It's time once again to watch an untold number of people who I wouldn't trust to sit the right way up on a chair make decisions as to how to screw up the lives of me and my friends. Today the Americans voted, Obama has been miles ahead in the polls though the media still insists it couldn't be closer, and we will see tonight if a major upset has been pulled off.
You may notice that I am slightly less enthusiastic about this than four years ago - back then, the result felt like something big, a new era (and it still remains a wonderful cultural achievement). Since then, however, I've lost much faith that this decision actually makes a whole lot of difference, mostly because my post-election expectations were too optimistic. Social change is in reality a painful, drawn-out process during which I've seen a lot of active revulsion towards the type of culture in which I used to live, and multiple false starts and reversals of social evolution along the way. And it's inescapable - for what seems like the last three hundred millennia we've been bombarded with each side slinging negative campaign adverts at each other that are edited specifically for an audience gullible to the point of braindeadness, pandering to a disturbingly simplistic and hateful black and white culture.
With that in mind, let's get this over with - my only real hope is that it ends within the next twelve days.20:05
I always forget how astonishingly useless the early results are. A couple of states are coloured in that include no surprises, and then the news channels keep cycling around saying that one candidate is 60% ahead but only about twelve votes have been counted. At least many of the critical states are close to the east coast, increasing the possibility that I can just forget about this and go to bed quite soon.20:20
Still no real news, but I wanted to note that the BBC appear to be presenting the election from the holodeck
this year. I admit this is something that I sort of love about elections - it makes every network pit the full force of their graphics designers against each other in producing this newscasting end-of-series special.
I'm surprised David Dimbleby is doing it - I didn't think that there would be another election marathon left in him.20:32
Everyone's got their eye on Florida (29) at the moment - it keeps going back and forth as more votes are counted. Losing this wouldn't absolutely destroy Romney's chances, but only in the same way that being run over by a Parcel Force van wouldn't absolutely
destroy a hedgehog.
I was looking forward to watching the results coming in on Electoral Vote
, a purely data-driven site that I trust, but he's just put a note up saying "The servers are totally overloaded. This may not work. I'm trying but not hopeful."
You know what? I'd love watching this if both parties were remotely sane.21:00
While Whitney chooses the newscaster to listen to on the strength of their hotness, a new hour marks the beginning of some more unsurprising results coming in. This is mostly the equivalent of the rubbish blue eastern states at the moment, with a red wall full of tiny amounts of electoral votes. A couple of more populous states like New York (29) have been declared as blue, though, and we can never forget about brave New Mexico (5) down there in a blood-red sea.21:05
How is it possible that it's this difficult to cast a vote in this country, anyway? You'd think they would be prepared for an election by now - in between the news people telling us that they can't yet tell us anything, they're talking about how ballot machines have dodgy touchscreens and they're running out of paper ballots. And the swing states still have people waiting outside to vote, with the races in at least five of them still too close to make any guess whatsoever.
I'm already beginning to fear that this election will be another 2000, with recounts going on for weeks and it eventually being decided not by voters but by lawyers.21:20ish
This has been like watching the world's most boring trainwreck - I'm practically comatose but time is still flying past somehow and I just can't look away from it. Pennsylvania's just gone to Obama - this isn't one of the absolutely vital states for Romney, but it was one that was predicted as only barely democratic
, so it might be a sign of more blue to come.
Florida (29) is still blue by the skin of its embarrassingly phallic shape, and Ohio (18) is also blue by a rather safer margin.
One of the two big certainties has been officially called so far - Texas (38) has been coloured, but California (55) hasn't. If we pre-emptively include that in the running total, Obama is over 200 now.21:40
Wisconsin (10) has been predicted as going to Obama as well now - I still don't understand why some states can be declared instantly despite only 2% of precincts reporting and with the other candidate 4000 votes ahead. Nevertheless, that's another little uncertainty becoming a little more certain.21:42
Oh, Elizabeth Warren's just won the Senate seat here in Massachusetts. That's a rather nice surprise, her beating the incumbent pickup-truck-driving smeghead Scott Brown, even though her adverts were the marginally more annoying ones.22:00
Wow, it's been another hour already. No real new results at all. Everything's too close to call. This is like staying up hitting F5 on my exam results page all weekend even though I knew they wouldn't come out until Monday.22:18
So from where we stand now (on the BBC), Obama needs 113 more electoral votes to win. Certainties still not counted on their map are California (55), Oregon (7), Washington (12), New Mexico (5) and Wisconsin (10) - cumulatively 89. So 25 more have to come from somewhere - Florida (29) would do it instantly, but getting Ohio (18) or Virginia (13) would also more than likely be enough to block all possible Romney paths.
The trouble is that we won't know about any of those for about five days yet.22:30
Just been interrupted by an advert for Colon Flow, reminding me that there are problems with this country that nobody can hope to fix.22:44
A very nice, dignified concession speech from Scott Brown just now, to a soundtrack of absolutely shocking behaviour from his audience. At the moment they're chanting "Go, Scott, go" - a sentiment that I wholeheartedly agree with.
I haven't mentioned much but the presidential race so far - the Senate is looking surprisingly democratic at the moment, with a couple of seats being picked up that I didn't expect.
And it's looking quite like Romney will be ahead in the popular vote by a fair margin (though this is still with no western states reporting). Goodness knows I'm not staying up all night - we'll find out whenever it's all over.23:00
The expected blue boost as the west coast closes - Obama is on about 250 now. No surprises, nothing worthwhile talking about. Count faster, you lot in Florida!A moment later
Oh, Iowa's been called for Obama now. That's only six electoral votes, but every little helps.23:12
It's all over - Ohio's gone to Obama as well and that really does put him up over the edge. According to "projections". How does this even work. That's it, I'm going to bed - bye.