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2008 Election Liveblogging

Oh, why not?  All the cool kids are doing it. 

Since I’m lame and go to bed early and can’t attend any parties, I’m going to celebrate here with you and  I’ll be checking the results there all night until I turn in, and updating this post regularly with my thoughts and commentary.  Be sure to check back periodically for updates, or tomorrow morning for my thoughts on the results.

5:44 pm CST: First exit polls out.  The economy is the most important issue.  Um… Surprise?  No, no, we want to know who you voted for, folks!  I’m also curious about the massive Republican vote suppression effort that was planned.  Did it happen?  I was supposed to do voter protection today, but due to an extremely frustratingly uncoordinated Obama campaign (more on that in a later post) I wasn’t given an assignment.  Some friends did get to do it, so I’m anxious to hear how many challenges there were.

6:42 pm CST: I like how CNN calls Vermont for Obama with zero percent of precincts reporting.  Classy.  I’ve decided there’s no way I can handle watching the live video.  If I thought CNN itself could be annoying, these guys are total amateurs.  Just refreshing the results on the website is much better.

7:01 pm CST: CNN is being a little sloppy.  They’ve got blues and reds around the map but haven’t updated Obama’s electoral count, just McCain.  Tennessee, South Carolina, Kentucky, Oklahoma going red – no big surprises.  Illinois, Maryland, New Jersey, and miscellaneous New England states blue, also not so shocking.  I have to wonder, if they’re going to call so many with no precincts reporting, why even wait for polls to close to call it?  There’s really no point.  And also, with Florida for example having something like 37% voting early or absentee and Iowa in the forties, what do tonight’s results really mean?  They’d better count the early votes, because they could actually decide it in some states.

7:31 pm CST: This isn’t very exciting.  I’m considering watching the West Wing (just got the entire series from Amazon) while I wait.

7:41 pm CST: CNN’s called PA for Obama.  That’s a big one.  Obama’s slightly ahead so far in NC but only 13% reporting.  McCain’s ahead by about the same amount in VA and nearly half precincts reporting.  Indiana also nearly half reporting, McCain just slightly ahead.  Florida same situation and Obama slightly ahead.  Getting interesting now.  I think it’s kind of funny that NC might go blue and VA red, though we do have a lot of liberals in the cities.  I suspect youth turn-out is particularly important with all the universities.  Why oh why did I switch my registration?  Didn’t get to caucus and IA isn’t even a swing state anymore!  My personal election experiences have so far all been bad.  Anyway, the numbers I’m really curious about are Measure 11 and Prop 8, and of course I probably won’t see the latter before bedtime.  Think it’s time for that West Wing to soothe the nerves since I’m too tired for wine.

8:22 pm CST: Well, the West Wing is still brilliant.  As for the election, Virginia’s narrowed to a one-percent margin.  Do they have early voting?  NC has also narrowed to four percent, though.  It looks like Democrats are picking up at least four new Senate seats and Republicans none so far.  Hagan’s got ten percent on Dole, and I am thrilled about that.  I can’t imagine a Democratic woman in Jesse’s seat.  Never thought I’d live to see the day.  Perdue’s ahead in North Carolina, though CNN’s not calling it yet.  I’d love to see her as governor.  The bad news is that it looks like Florida’s gonna ban gay marriage.  Measure 11 is No by 10% right now, but too few precincts reporting to know anything.

9:05 pm CST: Officially blogging from my warm cosy bed now.  NC and VA are the states I’m really watching.  VA has just crept up to Obama ahead 50 to 49 and NC has narrowed to the same 50 to 49.  I have a feeling those are going to have to count absentees and we won’t know for a few days.  Obama’s still ahead by 3% in Florida.  If CNN’s right on some of the ones they called quickly though, he won’t even need the swing states.  They’ve given him 206 electoral votes already, McCain 89.  They’ve called Ohio for Obama, incidentally.  Mom says the actual television CNN is predicting a big lead for Obama in Iowa.  Definitely looks like Hagan’s in, though Perdue’s lead is narrowing.  Measure 11 No still ahead by 10%, and Florida abortion ban still pretty likely to pass.  I’m getting rather weary, so probably to bed in half an hour for me and you’ll hear from me again in the morning.

