Yes he could

I had been planning to go to bed early on election night, since I had a busy day ahead, and I was, after all, completely confident that Obama would win, but in the event I couldn’t bring myself to retire without seeing at least some of the returns. I ended up staying up until about 1.30, when the result from Pennsylvania came in.

McCain’s fading hopes of victory had rested on the idea that the white working-class voters who supported Hillary Clinton in the primaries would, faced with an Obama candidacy, switch to the GOP, or at least stay at home. If this was going to happen anywhere it would have happened in Pennsylvania, and when even Fox News called the state blue within a minute of the polls closing it was clear that the game was up.

The theory that Obama was going to turn off the Democrat base was based on a complete misunderstanding of what happened in the primary campaign. Those voters who favoured Clinton over Obama did so because they were worried about his electability, not because they thought he was too radical. There was never any significant policy difference between the candidates; if anything Clinton is further to the left. Once Obama was the candidate the party was always going to be behind him, united by a desire to defeat McCain.

Could McCain have done anything to stem the tide? Probably not, given the state of the economy and the electorate’s determination to hold the Republicans responsible for the mess. He must be thinking that he could have played a bad hand a little better though. As McCain gave a valedictory speech to the press on his campaign plane, Joe Lieberman could be seen at his shoulder, like Banquo’s ghost. Might a McCain/Lieberman ticket have prevailed? We’ll never know.

Anyway, that’s all the excitement over for four years at least, and probably for eight. I can get back to blogging about important stuff like Second Life

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