Here are some brief afterthoughts on the election:
- After staying up way too late last night to watch the election results on TV, when, at around midnight, Barack Obama walked to the podium in Chicago to give his acceptance speech, the realization suddenly struck me: this is right up there with seeing the Berlin Wall come down.
- Speaking of speeches, there’s no way McCain and Obama could have deliberately coordinated the content of their respective concession and acceptance speeches, but it sure sounded like they could have. They were both, I think, brilliant, and both hammered home the same themes to a remarkable degree. And that is a good thing.
- That said, I seriously hope that the angry-sounding reactions and random shouting from the crowd during McCain’s concession speech were expressions of disappointment and nothing else, but unfortunately I have my doubts.
- Pennsylvania hasn’t gone for a Republican presidential candidate since 1988. Why do they keep trying so hard here election after election? McCain came into election night believing he could squeak out a win in PA after he and Palin spent an inordinate amount of time and money here, and he ended up losing the Commonwealth by 11%. Four years ago, Bush stubbornly clung to this same half-baked notion that he could win Pennsylvania until the last few days of the campaign. What gives?
And now, getting local:
- The Obama campaign’s seemingly quixotic ground efforts in my home of Lancaster County, Pennsylvania paid off. He got 43% of the vote in that conservative bastion, and while that doesn’t seem like a lot, it’s a greater proportion than any Democratic presidential candidate got here since 1964. Performances like that in a lot of Pennsylvania’s “Alabama in the middle,” as James Carville would say, are a big reason Obama carried the state by 11% last night. What really shocked me is that Obama won neighboring Berks County with 54%, and that he also got 43% in neighboring York County, both of which are very culturally similar to Lancaster County.
- There definitely seemed to be coattails at work from the local Obama get-out-the vote efforts. Although we’re still are saddled with one of the few remaining Republican representatives in the U.S. House from the Northeast, Joseph Pitts, he won re-election with only 56% of the vote. Around here, that’s a squeaker. Four years ago, he got just over two-thirds of the vote, and that was considered ridiculously close at the time compared to some of his other re-election campaigns. I think at one point some years ago he actually cracked 90%, and he wasn’t running unopposed at the time.