9:37 pm CST: Last update from me for the evening.  I’m feeling good.  It looks like Obama’s won it, and it looks like we’re going to do well in the House and Senate as well.  Unfortunately, there’s no way of knowing about the one I’m most interested in (Prop 8), but we’ll see tomorrow.  CNN has called 54 Democratic seats for the Senate, which is fabulous news.  Obama’s up by two percent in VA right now and down by one in NC.  Come on, home state!  You can do it!  Obama ahead by two percent in Florida, McCain by one in Indiana.  Dead even in Missouri but less than fifty percent reporting.  I’m glad the anxiety’s going to be over soon.  I need my beauty rest!

Happy Election to all, and to all a good night.

6:28 am CST: So I should be happy, right?  Obama won by a landslide.  But he pretty much won the states he was expected to, with NC apparently still too close to call.  And there are other good things.  It looks like we picked up about seven seats in the Senate and about eighteen in the house.  Perdue’s the governor and Hagan beat out Libby Dole.  The Democrats won for House and Senate here by a landslide.  South Dakota defeated Measure 11 by ten percent, which I admit is pretty awesome, and California also said no to abortion limits. 73% of Coloradoans said that life does not begin at conception.  But folks, I cannot celebrate.  Because it breaks my heart that Californians have banned gay marriage, as have Arizonans and Floridians, and that Arkansas has banned gay adoption.  This election gave me a moment of hope, but that hope is extinguished.  We really are second-class citizens, aren’t we?  I’m not sure I believe that’s ever going to change.  It may get worse.  It’s hard for me to be proud to be an American, when American isn’t proud of me.

Election Predictions

ETA: Correct predictions in blue, incorrect in red

Since I absolutely cannot work from the excitement, here are some predictions just for fun:


  • Obama wins 60% of the popular vote
  • Obama wins Iowa
  • Obama loses North Carolina


  • Bev Perdue wins in North Carolina (please?)


  • Elizabeth Dole wins in North Carolina (I hope not)
  • Harkin wins in Iowa
  • Democrats gain ten additional Senate seats


  • Loebsack wins in Iowa
  • Democrats gain twenty additional House seats

Ballot Measures

  • Proposition 8 passes
  • Measure 11 does not pass
  • Proposition 102 passes
  • Amendment 2 passes

Obviously, on some of those I’m hoping to be proven wrong, but we’ll see.  Maybe in 2012 I’ll actually do some real looking at House and Senate races and poll numbers, but this is just off the top of my head.  Tonight, after I hopefully do some work, I’m going to crack open a bottle of Palin wine and do some celebrating on my own, assuming there are results before I go to bed at nine.  Anyone have exciting election plans?

My Final Thoughts on this Election Year

A lot of bloggers have been inspired this election.  You’ve posted your critical thoughts throughout the campaign, and you’ve rallied friends and family to support Mr. Obama with phone calls, canvassing, and rides for elderly or disabled voters.  In the closing moments of the campaign, you’ve been brought to tears of joy and feelings of profound hope.  For me, that wasn’t this campaign.  Some of the things said in the primaries still stick with me.  Mr. Obama’s positions on some of my key issues are not strong enough, or are in actual disagreement with mine.  I don’t necessarily believe that I can trust him to stand up for my rights.  But you know what he has done?  He’s treated women and LGBT people with dignity and respect in this campaign.  That’s a crucial first step.  We didn’t get that from the last president, and we didn’t get that from the Republican candidate.  I may not be convinced that he’ll support my rights when the going gets tough, but he’s not going backward, and that’s absolutely crucial.

