Blog 5: Barack Obama beats John McCain
Posted on January 3, 2009 by
As we start the new year, with the inauguration of president-elect Barack Obama just weeks away, I thought I’d reflect a bit on what it was like in my house on election night.
I had been cautiously hopeful about the outcome. There were reports that the gap between Obama and McCain was closing, and the GOP had unleashed some particularly nasty last minute ads. I couldn't help but wonder if there were enough undecideds left to be swayed by those ads.
On Tuesday morning when I went to volunteer to distribute literature, some of the other volunteers mentioned that there were already some irregularities in two states (Virginia and North Carolina, I believe). Suddenly, I had visions of what happened before, with George Bush mysteriously winning an election which the polls said he was losing. So, all day long I was filled with anxiety.
As the polls closed, my wife and I started watching the reports. I quickly picked up on the pattern. The polls in different states were closing on the hour at different hours, based on time zones and other factors. So, updated results would come in primarily on the hour. After the 10pm EST update showed Obama with 207 electoral votes, putting him within striking distance of the 270 needed to win, I became optimistic; not so much about the magic of the 207, but because it was reported that he had won Ohio and Pennsylvania. All day long it had been reported that McCain needed to take both those states to win. It was at that point I realized that Obama had the election won, assuming that the west coast states went as predicted. I also realized that no matter how likely it was that Obama would win those states, it would not be announced until they closed their polls, at 11pm EST, as a courtesy to the voters of those states.
As the clock ticked toward 11pm EST, I realized that would likely be the magic moment. I called my family into the room so we could all be together to watch. As they started to gather, I looked up on the screen and saw "Barack Obama: our 44th President". It didn't immediately register. Then suddenly it hit me. This was the announcement I had been waiting for. Been hoping for. It was real. I started screaming. Which started everyone else in the house screaming. It was truly a joyous moment!
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