Election Day, a month early

earlyvoting720Since I’m not going to be in the state I’m registered to vote in on Election Day (the first Tuesday in November), I went to the local county offices yesterday and filled out an early ballot.

Early voting is allowed in Kentucky beginning in late September and goes through Election Day if you provide clerks your identification and tell them where you’re going to be on Election Day.

The Kentucky ballot was pretty long, a couple of inches longer than the size of a legal sheet of paper with candidates to select on both sides. The first side consisted of the major elections, most of which had party affiliations, while the reverse side was made up of a non-partisan slate of candidates, mostly for judicial appointments.

On the side with the partisan races, there’s a slot that allows you to just vote a straight party line, so you don’t have to go through the dozens of names and select each candidates. But I was feeling surly and was driven to go to each name and mark my choice, a visceral response because each time it was an affirmation where I could say; “I have a choice, and I’m specifically voting against you because you stand for a venal, racist, sexist, murderous, greedy, fear-mongering bunch of bastards.”

So I ended up voting the party line.

The non-partisan side of the ballot was more difficult. Personally, I believe that if you’re running for office, you are partisan, so you should list your party affiliation so I know whether to vote for you or not. So, I’m guessing that somewhere along the way, I cast a vote for a venal, racist, sexist, murderous, greedy, fear-mongering bastard.

Or something like that.

Anyway, people who say they don’t vote because “politicians are all the same” or “it doesn’t make any difference” are worse than the people I voted against. It does matter. Decades ago, people were deprived of the right to vote because of their color. A century ago, women were deprived of the right to vote because of their gender. When this country was founded, people were deprived of the right to vote because they didn’t own property. Anyone who advocates the concept of constitutional originalism is specifically longs for a system that deprived a vast majority of the population of their voice in the governing of their country. Or putting it another way, they promote a government that is controlled by old, rich white guys.

So get out there and vote. If you’re not going to be in the place you’re registered to vote in on Election Day, get out their and vote early. If you don’t know where to go for an early vote, click here and find your state.

The GOP has a senior moment

Guess what. Republicans are pissing off another segment of the voting population (from the Carville-Greenberg Memo):

There’s something going on with seniors: It is now strikingly clear that they have turned sharply against the GOP. This is apparent in seniors’ party affiliation and vote intention, in their views on the Republican Party and its leaders, and in their surprising positions on jobs, health care, retirement security, investment economics, and the other big issues that will likely define the 2014 midterm elections. …

—In 2010, seniors voted for Republicans by a 21 point margin (38 percent to 59 percent). Among seniors likely to vote in 2014, the Republican candidate leads by just 5 points (41 percent to 46 percent.)

—When Republicans took control of the House of Representatives at the beginning of 2011, 43 percent of seniors gave the Republican Party a favorable rating.  Last month, just 28 percent of seniors rated the GOP favorably. This is not an equal-opportunity rejection of parties or government — over the same period, the Democratic Party’s favorable rating among seniors has increased 3 points, from 37 percent favorable to 40 percent favorable.

—When the Republican congress took office in early 2011, 45 percent of seniors approved of their job performance. That number has dropped to just 22 percent — with 71 percent disapproving.

—Seniors are now much less likely to identify with the Republican Party. On Election Day in 2010, the Republican Party enjoyed a net 10 point party identification advantage among seniors (29 percent identified as Democrats, 39 percent as Republicans). As of last month, Democrats now had a net 6 point advantage in party identification among seniors (39 percent to 33 percent).

—More than half (55 percent) of seniors say the Republican Party is too extreme, half (52 percent) say it is out of touch, and half (52 percent) say the GOP is dividing the country. Just 10 percent of seniors believe that the Republican Party does not put special interests ahead of ordinary voters.

—On almost every issue we tested — including gay rights, aid to the poor, immigration, and gun control — more than half of seniors believe that the Republican Party is too extreme.

If the GOP has lost the elderly, I don’t see how it can continue to survive.

And we’re at the verge of a government shutdown, where the blame is going to fall squarely on Republicans. Going into the 2014 elections, we could see the total collapse of a major American political party.

