Friday, October 31, 2008

I'm Afraid

I'm willing to admit it - I'm scared of Tuesday, no matter which way the vote goes. And an article in the Pinko Times (New York Times to you Socialists who don't know its "real" name) supports my biggest fear.

In a poll of over 1300 registered voters, the numbers in terms of candidate support were about the same as most other polls (except the one posited by Bill O'Reilly, which, to be fair, has a margin of error of 101%), showing Obama with a solid lead. Those, however, are not the numbers that give me some concern about what will happen not Tuesday, but rather Wednesday:

The survey found that opinions of Mr. Obama and Mr. McCain had hardened considerably, as 9 out of 10 voters who said they had settled on a candidate said their minds were made up, and a growing number of them called it “extremely important” that their candidate win the election. Roughly half of each candidate’s supporters said they were “scared” of what the other candidate would do if elected. Just 4 percent of voters were undecided, and when they were pressed to say whom they leaned toward, the shape of the race remained essentially the same.

These are the numbers that are starting to frighten me. A growing number on both sides feel it's "extremely important" that their guy win. Everyone involved here feels that nothing less than the very future of America is at stake on Tuesday. And even if Senator Obama wins by the forecasted ten percent - a pretty substantial margin of victory - that still means that approximately 2 out of 5 people in America will likely, according to this poll, be not only disappointed, but "scared" - and possibly very, very angry.

I am concerned at this point that no matter which direction the election goes, there could be a substantial number of violent incidents during and immediately following the outcome. Perhaps never before has the country been so polarized and so deathly afraid (on both sides) of the "other guy" winning.

But there's another more sinister factor: race. Let's remove our PC rose colored glasses for a moment and be honest. If Obama wins, there is a not insubstantial percentage of the white electorate that will be despondent, terrified - and possibly violently so. If McCain pulls off the upset, I will go on record as saying it is my view that many African Americans will feel this is the ultimate outrage and paradigm of White America stealing just one more thing from the Black community - but this time, possibly the most important thing in the world. And I think many of them will feel this is their own personal breaking point.

Am I predicting race riots, a replay of Watts or Rosewood depending on the outcome? No, I don't think so. But do I see this election cycle passing without incident? No. I think we've come very far as a country. However, considering what's at stake on Tuesday, I think that no matter the outcome, some Americans of one color are going to feel the country has been hijacked by Americans of another color... and I think it is naive in the extreme to believe they will take that news absolutely peacefully.

I hope I am wrong and underestimate the American electorate. Something tells me I am not.


Warm Apple Pie said...

You definitely are overestimating Obama's margin of victory. Not a single credible poll shows double-digits anymore. However, yesterday's tracking show another uptick for Obama and his is in the 5 to 8 point range.

Really comes down to electoral math and it ain't on McCain's side right now, contrary to the Pollyannaish boasts of the excrementous Dick Morris.

I'm really invested in this election. I feel it dozing in bed. I'm all in with Obama and it will be a crushing blow if he's defeated.

If he wins, I'll act like I've been there before - except when it comes to certain fatuous hyper-con pundits like Hannity, Fat Morris, Coulter, all of Town Hall, even Dennis Miller.

Is there a bigger pussy in the pseudo-political world than Dennis Miller. A hell-bent liberal sees 9-11, tucks tail and runs for shelter up Bush's ass.

The brave versus the timid. Some see danger and solidify their views. Others curl up in the fetal position and suckle on Cheney's teet.

Pat Bateman said...

I think if you are right, WAP, then my fear is even more justified. The closer the race (with either side winning), the more anger, bitterness and suspicion will be cast around by the losers. If Obama wins by 12% I would be far more comforted about the potential for violence than if he wins by 2%.

damn sam said...

i think you overestimate the possibility of violence, or at least how ubiquitous it would be, following the election. yes, people are invested in the election. that's largely because for the first time in many presidential elections voters are inspired (okay, mainly obama supporters, but still) and the result of believing in your candidate rather than simply voting for the lesser of two evils is you care about your candidate winning. it's like watching your favorite football team play it's archrival, as opposed to watching any other sunday football game to see how it affects your fantasy league.

however, to equate being invested in your candidate with the probable outbreaks of riots and violence is a bit overdramatic. is it possible? sure, most likely in isolate incidents. no need to go alerting the national guard just yet, though.

Warm Apple Pie said...

He needs to win with a large enough electoral and popular margin to keep the gathering lawyers at bay. He needs to take enough battleground states to render the focus on an individual state moot.

4%, 5% would be enough nationally. It's all academic if Obama wins Virginia and PA and either Ohio or Florida.

Pat Bateman said...

No, Sam, clearly like I said - I don't see this collapsing into a race war nationwide. But I think there is a LOT invested on both sides of this, and no matter the outcome, it's going to be different than any other national election has ever been because no other race has ever pitted two men of different race against each other in this country. Agaain, I hope I'm wrong. We shall see.

mkits said...

There was also a lot at stake in 2000, when Gore and Bush "tied." There was no violence then (or at least none that I can recall at the moment, and certainly not widespread). Obviously, that election lacked the racial component that is in play here. However, I think it is still instructive to recall that a potential constitutional crisis passed without violence (however you ultimately felt about the final outcome) just 8 years ago. Obama is going to win in a walk. I also think asking someone if they are "scared" of the other guy winning is a loaded question -- everyone says they are "scared" -- but no one does anything about it. Take, for example, the amount of vitriol GOPers had for Clinton. That guy was their Anti-Christ. 1996 didn't bring any violence. The flipside is Bush for liberals -- and no violence in 2004. Again, I recognize the lack of the racial component...but I'm pretty dubious on a violent reaction.

Jack Knowledge said...

It's my well-informed, and, dare I say, totally right opinion that race is a non-factor in this equation. I agree, given the intense polarization of the electorate, however, that violence is a real possibility.

This election has the lowest number of undecided voters in recent memory (despite that ridiculous poll today showing 14% remain undecided, when every other poll is showing roughly 4-7%), and the decideds feel extremely strongly about their candidate, and, as you point out Pat, "scared" of the other guy.

But violence will not be widespread, in the nature of a race-riot, or in the nature of widespread, de-stabilizing anti-result protest violence. That is the beauty of our system. The potential for violence, given the polarization, is strong for individual reprisals. Should the election be closer than predicted, and it likely will be, the guy wearing the shirt/hat/pin of the victor on the 5th may indeed find himself in hot water with the supporters of the loser. If you have a sign in your window, or your lawn, on your car, on on your person, regardless of your affiliation, I wouldn't recommend keeping it on the 5th....

Pat Bateman said...

I don't want to make it appear that a) this election trumps every other election in terms of historical significance (even though it does) or b) race is a be-all, end-all game-changer here where it never was before (say, in 2000). I just think with so much at stake PERSONALLY to these people on both sides of the aisle, the potential for a spark to turn into a conflagration has never been closer at hand in American political history.