilled with this result. Warren has been a consumer advocate for a long time, going head to head with banks and credit card companies on the behalf of regular people. Her winning a Senate seat is a wonderful ‘fuck you’ to the legislators who gutted the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, which should have been Warren’s crowning achievement in government. Now we get to see just how much power corrupts. How much maverick will be left in Warren after she spends time with that group of august legislators?
U.S. Senate Election – Montana
Denny Rehberg (R) -210, Jon Tester (D) +160
Not much to say about this one. This was a legitimate upset.
U.S. Senate Election – Nevada
Couldn’t find a line for this one, but in a straight up or down bet, I picked the correct winner with Dean Heller over Shelley Berkley.
U.S. Senate Election – Wisconsin
Tammy Baldwin (D) -155, Tommy Thompson (R) +115
Colorado Amendment 64
Pass -285, Fail +205
Our drug laws are stupid. The more states that go the way of Colorado and Arizona, the sooner the federal government will be forced to reexamine the war on drugs. This isn’t rocket science. Tax and regulate pot, plain and simple.
The final tally for election night was 17 wins versus 5 losses. This election, anyways, I was a gambling god.