Tuesday, November 6, 2012

The most boring election ever

I have avoided posting anything about the US election for all sorts of reasons. The two main candidates are both awful, the soundbytes are nauseating, the jingoism is unbearable. But mainly I haven't cared that much because this election has pretty much been a foregone conclusion for the last 18 months.
The Republicans spent all of 2011 and most of 2012 tearing strips off each other in the attempt to pick a candidate. They ended up with Romney who ended up taking most of the flak in the endless GOP debates. But given the opposition, especially Cain, Bachmann, Gingrich and Perry, that came as no surprise. On the other side you had a slew of big name Democrats clearly declaring they weren't even going to challenge Obama in the primaries.
So it should come as no surprise, as polling stations open in the US, that Obama is being given somewhere around an 80-85% chance of being re-elected. The crazies in the GOP be they Tea Partiers, Birthers, Religious Right, Creationists and what not have alienated many potential centre-right voters who will either stay at home or vote Obama.
The other key thing to note is the inherent bias in the electoral college system towards the Democrats. The winner takes all system provides a huge head start to Obama in guaranteeing him New York, California and Illinois of the big states (104 votes already) whereas apart from Texas (38 votes) all the guaranteed Red states are pretty small in electoral college votes. The New York Times has a great visualization of just how difficult it is for Romney to win even with 9 swing states in play.
So four more years of Obama. Well it's better than four years of Romney but then what wouldn't be better than a Romney presidency? I guess we can look forward to a few less wars, a few more rights for women and the gay community. But the US is still going to remain a very divided country both along the Red/Blue divide and the 1%/99% divide. Maybe in 2016 when we get a Hilary Clinton v Chris Christie or Marco Rubio contest we might actually have something to watch. Tonight I'll definitely be going to bed early.


  1. Looks like the "red states" get over 100 electoral college votes, based on my own estimation of squinting at a couple of maps of these things. Do you have a good reference for the electoral college favouring the Democrats? Because it seems to me there's a benefit to the Republicans when sparsely-populated states, which tend to be majority Republican, get more electors per capita.

    1. It's a bit of a mixture from what I've seen. States like New York (which has 5 fewer votes than it should) and California (-10) are heavily penalized, but the North-East states are currently fairly blue, and they get more votes than they should (e.g. Rhode Island gets 4 votes instead of 2). In a similar way on the "red" side, states like Georgia (-1) and Florida (-4) are offset by the flyovers which get more than they should.

      CGPGrey has a good video explaining how screwed up the system is (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7wC42HgLA4k).