So it turns out I was all worked up about nothing, you guys. Barack Obama has been re-elected president, and the balance of power in Congress has remained fundamentally the same. Democrats picked up a couple of seats in the senate, but not enough to achieve the 60-vote supermajority that has become the threshold for overcoming inevitable Republican filibusters. But are those filibusters still inevitable? The GOP spent four years stymying the president at every turn; they held the nation’s credit rating hostage and generally wrecked a two-century tradition of comity in American government, and it didn’t work. So will Obama’s second term be any different?
I don’t know how it crept upon me, exactly, but I woke this morning gripped by election dread. Never mind that Barack Obama is going to win. Nate Silver now gives Romney a 13%-ish chance of winning the electoral college, and the spate of national polls that declare a tie in the popular vote are matched by the spate that read Obama-plus. Granted, it is baffling and unsettling that it remains that close. Romney turned in a tax plan everyone said was nonsensical, went to various sporting events and told fans what an owner he was, tied his dog to the roof of his car and made a video of himself promising to ignore half the country. Obama looked tired in a debate—tie! Evidently, the American people do not follow the news. Either that or polls don’t mean a damn thing, and anything could happen tomorrow.
Much has been made over the last few days of the Des Moines Register‘s endorsement of Mitt Romney. The Register‘s argument is two-pronged: first, they believe that Romney’s plan of lower taxes and decreased regulation is the best way to fix the economy. That’s obviously true; when businesses and rich people spend money, it goes into the economy, whereas when the government spends money it goes into a deficit. Low taxes and deregulation are known drivers of economic growth—that’s why we had a massive economic collapse when taxes and regulations were at their lowest. But forget that. The second, more important reason the Register endorsed Romney for president is that he is the better candidate to “forge compromise” in Congress. David Brooks made the same argument over at the Times, and he sounded just as nuts.
If Nate Silver is to be believed—and if he is not, pretty much all is lost—FiveThirtyEight blog is running 40,000 election simulations per day. In 50% of those simulations, the candidate who wins Ohio wins the presidency. Silver makes a compelling case that Romney needs Ohio to complete his (editorial opinion alert) baffling comeback; he can get to the White House by other routes, but each is more tortuous than the last. One major provider of electronic voting machines to Ohio is Hart Intercivic. One major investor in Hart Intercivic is HIG Capital, seven of whose directors are former employees of Bain & Co. Four of HIG’s directors are Romney bundlers, and the company has contributed over $300,000 to the Romney campaign.
Let’s say you lived in an exceptionally honest town where theft was almost unheard of. After years of almost zero larceny, the Honestburg Police Department announced that a massive crime wave had struck the city. Thieves were thick, according to the HPD, and so the cops went house to house confiscating stolen property. Occasionally they would take the television some old lady had for decades, but they returned it to her eventually and, besides, such mistakes are inevitable when battling a crime wave of this scale. So a question: does Honestburg have a theft problem now? On a completely unrelated note, the Ohio Voter Project filed a complaint with the Hamilton County Board of elections alleging that Theresa Sharp was fraudulently registered at the house where she has been living for 30 years.