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So what happened? How did Barack Obama win?

Several weeks ago, some Americans made broad pronouncements that Barack Obama had lost the election. He was desperate. It was over. I stated that the widely available facts did not support this conclusion; that Barack Obama was going to lose, nor that he was in trouble. There are any number of blogs and websites for tracking polls and giving us, the voters, real time information. By far, the best and most accurate was Nate Silver’s 538 blog, which is now part of the New York Times. Nate Silver is part of the New York Times, not because he is a liberal, but because he has developed a model that is extremely accurate. He has the ability to take an individual poll, compare it to historical values and then weigh the poll accordingly. I have known about and followed Nate Silver since 2006 or 2007. All I can tell you is that he is a geek who knows that he is extremely smart and he understands that his reputation is on the line every time he makes a prediction.

As we learned in 2000, in the United States with the current configuration of its electoral college (which should be abolished, but I’ll save that discussion for another day), the popular vote doesn’t matter. If you want win the White House, you have to figure out how to win the electoral college. Early in this race, every thoughtful pundit knew that there were simply a handful of states that mattered. I’m not arguing whether that is right or wrong. I am stating this as a fact. Large states like Texas, Alaska, California and New York simply don’t matter. No amount of money that Barack Obama would spend in Texas was going to switch Texas to a Democratic state. On the other hand, there’s no amount of money that Mitt Romney could spend in California or New York that would turn either to a red Republican state. So, we knew the contest came down to swing states. These are states that have an unusual population. They have a balance of big cities and rural areas. Rural areas tend to go Republican. Large metropolitan areas with diverse populations tend to vote Democratic. There are only a few states that have the right mix – Florida, Colorado, Iowa, Wisconsin, Ohio, New Hampshire, Pennsylvania, Virginia, North Carolina and Florida. The presidential election came down to these states.

The other thing that we have to factor into the equation is the fact that Barack Obama had more electoral votes in his pocket at the beginning of Tuesday than did Mitt Romney. Mitt Romney started with 180 electoral votes. Barack Obama start off with 186. These were states that were clearly in the bag. These were states that everyone knew the back in December how they were going to vote. Then, over the next several months, Arizona and North Carolina broke for Mitt Romney, giving him an additional 26 electoral votes. At the same time, Michigan, Minnesota, New Mexico, Nevada and Pennsylvania broke for the president. This gave the president an extra 57 electoral votes. So early Tuesday morning, before any of the polls opened, Barack Obama had 243 electoral votes in his pocket. Mitt Romney had 206. Mitt Romney had to come up with 64 electoral votes and Barack Obama had only come up with 27. While some people were freaking out over this state or that state the contest really came down to Colorado, Florida, Iowa, New Hampshire, Ohio, Virginia and Wisconsin – 89 electoral votes. Mitt Romney basically had to run the table.

Mitt Romney and his campaign staff decided that they could win the election if they could manage to win white males by a landslide. That didn’t happen. Barack Obama won the youth vote. Barack Obama won the Latino vote, the Black vote and won 42% of white women. Barack Obama also won the majority the Jewish vote in states like Florida. Barack Obama won the majority of Americans making under a hundred thousand dollars a year. This broad coalition of minorities, women and the non-rich equals victory.

Barack Obama put together a winning coalition. Mitt Romney decided he did not need a coalition. He could win the United States by alienating everybody and embracing white men. Thankfully, in 2012, that’s not a winning strategy.

By |2012-11-08T22:31:51-04:00November 8th, 2012|Elections|Comments Off on So what happened? How did Barack Obama win?

Conservatives Cry Foul Over ABC Infomercial

An editorial from Friday’s Investor’s Business Daily states that, “ABC crosses the line from journalism to advocacy in turning its coverage of health care over to the White House.”  The Drudge Report chimes in my noting that ABC has “ignited an ethical firestorm.”  Hot Air ain’t happy either. Really?  I think that these folks are missing the point.

Merriam-Webster defines journalism as “an academic study concerned with the collection and editing of news or the management of a news medium.”  ABC, NBC, CBS and Fox News, with just a few exceptions, haven’t presented the American people with objective news in over 10 years. If a real journalist showed up to any of those news outlets, they would be quickly shown the door.  News outlets in 2009 produce infotainment.  In days gone by, we used to get experts who were interviewed by news anchors and they would explain to us why a certain topic was important and put it in context.  Those days are long gone.  Now we get pundits.  Normally, will get one pundit but sometimes, if we’re lucky, there’ll be two.  The pundits will look at a particular topic and break it down into the conservative view and the liberal view, as if those were the only two ways to look at whatever the topic is.

Our major news outlets are now owned by major companies.  These corporations are all about making profit and billions of dollars are at stake. I’m not sure what the profit is in providing infotainment but it seems to be paying very well.

NBC’s Brian Williams was the first major news anchor to move into the White House.  I did not see the special.  I wasn’t all that interested.  When Charlie Gibson of ABC news begins broadcasting from the White House, I suspect that I will miss this also.  Maybe I’m different but I’m not looking for infotainment.  I’m looking for solid information.  I’m looking for facts.  I’m looking for experts to put these facts into context.  I’m not going to find this type of thoughtful analysis on any of the major networks.  If it happens, it’s by accident.  Instead, I, like most Americans, need to quench my thirst for information from somewhere else.  Mainstream media is not the oasis in the desert.  The mainstream media is the desert.

I’m not sure how to fix this problem.  I know that Jon Stewart pointed out this problem many years ago (see the video below).  The mainstream media has lost its ability to provide objective information, whether it is the war in Iraq, healthcare reform or the economy.  Maybe news organizations should not be owned by major corporations?  Maybe they lose their objectivity being housed inside a large money-making factory.  I don’t know.  All I know is our media needs to do better.

By |2009-06-22T21:12:51-04:00June 22nd, 2009|Domestic Issues, Media, The Daily Show|Comments Off on Conservatives Cry Foul Over ABC Infomercial

The Daily Show: Journalist Exchange Program

We have all heard about embedded journalists. On Sunday, the New York Times reported that many of the military experts that we saw on our TV’s during the run-up to the Iraq War were in fact on the Pentagon’s payroll or on the payroll of a major defense contractor. This is not surprising from an administration that gave us Jeff Gannon and paid that “pundit” (Armstrong Williams) to say great things about No Child Left Behind.

Jon Stewart does a great job wrapping this one up. Enjoy.

Update: Please note the comment by Jeff Gannon. In an attempt not to slander Mr. Gannon, I would point readers to this Salon article.

By |2008-04-23T23:02:29-04:00April 23rd, 2008|Bush Administration, Iraq, The Daily Show|1 Comment
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