Furthermore, I can see that he’s a good man who ran a good campaign, and I can see what he represents for so many of you.  This is not my campaign, but it is yours.  Those of you who blogged about how Mr. Obama inspired your children nearly did bring tears to my eyes.  For millions of kids out there, this campaign is something much, much bigger.  It reminds them that there is someone – a really big someone – who judges them not by the hyphen in their identity but is proud of them as Americans, period.  I’m glad that your children have that person.  And you know what?  My candidate will come.  One day I’ll have my big moment – maybe I’ll be that sixty year old woman proudly making calls with my name written in marker on my phone at the campaign office when the first lesbian runs for President.  I’d like to believe that it’s possible.  Of course, I may not be a citizen by then, but you never know.  My point is, I’m delighted that some of you had such a thrilling, inspiring two years.  I was happy to vote for Mr. Obama, and I will be happy to call him my President.  He’s a good guy, and this will be a good four years.

Spotlight on Ballot Initiatives: Another Reason to Vote No on 8

I already highlighted some reasons that even people who are sort of in the middle on gay marriage should vote No on 8 in this post.  I showed you some powerful ads against the proposition in this one.  But now I have another reason to vote no.  This post is specifically for Write to Marry Day, an event hosted by Mombian to put the spotlight on Proposition 8.  I’ve been thrilled to see how many bloggers are coming out against 8, including the awesome visual of the No on 8 quilt by Riese (I’m down there on the bottom).  But even if you wouldn’t consider yourself a supporter, or are feeling a little uncomfortable or unenthusiastic about same-sex marriage, you need to vote no.

This isn’t just about gay marriage.  People keep saying that this is about discrimination, hate, and equality, but one example really hits home for me why Californians need to get to the polls and defeat this proposition.  You may have heard about how the Yes on 8 folks have been sending letters to small business owners who donated to No on 8, warning that if they do not donate the same amount to the Yes campaign they will be publicized as opposed to traditional marriage.  That’s not just dirty politics, it’s terrifying.  Because you know what this sounds like?  It sounds like a time in our nation’s history where people were hunted down, blackmailed, beat up, and even killed because of the color of their skin or their sexuality.  This isn’t just about gay marriage.  If you’re thinking of voting yes on this proposition, please think long and hard about whether you want people who resort to these tactics to win.  It won’t stop here.  Marriage is just one step, and even if you can’t stand the idea of gay people getting married, think carefully about whether their ability to marry will hurt your life or your family.  Remind yourself that you’re the one your children look up to, and that you can teach them whatever the heck you want.  Yes, I’d personally prefer that children grow up to believe that it’s not who you love, but how you love them.  But I’m willing to concede some ground here because the important thing is that whether or not you want gay people married, I don’t think you want them threatened, fired, or killed.  These types of human rights violations are real.  They happen in many parts of the world.  Private citizens in this country commit serious hate crimes against gays and lesbians even as we speak.  If you’re religious, I think you can agree that whatever God considers a sin, he isn’t asking you to beat up or kill the sinner.  We aren’t so far away from turning the clock back to a time when gays and lesbians constantly had to fear for their lives and reputations.  Don’t be responsible for turning that clock back.  Vote no on Proposition 8.

Spotlight on Ballot Initiatives: Some Powerful Videos

I had intended to write separately about each of the marriage initiatives on various ballots, but since what I’ve already written about for Proposition 8 applies pretty much across the board, today I’m going to share some particularly effective campaign videos with you.  Don’t forget to vote!


(No on Proposition 102, a constitutional amendment to ban same sex marriage)

Arizona Together


(No on Act 1, a measure that would ban cohabiting couples from fostering or adopting children)

Arkansas Families First


(No on Prop 8, constitutional amendment defining marriage as between a man and woman)

Gavin Newsom, Mayor of San Francisco

Haviland & Reese: I Hate My Gay Friends

Feminist Majority Foundation 


California Superintendent of Schools

No On Prop 8

Love Poem (One of my favourites)


(No on Question 1, which would mean a constitutional convention and possibly overturning of gay marriage)

Protect Our Constitution


(No on Proposition 2, a marriage amendment that would also make heterosexual domestic partnerships illegal)

Michael Schiavo

Heterosexual domestic partners against Prop 2

And Finally:

Everyone should see this video.  But don’t watch when you’re somewhere where crying is inappropriate.  (Happy tears, I promise.)

