Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Yes, we could

Although I was confident that I would wake up this morning (somewhat earlier than usual...) to an Obama victory, I still find it somehow difficult to believe it has actually happened.

Figuring out the details and absorbing all the other results will take some time. (For example, California's Prop 8 is, at the moment, too close to call, but it's not looking good. The Senate race in Minnesota is about as close as it can get.) And I'm interested in seeing some solid data on how different groups voted.

Encouragingly, it appears that Obama did well amongst white voters, at least on a par with previous Democratic candidates and possibly even better.

But, I'll feel like analysing this another time.

For now, I want to enjoy a Democratic victory, not least because it was accompanied by huge voter turnout and relatively few voting disasters (though the system still needs work).

And it seems like I'm not alone, from Chicago to Kabul.

[UPDATE] A couple of well-put things picked up while grazing the news.

Ezra Klein:

My basic emotion is relief. The skill of an Obama administration has yet to be proven. The structure of our government will prove a more able opponent of change than John McCain. But for the first time in years, I have the basic sense that it's going to be okay. Not great, necessarily. And certainly not perfect. But okay. The country will be led by decent, competent people who fret over the right things and employ the tools of the state for recognizable ends. They may not fully succeed. But then, maybe they will. At the least, they will try. And if they fail in their most ambitious goals, maybe they will simply make things somewhat better. After the constant anxiety and uncertainty of the last eight years, maybe that's enough.


Barack Obama’s race has been discussed practically to death in this last year - what it means that a black man can be elected President, what it means that white people will vote for him, what it means that white people won’t vote for him, and did his wife call someone “whitey”? (Answer: no.) But ultimately that hasn’t driven his campaign, historic as his candidacy might be (and it is). What has fundamentally driven his campaign is this: people decided, by and large, that this was a decent man.

This is not small potatoes. About the best we can ever hope for in politics, anywhere in the world, ninety-nine percent of the time, is to get somebody in charge about whom one can say “well, he might be a son of a bitch, but he’s our son of a bitch,” and make do with that. We have, as a whole, largely divorced ourselves from the idea that political leaders can be upstanding, moral citizens; we expect them to be bastards because the process demands that they be bastards to win.

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