November 4, 2008
It's election day! Here's your paper bag to hyperventilate into
The big day is finally here! By now you've probably already voted, or are restructuring the rest of your day so that you can vote without missing the election parties you're going to tonight.
It's an intense day for everyone. So far it seems like people (and by "people" I mean "Obama supporters"-- this is New York) are alternating between giddy excitement (when looking at polls), cynicism (when reading reports of voting irregularities and remembering the last two elections), and superstitious fears about jinxing it by being overly optimistic (when planning what time you'll pop the champagne or take the celebratory Obama Jell-O bust out of the fridge.)
The earliest a presidential election got called was 9:00 eastern time in 1980, and some people think it will all be over pretty early tonight. It will be interesting to watch the news channels struggle to hold back individual state projections until they're sure about them (and keep viewers around as long as possible) while eagerly wanting to make the overall call. "There's no way to get around it," CBS News senior VP Paul Friedman says. "If one man gets 270 electoral votes before the West Coast polls are closed, we're not going to pretend (he doesn't)." CBS said they might call it as early as 8:00, but I don't think that's happening.
An early call would mean that all the people watching the results in bars will switch over from nervous sipping of drinks to rounds of victory shots and special blue election-themed "O-bomb-a" Jager/Sake/Irish Car bombs. Here are a few guides to special bar nights from New York magazine, Time Out, Drinking Liberally, and those raging party animals at Channel Thirteen.
It looks like the folks over at Slate aren't feeling very superstitious: they offer some advice to McCain on his concession speech, and remind us of Bob Dole in 1996 shushing his crowd with "You're not going to get that tax cut if you don't be quiet." McCain should definitely go for funny--especially if this is the last big public forum he's going to get.
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