Tag Archives: 2008 elections

Wes on Obama’s Inauguration

In our post-inauguration excitement last month, we somehow managed to overlook every major piece of Wesleyan-related news about the inauguration in our inbox. Here’s a brief recap of what would have been timely a month ago, various Wes people’s perspectives on the inauguration in various media sources:

  • Eleanor Celeste ’10 (center) was featured in an NY Times article about how her family, which was politically divided during the campaign trail, came to embrace Barack Obama and traveled to Washington, D.C., for the inauguration.

  • President Roth commented on Obama’s inauguration speech in Politico, which is owned by Robert Allbritton ’92:

    “My first reaction is to marvel at how this candidate of change, of ‘Yes, we can’ spent considerable rhetorical force on tying his work back to the core values of American history,” wrote historian Michael Roth, president of Wesleyan University in Connecticut.

  • British style magazine Dazed and Confused ran a two-page spread in its February issue entitled “Two Young Creatives Remember the Campaign Trail,” containing a long interview with Ben Rowland and Ray Tintori ’06 about the youth perspective on the election, and featuring Rowland’s photos taken on the campaign trail:

The Year In Pictures: A Compilation

What better way to reflect on 2008 then through the year’s photos? The year has been marked by some of the greatest events in the last decade: the U.S. Election, the Olympics, genocide, terrorism, war, natural disasters, economic crisis and much more. Here is a photographic compilation of 2008 from some of the world’s leading publications. If you only have time for one, the Daily Beast collection is especially poignant.

BBC: Year In Pictures 2008

Daily Beast
: The Year In Pictures

The New York Times: 2008- The Year in Pictures
Divided into sub-categories: The Election, The Nation, Sports, The World, Arts, Entertainment.

: A Year of Pictures

Prof. Price on Aftermath of Election

Melanye Price

Last night I attended a live taping of the WNPR program Where We Live at Real Art Ways in Hartford, where Assistant Professor of Government Melanye Price joined Hartford Courant columnist Larry Cohen and two-time Democratic nominee for Governor Bill Curry to talk about the aftermath of the 2008 election.

It was an interesting panel. Cohen suggested that Barack Obama getting 52% of the electoral vote in this political climate should be considered a miserable failure. Price spoke about the significance of youth turnout. Curry remarked that Joe the Plumber, having no issue attached to him, might signal that conservative issues are out of steam.

My summary, however, is not as interesting. You can listen to the podcast and view a photo slideshow on the Where We Live website.

Professors on the Election

Several of our professors have been called upon by the mainstream media in the past few weeks to talk about the election:

  • Anthropology/AFAM Professor Gina Ulysse on Michelle Obama as an exceptional model of a professional black woman in the Hartford Courant.
  • Psychology Professor Scott Plous on how biases affect perception, as evidenced in this year’s election season, in the Philadelphia Inquirer.
  • Government Professor Elvin Lim and History/American Studies Professor Claire Potter suggesting what President-elect Obama should add to his reading list, in Inside Higher Ed.

Historical Narratives to host election panel

Jonah Blumstein ’09 writes:

Historical Narratives will be hosting a panel to discuss the election. Professors Schatz, Adelstein, Lim, and Lemert will be talking about how the election is historic, why Obama won, and what we can expect in the coming weeks and months. Come join us for an hour of discussion on a fascinating topic, with some of our favorite Wesleyan professors. Refreshments provided!

Date: Monday, Nov. 10
Time: 4:15 PM
Place: PAC 107

Obama’s Election Night Photostream

In case you were wondering what the Obama family was up to on election night, Obama’s campaign photographer, David Katz, was on hand to take some excellent behind-the-scenes shots of their reactions. And he posted them on Flickr! That’s what young people like us do!

Click through for various shots of the Obama kids, Uncle Joe Biden stopping by along with Jill and various campaign advisers, extended family members anxiously awaiting the results, and general warm, fuzzy feelings:
Anyway, this really excited me as yet another example of the unprecedented freshness of our next president’s campaign. Check out all the collections in his photostream if you feel like reliving it – photosets are organized by major events, states, and various interest groups.

[via gawker]

Roth on Obama Victory, Wes Reactions

President Michael Roth‘s latest Huffington Post column is up, about his observations of the post-election impromptu campus-wide party, and his musings on President-elect Obama:

In the euphoria the Election night victory, I watched our Wesleyan students celebrating the victory of a man whom they had embraced and in whom they had invested their hopes. Although all were aware of the polls predicting a victory, I don’t think many of them quite believed it would happen. They waved an American flag, chanted “O-bam-a, O-bam-a,” and felt a powerful sense of hope in our collective future. When somebody played “Signed, Sealed, Delivered” over the speakers, these young men and women danced with enthusiasm at a song they no longer associated with their parents but with our new president-elect.

…I thought of our President-elect’s Commencement Address… as I watched our students celebrating this stage in their political education and in the complex narrative of Barack Obama. It was a raucous party, and the celebrations took place in a context of political and social stability unburdened by fear. This is nothing to take for granted… We could express our joy and excitement while also inviting those who supported the Republican ticket to join in what was turning into a party for our political process. One of our students approached me to say that patriotism isn’t a sentiment you feel only when your candidate wins. He is right, and I trust that in the months and years ahead we will remember our strong feelings of solidarity on Election night even as we disagree about policies and governmental tactics.

Is he talking about Mytheos?

Also, check out his RothBlog about it:
Roth on Huffington Post: Bringing the Stories Together

Dissecting the Election w/ Profs Lim and Price

Join Government professors in a lecture about this year’s election and its consequences:

First Friday: How Obama Won

Please join Professor Elvin Lim and Professor Melanye Price, both assistant professors in government, discuss the election results and what happens next. Bring your excitement, your questions, your perspective.

