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I'll be staying up to watch the results. I love elections and this one has been electrifying, not to mention momentous.

 

I've found it fascinating as much as anything for its insight into the American people - or a large number of them, anyway. My perceptions of slices of American life have altered quite a bit over recent years. I've always been amazed by their remarkable faith in the gun (frequently in extremely vocal Christians who seem to be a little selective in the messages they take from the Bible), but surprising differences really seem to have been emerging lately.

 

Most prominently would be the rabid fear of 'socialism', a slur with which Obama has been tarred. They appear to think it's communism and still look for reds under the bed. This just seems bizarre and intriguingly these same people cheer on Sarah Palin who proudly proclaimed the initiatives in Alaska that mean many of the state's resources are now owned by the people.

 

*ahht-communist-ishoo*

 

The idea that sitting down with your enemies to talk is somehow surrendering is staggering and it's difficult to imagine the national arrogance behind the notion that the other side has to give up x, y or z before you'll even discuss something with them. Frankly it's downright scary and I hope the results demonstrate that actually most Americans don't think this is a constructive way to behave in the world any more.

 

The country badly needs a change and I can only hope the polls are right. I hope this will be a deeply historic night and in the best American tradition I've bought in some beer and dangerously salty snacks to see me into the wee small hours.

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Like David, I'm also an election junkie, especially of US elections given my academic background as an American Studies student.

 

This is undoubtedly going to be an historic election as it is likely to see a black man being sent to the White House. The impact of that, less than 50 years after the civil rights movement, cannot be underestimated, and the fact that turnout is predicted to be higher than for some time is also encouraging. It means Americans are engaged by their politics again - turnouts have been falling since the 1960s. Obama, combined with 8 years of the neocon nightmare, has a lot to do with that.

 

The selection of Sarah Palin has also made this the most entertaining presidential election since Dan Quayle was on the Republican ticket in 1988 - remember his efforts to spell the word potato?

 

However, I do think Obama's margin of victory is likely to be narrower than is being suggested by the polls. His core constituency is among the young and ethnic minorities. History suggests that they may say that they're going to vote a certain way but they then do not go to the polls. Voting is much more of a rigmarole in the US than the UK, with many votes to be cast using a complex ballot paper or a voting machine. The queues shown on TV news over the past few days will also put busy people off.

 

I would also caution against people getting their hopes up that the election of Obama will mean a sea change in US policy. He's made some very hawkish pronouncements regarding his plans for the Middle East and Afghanistan. The new President is also going to inherit an economy in recession and be hamstrung by the huge levels of deficit spending Dubya and his cronies have indulged in over the past 8 years to support their warmongering. Unlike Franklin Roosevelt after the 1929 crash, I don't think the new President will have the luxury of being able to spend his way out of recession.

 

Finally, as with many recent Presidents (Dubya, Clinton, Reagan), Obama has no experience on the world stage, and indeed little at the national political level, having only been in the US Senate for a term. Americans have a curious obsession with electing people who have little or no experience of Washington to the White House, apparently thinking they will be some kind of "new broom" sweeping all the corruption and waste away. Where they get this from, and why they think it is a positive I have no idea.

 

I may be underestimating Obama, but I believe it is always best to approach politcs sceptically. We'll see what happens in the next 4 years and let's face it, the new President, whoever he is, has got to be an improvement on his predecessor.

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The new President is also going to inherit an economy in recession and be hamstrung by the huge levels of deficit spending Dubya and his cronies have indulged in over the past 8 years to support their warmongering.

This is the thing. If Obama wins I think there will be a period which feels like re-birth but it will be short-lived. The world is just entering recession that's going to endure for at least a year and probably a while longer. Life is going to be tough and there will be no answer to that from Obama. It's just going to have to be toughed-out. The real test will be the state of play two years from now.

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Despite having just moved from the UK to Australia, I'm also an American citizen. My state is coloured on maps as likely to go to McCain.

 

I supported Obama at the Democrats Abroad primary and am sure he'll win but like you, Grammath, I suspect it won't be quite the landslide people are talking about. I had been a little concerned that people would think he's a sure thing and not vote. Fortunately, early reports of voter turnout suggest this is not the case.