And now, a word from Rachel Maddow

A post-Election Day comment:

GOP asks rest of the world: What happened?

A few note on the total disconnect from reality by the GOP in this election.

First, CBS News reported this:

Mitt Romney‘s campaign got its first hint something was wrong on the afternoon of Election Day, when state campaign workers on the ground began reporting huge turnout in areas favorable to President Obama: northeastern Ohio, northern Virginia, central Florida and Miami-Dade.

Then came the early exit polls that also were favorable to the president.

But it wasn’t until the polls closed that concern turned into alarm. They expected North Carolina to be called early. It wasn’t. They expected Pennsylvania to be up in the air all night; it went early for the President.

After Ohio went for Mr. Obama, it was over, but senior advisers say no one could process it.

“We went into the evening confident we had a good path to victory,” said one senior adviser. “I don’t think there was one person who saw this coming.”

OK, let’s stop here for a minute. I’ve posted Nate Silver‘s poll-based forecasts from the 538 Blog since July and on Election Day morning (links, here, here and here). And other statisticians, like Sam Wang at the Princeton Election Consortium, were looking at the same numbers Silver was using and coming to the same conclusion. So a bunch of people saw this coming and gave relatively high odds on an Obama victory. And when they released their findings, the right went nuts, saying it was part of a left-wing media conspiracy that used skewed results to give the impression that Obama had the election all sewn up. But the “REAL NUMBERS” that the GOP had were showing a Romney landslide.

Really, how can they have been so blind? Paul Krugman says:

I suspect that it comes down to two things: self-definition in terms of always being the people with the power, and the right-wing information bubble, which left them completely unaware of information they didn’t want to hear.

Yeah. They didn’t want to hear what skewed poll numbers, based on probability and statistics, were saying. So they decided to seek out the skills of the “unskewers” to validate their version of reality. And you saw how that worked. Here’s what one of the GOP-supporting unskewers said after the vote:

Dean Chambers, the man behind “unskewed polls,” a site that attempted to re-weight polls that Chambers thought oversampled Democrats, admitted to his model’s shortcomings on Wednesday.

“Most of the polls I ‘unskewed’ were based on samples that generally included about five or six or seven percent more Democrats than Republicans, and I doubted and questioned the results of those polls, and then ‘unskewed’ them based on my belief that a nearly equal percentage of Democrats and Republicans would turn out in the actual election this year,” Chambers wrote on The Examiner website. “I was wrong on that assumption and those who predicted a turnout model of five or six percent in favor of Democrats were right. Likewise, the polling numbers they produced going on that assumption turned out to be right and my ‘unskewed’ numbers were off the mark.”

Ya think!!??

Of course, we now have to go through the spectacle of a political party trying to figure out how its presidential campaign derailed so badly:

Top Republican officials, stunned by the extent of their election losses Tuesday night, have begun an exhaustive review to figure out what went so wrong and how to fix it.

Party leaders already had planned to poll voters in battleground states starting Tuesday night in anticipation of a Mitt Romney victory — to immediately begin laying the groundwork for midterm congressional elections and a Romney 2016 reelection bid.

But as they watched one state after another go to President Obama and Senate seats fall away, party leaders quickly expanded and retooled their efforts. They’re planning a series of voter-based polls and focus groups, meetings with constituency group leaders, and in-depth discussions with their volunteers, donors and staff members to find ways to broaden their appeal.

The Rude Pundit has a suggestion:

You are going to get advice from everywhere, all over, left, right, crazy. So the Rude Pundit’s not going to attempt to say much here because you’re not going to listen. It comes down to this: Stop being jerks, and, as Joe Biden said, get out of the way. Stop being jerks to women, to immigrants, to gays, to union members. Just…well, just fucking stop.

Now, you have to ask yourself, will they listen?

Uh, no.

And I’ll close with this little dose of skewed reality from a YouTube commenter:

You KNOW your party is pathetic when a friend asks: “Hey, did that guy who talked utter nonsense about rape get elected?”

And YOU have to reply: “Which one?”