SIGN IN to access Harper’s Magazine
1. Sign in to Customer Care using your account number or postal address.
2. Select Email/Password Information.
3. Enter your new information and click on Save My Changes.
Subscribers can find additional help here. Not a subscriber? Subscribe today!
All the available evidence suggests that Barack Obama should cruise to a comfortable margin of victory tomorrow night. “Based on interviews with political strategists in both parties, election analysts and advisers to both presidential campaigns — including a detailed look at public and private polling data — an Obama victory with well over 300 electoral votes is a more likely outcome than a McCain victory,” Mark Halperin of Time magazine reported today. On the other hand, polls have been wrong before, and there is some evidence that McCain could be closing the gap in a few battleground states.
Early results from just a few states should make it relatively clear whether Obama wins easily or if the polls and pundits are wrong, and the race is going to be closer than expected.
If Obama wins North Carolina, expect him to romp to a huge victory as that would suggest that a number of closely contested red states go Democratic.
An Obama victory in Florida or Virginia would also be fatal to McCain. Victory in both augurs a landslide. If he loses both, it would suggest that the electoral map is reverting to form and we might be in for a long night.
John McCain can’t win unless he takes Pennsylvania, which should be a key early indicator. Because if Obama loses Pennsylvania, it’s hard to see him winning in places like North Carolina or Virginia anyway.
Everyone’s nerves are frayed at this point, but it’s hard to see how McCain wins; signs of the outcome should be abundantly clear by 9 P.M. EDT.
More from Ken Silverstein:
Perspective — October 23, 2013, 8:00 am
How pro-oil Louisiana politicians have shaped American environmental policy
Postcard — October 16, 2013, 8:00 am
A trip to one of the properties at issue in Louisiana’s oil-pollution lawsuits
On a Friday evening in January, a thousand people at the annual California Native Plant Society conference in San Jose settled down to a banquet and a keynote speech delivered by an environmental historian named Jared Farmer. His chosen topic was the eucalyptus tree and its role in California’s ecology and history. The address did not go well. Eucalyptus is not a native plant but a Victorian import from Australia. In the eyes of those gathered at the San Jose DoubleTree, it qualified as “invasive,” “exotic,” “alien” — all dirty words to this crowd, who were therefore convinced that the tree was dangerously combustible, unfriendly to birds, and excessively greedy in competing for water with honest native species.
In his speech, Farmer dutifully highlighted these ugly attributes, but also quoted a few more positive remarks made by others over the years. This was a reckless move. A reference to the tree as “indigenously Californian” elicited an abusive roar, as did an observation that without the aromatic import, the state would be like a “home without its mother.” Thereafter, the mild-mannered speaker was continually interrupted by boos, groans, and exasperated gasps. Only when he mentioned the longhorn beetle, a species imported (illegally) from Australia during the 1990s with the specific aim of killing the eucalyptus, did he earn a resounding cheer.
Percentage of Britons who cannot name the city that provides the setting for the musical Chicago:
An Australian entrepreneur was selling oysters raised in tanks laced with Viagra.
A tourism company in Australia announced a service that will allow users to take the “world’s biggest selfies,” and a Texas man accidentally killed himself while trying to pose for a selfie with a handgun.
Subscribe to the Weekly Review newsletter. Don’t worry, we won’t sell your email address!
“Shelby is waiting for something. He himself does not know what it is. When it comes he will either go back into the world from which he came, or sink out of sight in the morass of alcoholism or despair that has engulfed other vagrants.”