Nov 3, 02:47 PM: Election Day
In January of 2004, I was in Iowa just before the cacuses. I was volunteering as part of Howard Dean’s “Perfect Storm” operation. I knocked on doors in the town of Keokuk, IA, located right on the Missouri border. It was cold, dreary, and discouraging. For every Dean supporter we encountered, there were plenty of Gephardt or Kerry supporters, and countless more Republicans. In all, it was a fairly unorganized effort that ended in defeat at the caucuses.
Something was happening, though. You could see it, you could feel it. Young people from across the country had come, to knock on doors in the snow. People who had never volunteered before, people who had never donated before. A lot of us had never voted in a Presidential election before. Just before I went to Iowa, I voted for Governor Dean in Washington, D.C., in a symbolic “Presidential preference” election. Dean won.
After the loss in Iowa, and John Kerry’s nomination, a lot of people were disenchanted. The system was so broken, it seemed. No one with a message that was different than the status quo stood a chance. The only candidates who fared well were those who offered little more than the same thing. We had somehow gone from eight years of Clinton, to what seemed like an endless period of darkness. It was cold and dark in Iowa, and that’s how the rest of the country felt.
John Kerry, a patriot who served out country with valor, was discredited and openly mocked. There was little to no outrage. Some of the young people who were energized turned out in November, but there was no sea change. People, it seemed, resigned themselves to another four years of Bush. Perhaps it was inevitable, or perhaps people weren’t motivated enough. It was another year of voting against Bush.
The awakening that happened in 2004, though, wouldn’t be lost. When Howard Dean became the DNC chairman, he advocated for building a strong Democratic party in all 50 states. There should be no uncontested elections, there should always be a choice. It’s not about red or blue states, or red or blue districts. It’s about offering the Democratic alternative in each and every race in the United States. No one should be handed the title of Congressman, Senator or Governor simply because their “party” has historically won elections.
In 2006, things began to change. Democrats began to win races. In traditionally “red” states. Tester in Montana, Webb in Virginia, to name a few. The tide was turning, it seemed. The policies of the GOP had not been working, things were not getting any better, and people were growing tired of it. And now, it seemed, they were ready to do something about it.
What we’ve seen over nearly the last two years is nothing short of incredible. The Democratic party endured a grueling primary fight. Yet, at the end, the party was more unified than ever. When Barack Obama won the Iowa caucuses earlier this year, I knew something was happening. Something big. Where Dean had failed in 2004, Obama succeded. In doing so, a little bit of that hope that had been left behind all over Iowa was restored.
“Yes we can.” Three simple words, that now evoke tears in many people watching this election. We’ve seen too many leaders fail to lead, taking us only deeper into a darkness that has now surrounded everyone. Millions without health care, hundreds of thousands losing their jobs and their homes, troops continuing to fight without proper equipment and not receiving proper care when they return, homelessness, skyrocketing energy prices, global warming, the infrastructure collapsing, are just a few problems we are facing. Problems that those we entrust with leadership should have seen coming. Problems that those who lead us have simply run away from.
Not again. Yes we can. Yes we can solve these problems. Yes we can provide health care to every American who needs it. Yes we can take care of our veterans and make sure they are treated with the dignity and respect they deserve. Yes we can ensure that children are provided a world class education and the chance to go to college. Yes we can rebuild our national infrastructure, one that will be more efficient and less reliant on fossil fuels. Yes we can.
Millions across the country are standing in line right now to cast their vote for Barack Obama. Millions of people are not simply voting against John McCain, but for a vision of America that over the past eight years has been lost.
There has been, and perhaps always will be, talk of the decline and fall of the United States of America. That we have overspent ourselves, our reputation is too tarnished, our economy is in shambles… we will never rise again to be a great nation.
The only way we fail is if we lose hope. The only way this country will crumble will be if everyday Americans stop believing that things can be better. That tomorrow is a new day, and that just because today wasn’t so great, it won’t always be like that. The only way we fail is if we give up our dreams, choose fear over hope, and continue to remain lost in the darkness.
Today the American people will once again come together, and choose to vote for someone who understands the American dream. Someone who has lived it. Someone who believes with every fiber of their being that the sun will rise again tomorrow, and that no matter what the challenges may be, we can meet them.
Yes we can.
