Tuesday, November 04, 2008

What if Obama Loses?


With the polls showing Barack Obama leading with a wide, often double-digit, margin over John McCain, especially in swing and previously red states, one would assume that Obama should win this election very smoothly. I will only give him a 50/50 chance. As I had argued before, there are a lot of people who will be scared of voting for a black person, and some recent ads sponsored by Republicans groups are running ads reminding people of Obama's association with angry people, mainly Jeremiah Wright and Bill Ayers, and nothing scares non-blacks and blacks like an angry black man.

History supports me in this. In 1983, Harold Washington, a black man, was leading in the polls for Chicago's mayoral race by a wide margin but won with a much narrower margin. In 1989 Douglas Wilder, another black candidate, became Virginia's governor winning by less than a point although polls before the elections showed him leading by 9 points. In 1989 David Dinkins was leading by 18 points over Rudy Giuliani in New York's mayoral race but won by only 2 points. The most significant of all was Tom Bardley, a black dude, who was way ahead of his white opponent but lost the elections for governor of California.

History also can prove me wrong. These were all elections held in the 1980s. The country has changed since then, There are a lot of young voters this time. We also did not also see Obama suffering from any Bradley effect in the primaries, except probably in New Hampshire where he unexpectedly lost to Hilary Clinton. But if you look at the swing states like Ohio, Pennsylvania and Florida, there's a large population of people who may have a problem with Obama's race. Ralph Nader still has his supporters (3%) and he may take more of Obama's votes especially with Obama's opposition to gay marriage.

So what if Obama loses?
It would be only in electoral votes, just like Bush won in 2000 despite losing the popular vote. Politicians will seriously reconsider the electoral system.
Other than that, the country will be in shock. The only people who won't be shocked will be black people. Most of them have lost any confidence in the political system long time ago. This will probably kill any remaining hope that some of them still had in America, but a lot of them won't feel a thing (but I'm telling you, downtown LA will be wrecked). The people who will be in absolute shock are young people who are participating in this election. It will be sort of a wake-up call for them that tolerance exists less in US politics than it does in their college dormitories.

And then there will be the shock of electing another Republican, who voted with Bush 90% of the time, as the next president along with a vice president who has poor qualifications for any political office. The fact that Bush got away with all what he did was shocking enough, but the shock of electing a president for the incumbent party will be more shocking and disappointing to a lot of Americans.

I truly hope Obama will become the next president, but if he didn't that shouldn't come as a big surprise. It happened before and it will happen again.

5 comments:

Mohanned said...

the chances are between 90%-97%. Check out those two accurate websites:
Intrade.com
Fivethirtyeight.com

:)

Qwaider قويدر said...

Everyone is affraid of the Bradly Effect! Let's keep the hopes up

mab3oos said...

عن جد إنتوا ناس بتروحوا عالبحر و بتنشفوه
يا عالم تفائلوا بالخير تجدوه

Hani Obaid said...

most people who answer the phone polls are older. The younger crowd are usually out, and they're more likely to vote for a democrat, and probably more likely not to vote, but I think more people who never vote will vote in this election.

kinzi said...

It's certainly not over until the fat lady sings, and we gotta lotta fat ladies in America.

Whoever wins, they have quite a piece of work ahead. Whoever wins, I hope they have the humility acknowledge it was definitely a half and half race. Maybe Obama will landslide, but it seems much closer than I thought it would be at this time.

Our inboxes are FLOODED with emails, youtube clips and pleas to get out and vote. It is kindof funny, as we have lots of friends on both sides, whew, good thing they only exist together in our inbox.