My wife reminds me every once in a while that I had a feeling in 2004 that John Kerry was going to win. And I was utterly confident in 1992 that Neil Kinnock would be the next prime minister. My record of political prediction isn’t good. There have been plenty of times, as well, when I knew I was supporting a lost cause but it was the right thing to do.
I voted this morning for Barack Obama, and I think he has a real chance at the nomination. I’m utterly confident that whoever wins the Democratic nomination will be the next president of the United States (but see my record on prediction above). I’m not sure, however, whether my support might have something of a curse attached to it.
Here’s my personal record in elections where either I voted, or had a personal interest (I was too young to vote in 1968 and 1972, but I still cared). I’m counting both the Democratic nomination and the presidential election as a contest:
1968 Supported Gene McCarthy. Humphrey took the nomination. Nixon won the presidency. My record: 0-2.
1972 Supported George McGovern. Unfortunately, Massachusetts wasn’t the whole country. Nixon again. My record: 1-3.
1976 Wasn’t inspired by anyone. Looking back, it seems incredible that George Wallace took 12 per cent of the vote in the Democratic primaries. Jimmy Carter of course won the nomination and the presidency. My first vote for a winner for president. My record: 2-3.
1980 Supported Ted Kennedy, who of course failed to dislodge the incumbent president, Jimmy Carter. Reagan wins in November. My record: 2-5.
1984 Supported Gary Hart. Walter Mondale won the nomination, Reagan won easily in November. My record: 2-7.
1988 Another election where I don’t remember having any deep feelings. I was in London, rooting half-heartedly for Jesse Jackson. Michael Dukakis won the nomination, George H. W. Bush won the presidency. My record: 2-9.
1992 Finally. Supported Bill Clinton for both the nomination and, obviously, for the presidency. My first clean sweep. Hey, I’m up to 4-9.
1996 Clinton again. This is getting better: 6-9.
2000 Supported Al Gore. Florida allegedly didn’t. And we ended up with the worst president in American history. Slipping again: 7-10.
2004 I was a Deaniac. Didn’t turn out well. Turned out worse in November. 7-12.
2008 Obama. Fingers crossed.