Nov 2, 09:20 PM: Election Prediction 2006
I’ll perhaps write a little more in depth tomorrow, but here’s my prediction:* 56 Democratic Senate seats * 41 Republican Senate seats * 269 Democratic House seats * 166 Republican House seats * 364 Obama Electoral Votes * 174 McCain Electoral Votes * 53.7 Obama Popular Vote Percentage * 45.1 McCain Popular Vote Percentage
We’ll see. I think he might get Ohio, but I’m not super optimistic.
Also, RIP Madelyn Dunham.
Oct 28, 09:01 PM: Quick update
I will be writing a big update prior to the election. In 2006, I wrote a post predicting the outcome of the midterm elections. I was fairly dead on with those, and I’ll be writing about my prediction for the presidential election.
Anyways, a thought I had… I think Obama began to finally hammer this home tonight in his 30 minute piece.
It’s not about the government taking over and doing things for people. It’s not about a bigger government that “takes care of you.” It’s never been about that. It’s about one thing, a very important thing.
Life is very hard. It’s never been easy, and no one ever said it would be. Today, just keeping a job and taking care of your kids and maybe saving a bit for retirement is very very difficult. Sending your kids to college is more difficult than it’s ever been. Costs are skyrocketing. It’s getting harder to even have health insurance.
It’s not about the government doing all of this for us. It’s about making it just a little bit easier. Times are hard right now, and people are having a very hard time just making ends meet. They don’t want the government to do it for them, but the government (or large corporations) shouldn’t make it harder. We all pay taxes. We all put this money in some big, invisible pot. There’s nothing wrong with using that pot to make things just a little bit easier for everyone. That’s not socialism, that’s not communism, that’s not capitalism—that’s community. That’s country. That’s what it means to take care of your fellow citizen when times are hard.
So let’s make paying for health care just a little bit easier. Let’s make affording college just a little easier. Let’s make saving for retirement just a little easier. No one is saying you can’t do it for yourself. No one is saying we’re going to take your money away and say you have to do it this way, or that way. No, that’s not what it’s about. It’s about taking just a little bit of that burden off your shoulders. It’s about making your life just a little bit easier so that in turn, we are all better off. That’s what defines us as a country, that when times are hard we stick together and we have each other’s back.
I’m voting for Barack Obama because I sincerely believe that he has my back. That he will look out for not just people like me, but everyone. That he will work to make all of our lives just a little bit easier. That if we go to work everyday, that if we pay our bills, that if we are responsible with our finances… we can do better. We can all do better.
Sep 7, 02:12 PM: Weekend Roundup
So DC survived Hanna, with some moderate-to-serious flooding in the suburbs in Fairfax County. Otherwise it wasn’t anywhere near as bad as Hurricane Isabel back in ‘03, so that’s good. An Isabel-sized storm could always happen again, though, so hopefully having TS Hanna come through at least gave the government some practice in responding. Maybe.
Election Watch 2008 is still on, and McCain is enjoying a bit of a post-convention bounce. The Gallup/USA Today poll that puts McCain-Palin up by 10 points is crap, it’s clearly an outlier. The other post-convention polls pretty much put it at a dead heat (nationwide, likely voters).
However, we have to remember these polls mean little or nothing. Not only is the election still two months away, but national polls don’t measure a whole lot when it comes down to the votes that count, and that’s the Electoral College. Check out FiveThirtyEight.com for an amazingly intricate look at state-by-state data and EV projections. Some of you might remember electoral-vote.com from previous elections… 538 seems to be much more in-depth.
Sep 1, 03:40 PM: Election '08
The last time I wrote about politics on this site was prior to the 2006 midterm elections. Not to toot my own horn or anything, but I was pretty on the dot about how the Senate and House would end up.
Since then, aside from the year-long hiatus, I had avoided the topic of politics. At the time, I felt like I had nothing to contribute, given the vast numbers of “professional” political bloggers out there.
Lately, though, I’ve been rethinking this. For one, while I am not a “professional,” I have been blogging about politics for nearly eight years. In various capacities I have covered political stories, whether as a blogger, for my old high school radio station, or for my college newspaper.
These credentials are often more than any “pro” blogger has, aside from the fact that they get paid to write about politics. Also, I’m interested in politics, and really that’s the only qualification anyone should ever need to write about the subject.
So I’m going to get back on track here, and write more about the 2008 election. We’ll see where I go with it, but it should be fun.