Harvey Milk

Spotlight on Ballot Initiatives: California Proposition 8

Why hello there.

First, apologies for getting behind on comments, both approving and replying.  I know being super-busy isn’t really an excuse, because we’re all in the same boat.  I’ll try to do better – I love getting comments and I really appreciate everyone who reads, whether or not you comment.

Second, hey, this liveblogging thing is pretty cool!  I’m back home from South Dakota on an actual computer, but it’s nice to know that one-fingered typing can keep you updated when I’m at exciting related events (hopefully there will be more of those after I graduate and am employed).  I am glad, though, that I’m not going to have to watch the debate on a three-inch screen!  Speaking of South Dakota, I’ve decided to do a little spotlight on ballot initiatives feature this month, to keep y’all informed about gender and sexuality related issues that are up for a vote in your state.  As promised, I’ll let you know about Measure 11, as well as my own experience fighting it and the interesting perspectives that South Dakotans bring to the table on the issue.  Tonight, I’d like to talk about Prop 8 in California, and gay marriage in general.  

I know most of you reading are in favour of gay marriage, and against Prop 8, but I’ve also noticed some anti-gay comments on the blog, and I’d like to make a rational appeal just in case there are any undecided California voters hanging around.  The language itself is pretty simple.  It would add a section stating that, “only marriage between a man and a woman is valid or recognized in California.”  There isn’t much to debate about that language, but I’d like to give a few reasons why gay marriage should be valid and recognized, however you personally feel about gay people and whether or not you think that gays should marry as a religious or social matter.

  1. Disallowing gay marriage doesn’t get rid of gay relationships.  Gay people will still love each other, make commitments to each other, say vows to each other, live together, and raise children together in California if the proposition passes.  They will still marry each other in churches.  The only thing at issue here is whether gay marriage is legally recognised by the state.
  2. Allowing gay marriage doesn’t threaten heterosexual marriage.  The divorce rate has been going up for years without any recognition of gay marriage in this country.  People marry for many, many, many reasons and they divorce for just as many reasons.  Perhaps the culture of a whole is changing to de-emphasise marriage, but if this is what bothers you, gay marriage should be a good thing.  It encourages people who are already in stable, loving relationships to marry, and means more children will be raised in the context of a marriage.  Again, the idea is not that the state is creating more gay relationships to lure straight people away from marriage.  The relationships are already here.  Straight people are not lured away by the prospect of a gay marriage.  Closeted gay people in heterosexual marriages were already gay in the first place.
  3. Gay marriage protects children.  However you feel about gay people adopting kids together, or about second-parent adoptions or other family structures involving gay parents, they do exist.  There are children being raised by gay people, and if Proposition 8 passes they will be threatened.  The rights and benefits that extend to married people include many rights, financial and otherwise, designed to protect children.  Even if children have rights by virtue of the parent-child relationship, whether the parents’ partnership is recognised or not, there is a stigma that goes along with having a law on the books suggesting that a child’s family is unnatural.  This stigma is harmful to children.
  4. The idea that this is a slippery slope and soon all sorts of sexual conduct will be recognised, from bestiality to incest to polygamy, is a little silly.  This isn’t about sex, it is about a legal relationship between two people.  Sodomy laws are already unconstitutional in this country.  The gays and lesbians who want to marry are often more conservative than their peers and in some cases more like heterosexual married couples than unmarried LGBT ones.  Many of them have children, and often are already in long-term, committed relationships and would have married earlier if it had been a legal option.  Many LGBT people for whom marriage is significant are religious.  The gay marriage movement is actually quite moderate, and isn’t asking for wild, promiscuous sex.  It is asking for recognition in a context to which many married heterosexual people can relate.  

