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Decisive victory 

I’m more and more convinced that Kerry is going to win decisively in 11 days. I have no hard evidence for this, but it’s my reading of the many straws in the wind.

Bush, from the power of the incumbency, has stubbornly failed to top 50% in recent memory. Undecideds usually vote 2:1 for the challenger. There’s an unprecedented number of newly registered voters. Pollsters don’t (in fact are prohibited by law) survey mobile phone users, who are disproportionately young. The number of traditional Republicans that are declaring for Kerry is becoming remarkable (even The New Republic endorsed Kerry!). The extraordinary energy I saw last February at the Democratic caucus in London hasn’t dissipated.

A lot of people will vote for Kerry, but far, far more people will vote to get rid of Bush.

This may just be the product of the echo chamber I inhabit: reading commentators that suit my opinions, sifting for every encouraging sign. But I really think it’s going to happen.

Cut out and keep 

Contrapositive has produced an incredibly helpful cut-out-and-keep guide to election night, looking at the likely events hour by hour and providing good counsel. A sample:

  58 Electoral Votes in play
  Polls close in Georgia, Kentucky, Indiana, South Carolina, Vermont and Virginia. (Some Florida and New Hampshire polling stations close as well.)
  ANALYSIS: If it takes more than a few minutes for the networks to call Indiana or Virginia for Bush, that may bode well for John Kerry.
  And if Daniel Mongianardo or Inez Tenenbaum are able to keep the numbers close in early returns from their respective Senate races in Kentucky and South Carolina, it means the Democrats have a chance of taking over the Senate.
  Having learned from past mistakes, the networks are unlikely to have much to say about the early returns from New Hampshire or Florida. And CONTRAPOSITIVE doesn’t expect any reputable news organizations to call the Sunshine State one way or the other till at least 8pm.
  But if word trickles out that John Kerry is ahead in New Hampshire, we may be in for a long evening. By contrast, if Bush pulls ahead in that state, Florida starts to look like a “must” for Kerry.

Leaping Salmon 

One of the joys of reading a really good history book is the little nuggets you discover. I loved this quote from Benjamin Wade about Salmon P Chase, Lincoln’s Treasury secretary and challenger for the Republican nomination in 1864: “Chase is a good man, but his theology is unsound. He thinks there is a fourth person in the Trinity.”

And when did you last meet someone named Salmon? (Topped for me, however, in the Civil War period by Ohio Democrat Clement L Vallandigham. That’s on a par with Hugo Z Hackenbush.)

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