Wednesday, November 05, 2008
Thoughts on the eve of Election Day
I wanted to help get out the vote, and specifically to encourage folks not to be discouraged by early reports if they were negativev. This was the first of my guest-posts at HH.com dedicated to that.
[Copied here for archival purposes on November 5, 2008, from the post linked above at HughHewitt.com.]
(Guest Post by Bill Dyer a/k/a Beldar)
The major networks called Florida for Al Gore in 2000 while tens of thousands of voters had yet to vote in the westernmost part of that state which is situated within the Central time zone. The people who made those disastrous decisions at their respective networks that night mostly didn't get fired. They're mostly still there.
In the early afternoon of Election Day four years ago, conservative pundits all over the internet were thoroughly panicked. They were buying into the mainstream media's exit polling and general meme of "It's Kerry!"
They, and the mainstream media, had completely failed to anticipate the record-shattering rank-and-file turnout of traditional conservatives, and of independents and moderates who were persuaded that Kerry was too far to the left to be entrusted with the reins of government during wartime.
As I wrote that evening, my hero of that day was Hugh Hewitt, whose calm reassurance was a sharp contrast to the hysteria at places like NRO's The Corner.
The GOP base was dispirited in the 2006 congressional elections. Now, victory is in sight in Iraq, and our ticket is headed by the GOP leader from the Senate who has most steadfastly supported that victory. The economy is more troubled, but we know better than to seek the sort of remedies — higher taxes, more government programs — that the Democrats always prescribe. And in Sarah Palin, we have a candidate on our ticket who's emblematic of the 21st Century conservatism we'll need going forward — one which may leave the George Wills and Peggy Noonans and David Brookses perplexed, but which energizes common-sense middle-Americans like no Republican politician since Ronald Reagan. The 2006 results, in this context, mean nothing.
This year, however, the mainstream media is at least 10 times as skewed toward Obama as they were for Kerry in 2004 or Gore in 2000. And all of their models are based on assumptions — foremost among them that young voters and newly registered voters who have no history of actually voting will nevertheless break decisively, overwhelmingly, for one side only. They will cling to those assumptions until the bitter end because they fit with their own profound subjective desires. The mainstream media therefore won't begin to report races as even being "close" until the McCain-Palin ticket has a substantial lead.
I would be stunned if the mainstream media maintain anything remotely approximating objectivity tomorrow. And remember, even sources like Fox News that are trying to be report what's happening in an honest fashion are largely going to be confined to the same raw data sources and spin doctors as the other networks — garbage in, garbage out.
I am not pessimistic. Nor am I filled with a false and foolish confidence, because my team are the underdogs — what an utter non-surprise that is! Every plausible scenario for a McCain-Palin victory this year has included a gut-wrenching Election Day. One day out, we are fortunate indeed that this is by no means a lost cause, and that our side has a real fighting chance.
And right now, in fact, my predominate feeling is of curiosity: I'm intensely curious to see whether the American public will demonstrate again that profound seriousness of purpose it demonstrated in 2004, or whether too many of its members will be seduced by visions of hopey-changitude.
Pay no mind to exit polls, nor to any press coverage until the polls are closed in at least all of the continental 48 states. Most important of all: Wherever you live, treat your own vote as if it might decide the election.
I'll be posting here during the day and into the evening, as, I'm sure, will be Hugh. But after you've voted, and after you've done your best to help get out the vote for your team, don't be reluctant to just turn off the TV news and walk away from the computer for a few hours tomorrow. In fact, it might be a great night for dinner out, a movie, or a good book.
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