I should note that these aren’t the reasons why I personally support the gay marriage movement (those have more to do with equality and rights), but if I learned anything this weekend it’s that two people can vote the same way on a given ballot initiative for entirely different reasons.  So, I think that both progressive LGBT folks and allies, and more conservative heterosexual people who don’t give a hoot about gay people but do care about children and families, should vote no on this proposition.

Off to save abortion this weekend

Or something like that.  I’ll be in Sioux Falls with the ACLU, canvassing and doing other exciting stuff.  It’s the first pro-choice thing I’ve done since working with the Emma Goldman Clinic on Medicaid reform.  If you’re interested in financial access to abortion, you might check out this post on “Contraceptive Choice and Class.”  And then there’s this quick hit from Feministe, which mentions an 8th circuit decision on abortion in SD, as well as addressing the argument that abortion is necessarily harmful.  See you on the flip side!

C'mon, Obama, just throw a punch!

If you want to see some of the thoughts I had during the debate you can glance at my twitter (peachy_penumbra), but the big ones are that a) McCain’s paternalism and that damned voice make me want to throw up and b) I’m really bummed that it looks like Cold War Part II is coming and my American passport will keep me from spending any time in Russia, where I’d desperately like to go.

Sexism is irrelevant?

I just watched the Charlie Gibson interview with Sarah Palin on YouTube, and though there were plenty of things I had an opinion about, one that stuck out in my mind is Palin saying that the question of whether criticism of her trying to raise a family and run for VP is sexist is irrelevant.  The way she framed the issue, talking about being part of the Title IX generation, etc. etc., struck me as saying that sexism is irrelevant, or maybe even non-existent, in this day and age.  Sure, maybe people don’t come right and say “you can’t be the Vice President because you are a woman and a woman with children,” but sexism is extremely pervasive, and I can’t imagine that Palin has never in her life faced sexism.  I’m sure it helps to be on the “right side” of things as far as the way the rich, white, conservative straight men who run the country see it, but I find this interesting.  Is this how she feels personally or only politically?  Does she honestly think she’s never been the victim of sexism?

And now I'm slightly frightened

One thing about being a part of the foodblogging community that I’ve become more and more used to is the diversity of the group.  Most of my interests (LGBT studies, human rights, feminism) more or less tend to fall within a certain political range.  There are variances within the group, but you know what you expect to hear.  Foodies aren’t like that – after all, everyone has to eat.  You get quite a range – a lot of moms and a lot of young or middle-aged professional women, many of whom are married, but also some single girls and occasionally guys.  There are a lot of Christians and “family values” folks, which means there are presumably a lot of Republicans.  I don’t have any problem with that, as I’ve always lived in politically diverse areas and had a politically diverse group of friends and colleagues.  But I have to say a post on one foodblog gave me pause.

The woman who writes this blog said that she had been sure she was going to vote for Obama until she saw Palin’s speech.  Now, as a mom, she’s energized and excited about the ticket and changing her mind.  Really?  I think a lot of us liberals are thinking that bullshit won’t work, but there’s a point there.  She’s a young, vibrant mother and a lot of women probably see her and think yeah, that’s me, that’s a badass career mom, go get ’em girl.  Now I know nothing about this particular blogger’s politics, though I gather she’s not very political and may well be an independent, but I wonder how much the “fellow mom” card plays above, say, Palin’s views on reproductive rights, Creationism, and other areas where she’s a conservative extremist.  I wonder if women who want to vote for McCain because of Palin agree (or just don’t care that much) with her stance on the issues, or if they disagree but are simply willing to overlook.  I also wonder if people realise that when they vote for this ticket they’re voting for McCain for President.  There isn’t a young, vibrant mom running for President.  It’s McCain.  An old, votes-with-Bush white guy.  If that genuinely appeals, then fine, but I can’t help but smell some trickery in the air.