The Obama folks make two big claims: that they were more accurate—and more accurate earlier in the race—than their competitors. To back this up, they agreed to share, for the first time, the results of their own nightly forecasting model, code-named “Golden,” that was based on 62,000 simulations of the November election and distributed each day at 2 p.m. to David Axelrod, Jim Messina, and the rest of the campaign’s brain trust.
If Mitt Romney was the primary loser on Election Night, then the No. 2 loser, by universal consensus, appears to have been Karl Rove. And Democrats couldn’t be happier about it.
Rove also publicly predicted that Mr. Romney would win with 285 electoral votes (he wrongly assumed Romney would take Ohio, Iowa, Virginia, Colorado, and Florida). And he was the center of a bizarre episode on Election Night when, live on Fox News, he accused the network of prematurely calling Ohio for Romney (he was wrong there, too).
Needless to say, this has all given the Left a gigantic case of schadenfreude. After Democrats suffered bitter defeats at the hands of Rove in 2000 and 2004, and then heard him endlessly referred to as a “mastermind” strategist and a political “genius,” many can barely contain their glee.
New York Sen. Chuck Schumer said at a Monitor breakfast with reporters on Thursday: “Karl Rove’s reputation is going to take a significant hit. If Crossroads were a business and Rove was the CEO, he’d be fired for getting a poor return for his investors.”
Although I don’t like opinion pieces, Dana Milbank’s description of the Romney election-night shindig is one last reminder of who he really was and why I could never vote for him:
… Romney’s election-night celebration was a fitting coda to his presidential bid: It abandoned any pretense of being a campaign for the common man.
On election night in 2000, George W. Bush hosted an outdoor rally for thousands in Austin. In 2008, Barack Obama addressed a mass of humanity in Chicago’s Grant Park.
Over in Chicago [in 2012], the Obama campaign had invited 10,000 to fill the floor of the McCormick Place convention center. But here in Boston, Mitt Romney favored a more genteel soiree for an exclusive crowd.
Romney’s election-night event was in a ballroom at the Boston Exhibition and Convention Center that could accommodate a few hundred. Most men wore jacket and tie; women donned dresses and heels. Secret Service agents blocked reporters from mixing with the Romney supporters as they sipped cocktails and nibbled canapes.
Outside the ballroom, waiters in black tie tended bar, and Jumbotrons showed the election results on Fox News. Downstairs, Romney’s big donors assembled in private rooms for finer fare; guards admitted only those whose credentials said ‘National Finance Committee.’
Two presidential campaigns are underway: One to win on Election Day, the other to win after it.
President Obama and Mitt Romney are each preparing for recounts, confusion over voter-eligibility rules, and even the chance of a tie in the Electoral College. A close election, as this one will almost certainly be, means all three scenarios are on the table.
In 2000, it took until Dec. 12 for lawyers and courts to settle on a White House winner. Here are three ways this year’s presidential battle could last long past Nov. 6:
Florida’s infamous 2000 presidential recount is the first thing that comes to mind when talk turns to a possible recount. And election experts in the Sunshine State want people to know things have changed in the last 12 years.
The state’s recount rules are now far more clear and explicit, and less vulnerable to charges of political maneuvering. Instead of recounting individual counties, recounts are now conducted statewide in cases of a winner beating an opponent by half of a percentage point or less. The trigger is automatic.
All voting booths also now use paper ballots, eliminating the possibility of the infamous “hanging chad” that plagued the contest between George W. Bush and Al Gore.
“We’ve got 12 years of successful elections under our belt in Florida since we were in the spotlight,” said Stephen Rosenthal, Obama’s general counsel in the state.
This time around, observers looking for a drawn-out election should focus on the Buckeye State. Ohio orders a recount if the margin between the top two candidates is within one-fourth of a percentage point of the total votes cast.
But such a recount would begin only after the election results are certified in each individual county — and the deadline for that is 21 days after Nov. 6. The secretary of state would then need to certify the results, which a spokesman indicated would take a few additional days. In other words, it could take until December before a recount in Ohio even begins.
Candidates can also request a recount in Ohio, either for the entire state or individual precincts.
Though Republicans pushed to tighten voting requirements in an array of states the last two years, few of their proposals passed or survived legal challenges. That’s left the voting landscape largely unchanged from four years ago.
“The strict voter I.D. laws that we were most concerned about aren’t going to be in effect in any swing state,” said Lawrence Norden, deputy director of the Democracy Program at the liberal-leaning Brennan Center for Justice.
In Maricopa County, home of more than half of Arizona’s voters, material reminding Spanish-language speakers to vote lists Election Day as Nov. 8, two days after the polls close. In Florida, the Division of Elections is investigating letters sent to voters in 24 counties that say recipients have been flagged as possible noncitizens and are therefore ineligible to vote. In Wisconsin, billboards warn of jail time for voter fraud. And voters in several swing states have reported receiving calls telling them they can vote by phone instead of at the ballot box.
Welcome to the unseemly underside of politics. While President Obama and Republican challenger Mitt Romney work to mobilize as much of their base as possible, some operatives are working behind the scenes to dissuade the other side’s voters from casting ballots.
In other cases, simple mistakes in local elections offices threaten to disenfranchise at least a handful of voters. In a close-fought election likely to come down to just a few states, any problem at the polls will cause the losing side to scream bloody murder.
Both the Obama and Romney camps claim they are confident they’ll win by sufficient margins. But privately, each side is preparing armies of lawyers and warning staff to be ready to fly to a political hot spot at a moment’s notice on Election Night.
“What we’re preparing for now is the efforts on the ground, and we will, as we’ve had in the past, have thousands of lawyers working at polling places throughout the country,” said Will Crossley, a Democratic National Committee spokesman. “This program that we have is bigger than we’ve had in a long time.”
“We have all the resources and infrastructure we need for any potential dispute or recount,” said one Romney aide. Because of a three-decade old court agreement, the Republican National Committee is not allowed to send lawyers into the field. Instead, the Republican National Lawyers Association, headed by longtime GOP activists David Norcross and Cleta Mitchell, organize the party’s volunteer legal efforts.
With Tunisia’s ballot boxes closed but not stuffed, the real political winners in the country’s first free election are women.
This election — for an assembly that will write the country’s new constitution — will likely result in the largest percentage of women in any assembly across the Arab world. When the dust settles, about a third of the 217 members of Tunisia’s constituent assembly will be women, twice as many women serving as currently serve in the U.S. Congress.
Working as an official observer for the National Democratic Institute last week, I was struck both by how well women have fared in the new democratic process and how patient and proud many Tunisians were as they were handed a real ballot. Counting those ballots took a full week. But in a part of the world with little experience in administering fair elections, this is a logistical triumph.
Many countries around the world allow election observers, and a modern election can draw hundreds of paid and unpaid observers to watch both campaign politics and the mechanics of elections administration. Elections observers get accredited by the national government, and organizations such as the National Democratic Institute, the International Republican Institute, and the Carter Center have built strong reputations for observing elections. The Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe and the European Union also had accredited observers, but almost every embassy in Tunis sent out staff on election night just to keep track of events.