 

My hot tip ;) : People are talking about Ohio because the winner probably will take it but I think Virginia (prob McCain but by how much?) and Pennsylvania (prob Obama - but by how much?)are well worth looking at early on (these three states are all east coast where polling ends earliest). And Florida is very very interesting.

 

The problem is that exit polls are famously unreliable. I hope we know the result very soon (maybe three hours time or so?) but it could end up being a very late night. The west coast states don't close for hours yet.

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I think Virginia (prob McCain but by how much?) and Pennsylvania (prob Obama - but by how much?)are well worth looking at early on (these three states are all east coast where polling ends earliest).

Indeed. I don't plan on staying up the whole night so have been hoping Virginia in particular gives a clear sign of where it's heading.

 

Still, we shouldn't forget the legion of lawyers who've been dispatched by both sides across the States, ready to slap a suit on the first thing they can. It ain't over 'til the fat attorney sings. As you say, Kim, Florida could well be interesting - the Obama camp has sent 5,000 lawyers there alone.

 

And to think he's been accused of not being a true American!

 

;)

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Nothing of great moment yet (12.45 - obviously the BGO clock is nonsense). Unfortunately Jeremy Vine's been let loose with more graphics - this time pretending he has touch-screen control over a virtual projection on green-screen. Honestly, why bother?

 

Still, at least we've had no cringeworthy pantomime with CG political figures. On past form I half expected a Democrat win to be met with an Obama animation dancing in a cotton field and throwing off his shackles in favour of a stove-pipe hat.

 

Edit: Hmmmm, to be fair to Vine he just rested his hand on a ledge that wasn't there so maybe there's more hidden gubbins than I'd imagined. Still silly, though.

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Well, Ohio now called for Obama, though Virginia being a bit stubborn in showing its colours.

 

The writing's on the wall, though. Stick California on Obama's current 200 and he's as good as there. Predictions are that it could end up in landslide proportions, though in percentage share of the vote nationally it still looks very close!

 

Good enough for me, though, so I'll drain the last of the lager and call it a night. Big sigh of relief!

 

BBC coverage has been a bit poor, though, in comparison with usual standards (excepting Vine's glitzathon, which is always awful).

 

So, let's just run down the clock now to the time when Bush comes to shove.

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It's only afternoon here so I can watch for a while yet - no point trying to work today anyway.

 

Looking out for Florida.

 

I've been looking at old footage of McCain. He just looks like a man who's already missed his chance. Perhaps he should have won the Republican nomination back in 2000 instead of the Incubent Idiot. Not that I know McCain would have done better but he might have and he couldn't have done worse.

 

An interesting feature on CNN shows trouble in various electoral districts because the turnout is so unprecendented that they don't have time for all the queued people to vote before polling closes. Attempts to keep booths open longer have failed. If Obama were behind this could have been a real issue - there are some parts of Pennsylvania for instance where there's one booth per 220 electors in prrimarily white districts but only 1 per 400 in certain black areas.

 

Fortunately Obama will win anyway but CNN is calling this the 'dirty little secret' of US politics and i think they might be right.

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Actually McCain's doing a good job of this speech. Makes me wonder even more about what could have been in 2000, if we had to have a Republican.

 

I've supported Obama because I like his politics, I like that there are things he believes in and I think he's a man for the future. All of these things are not race related. All the same, I just realised there is a black man just been elected president of the USA and a shiver ran down my spine. Wow.

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So pleased you guys stayed up in the UK and kept a watch. I, on the other hand, got up just after you declared Obama President Stewart and watch through several news channels the different ways the news was presented and all the scenes coming in from across the States. Quite an historic night though however we spent it around the world.

 

Now the really interesting period begins - watching the change-over of power and how the 'new boy' handles this monumental world-wide situation. As one commentator said around 6.30 a.m. on one of the news channels, why anybody would want this job, at this time (to paraphrase Obama) is beyond me. My only hope is that he does not have a hidden agenda!

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Would never have attempted to stay up for this, but was quite pleased when my usual period of small-hours wakefulness with the World Service coincided with the BBC/CNN projections of a win for Obama.

I stayed with it until McCain had made his speech conceding the contest to Obama.

 

A gracious speech, I thought.

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