Will we see a popular vote land-slide for Obama, but an electoral squeaker for McCain? Be prepared for it.
GOTV, Baby, GOTV!
FIRST THE BASIC PREMISE.
In today's Republican party we are abjectly not dealing with people of good faith, observant of and dedicated to fundamental American principles of democracy or republicanism.
We are dealing with people who care only about their own power; white, Judeo-Christian privilege and repression of all others; the unencumbered pursuit of excess material riches; and, for those cut from the Sarah Palin cloth, government enforcement and imposition of their particular brand of intolerant, repressive, misogynistic and violent Christianity.
They do not care how they attain and maintain their power. No governmental or legal principle or value matters to them at all. Democracy is a useful tool if it preserves their power; a vehicle for anti-American anarchy that must be repressed by any lawful or unlawful means if it threatens their power.
If there is any possible way, they will steal this election without shame or guilt. They will then govern as if they won by a massive popular wave wholeheartedly endorsing their vilest beliefs and giving them an irresistible mandate to govern from the hardest right wing positions.
THE SET UP
Americans are accustomed to the nature of the Presidential election system as indirect, creating the possibility that the candidate who wins the popular vote may still lose the election. This occurred in 2000 without Americans, even most Democrats, becoming too upset. The furor in 2000 was directed mainly at the way George Bush was awarded Florida's electoral votes without winning that state's popular vote, especially since his vote loss would have been much bigger absent the misleading butterfly ballot in Palm Beach County. But the national dichotomy did not much trouble us. It's our system after all.
This public docility and feigned Republican fidelity to the system is what the power structure on the radical right is counting on to steal this election.
But are we prepared for one candidate winning the popular vote by a wide margin, such as 5-7 million voted, but narrowly losing the electoral vote? Will we see the winner as truly legitimate? What if the pivotal state or two appear to have been "won" by questionable or even illegal voter suppression? What if it takes a Republican-biased court decision or two to take McCain over the top?
Now, I know that virtually every election professional and numbers cruncher tells us such a scenario is a virtual impossibility. The logistics are just such that anything over a five or six point popular advantage would inevitably lead to a large electoral victory. I believe that conclusion is drawn looking at old maps. Whatever else Barack Obama has done or will do, he is likely to significantly alter the electoral calculus.
Obama will hugely increase the turn out of African Americans and their already heavy lean toward the Democratic candidate, not only because he is African-American, but also because he represents hope for a different governing approach (however unrealistically) and because the shadow Republican racist response to Obama infuriates them. We also know that Obama is also bringing out many more young voters and more of them are looking Democratic than in a long time. The Republican xenophobic pandering on immigration is losing them Latino votes at a time when Latino and allied organizers are working extremely hard to increase that communities' turn out on election day. Even though Sara Palin may be lifting them, the Christian right, the Republicans' usual turn-out machine, is not as excited as in past elections (though a contrary possibility is explored below. Finally, Democrats generally are quite excited and will likely vote in big numbers.
The problem is that these advantages may not quite take Obama to victory in the expanded list of winnable Republican states. McCain's and the right's vicious and dirty attack barrage may motivate additional Republicans or suppress the vote of Republicans, independents and even some Democrats considering Obama.
Based on all of this, here is the scenario for an Obama popular landslide, but electoral loss, or a margin close enough in some key states to allow a combination of the Republican machinery and Federal Courts to heist the electoral margin for McCain. First, Obama wins the populous, traditionally Democratic states of California, New York, Illinois and Massachusetts by larger than usual margins, buoyed by Democratic enthusiasm, higher African American and youth turn-out, and especially in California, an expanded and more Democratic Latino vote. Next, he also wins smaller and/or less certain Democratic states, such as Wisconsin, Michigan, Oregon, Washington, Delaware, New Jersey, Connecticut and Maryland by expanded margins.