First Friday is a series dedicated to creating community amongst those interested in service, activism and social change.

Date: Friday, November 7
Time: 4:30 pm
Place: Center for Community Partnerships, 167 High Street

Fox News: Palin didn’t know Africa was a continent

Maybe you guys are all sick of political stuff by now, but my goodness, I couldn’t resist posting this.

Fox News – yes, that’s right, Fox News – has spent some time talking about the infighting within the Republican party, now that the election’s over and it’s not “off-the-record” anymore. According to Carl Cameron, Fox News political correspondent, she didn’t know (among other things) that Africa was a continent and not, in fact, a country of its own:

Senate results

An update on the status of the Senate elections:
Democrats: 54 55
Independent (currently caucus with Democrats): 2
Republicans: 40
Still up in the air: 4 3

EDIT: NBC and the Portland Oregonian newspaper have called the Oregon Senate race for Merkley, the Democrat. [12:30pm 11/6/08]
EDIT2: And the Republican has conceded. Oregon now has 2 Democratic Senators. [2:15pm 11/6/08]

  • Recount in Minnesota
  • Runoff election in Georgia very likely
  • Still counting votes in Alaska and Oregon

My predictions about the outcome of the races:

  • Oregon: Probably Democratic
  • Alaska: Probably Republican, despite Ted Stevens’ seven felony convictions last week
  • Minnesota: Absolutely too close to call
  • Georgia: Toss-up if it goes to a runoff, which looks likely.

My predictions about when we’ll know the results of the outstanding races:

  • Oregon: later today or tomorrow
  • Alaska: sometime next week
  • Georgia: December 2, when they have the runoff, or shortly thereafter
  • Minnesota: Mid-December, because it’ll take at least that long for them to hand-count 2.8 million ballots

Also adding to the mix is the possibility that Independent Sen. Joe Lieberman of Connecticut, who currently caucuses with the Democrats, might switch caucuses, either through his own choice, or because the Democrats might kick him out of their caucus for supporting John McCain.

So, in order to get to 60 votes, the Democrats have to win all four of the outstanding races, and keep Joe Lieberman. As the magic 8-ball would say: Outlook not so good.

96% of precincts reporting:
Republican Saxby Chambliss: 49.9%
Democrat Jim Martin 46.7%

Under Georgia law, if neither candidate wins a majority, the two highest vote-getters must face each other in a runoff held on Dec. 2. This seat was never likely to be won outright by Jim Martin, but Democrats hoped that they could send it to a runoff, which it looks like they have accomplished. We won’t know officially until next week when the results are certified.

85% of precincts reporting
Republican Gordon Smith: 47.21%
Democrat Jeff Merkley: 46.87%

This race could still potentially go either way, as they’re still counting votes. However, it seems pretty safely Democratic, since one of the largest sections of ballots left to count is in heavily Democratic Multnomah County, where Portland is located. Merkley is currently leading Multnomah with 67% of the vote, and 60% of the votes counted.

Oregon takes a long time to count their votes since they practice mail-in voting, where all ballots must be processed in one central location. Yesterday they were predicting that they would finish counting today.

99.3% of precincts reporting
Republican Ted Stevens: 48.06% 106351 votes
Democrat Mark Begich: 46.54% 102998 votes

In addition to 3 precincts, there are 46,156 Absentee votes, 9507 Early votes, and 5725 disputed votes left to be counted. Begich would have to come out 5 percentage points ahead in this group in order to take the lead, which seems unlikely.

Should Stevens be re-elected, and either resign or be expelled from the Senate, Alaska law requires a special election to be held within 90 days, limiting the duration of any Sarah Palin appointee. Apparently, there is some question as to whether this law violates the US Constitution, however.

Minnesota: (my home state)

With 100% of precincts reporting, as of 9:26am on 11/6/2008
Democrat Al Franken: 41.98% 1,211,167 votes
Republican Norm Coleman: 41.99% 1,211,644 votes
Independence Party Dean Barcley: 15.16% 437,382 votes

This is a difference of 477! votes out of over 2.8 million cast. To give you an idea of how close that is, there were 2,341 write-in votes, which is over 5 times the number of votes separating Coleman and Franken.

According to Minnesota law, the state must pay for a recount if the margin of victory is less that 0.5%, which is exactly what is happening now. Minnesota uses exclusively paper ballots, which voters mark with a pen, so we won’t have any of the Florida hanging-chad business. The vast majority of voters use precinct-based, optical scan voting machines, which have the advantage of immediately spitting incorrectly marked ballots back to the voter, which greatly reduces inadvertent voter error. Optical scan machines also have a very low error rate, but it’s certainly greater than 0.01%. Minnesota law also provides some pretty clear guidelines for how to handle disputed ballots in a recount. With an optical-scan ballot, you have to fill in an oval, or complete an arrow, for your vote to be machine-counted. However, if you make any other clear indication of intent on the ballot, your vote will be counted during a recount. This includes a check mark, an x, circling the candidate’s name, whatever. The only thing you can’t do is put your initials on the
ballot, or some other mark that’s intended to identify it. Lawyers from either party can challenge a ballot, and if it is disputed, it will be sent to St. Paul to be reviewed by the state canvassing board, which consists of the (Democratic) Secretary of State, and four non-partisan judges, appointed by non-partisan judges. Every ballot must be examined by hand, which is likely to take a very long time. The last time Minnesota had a recount in a major statewide race was the 1962 Governor’s race, where the race flipped twice, and the margin was even closer than this one. That recount dragged on until March. This one is unlikely to last quite that long.

Al Franken is a former SNL writer, liberal talk-show host, and comedian. Norm Coleman is the Democrat turned Republican former mayor of St. Paul, MN, and was elected to the Senate in 2002, following a late-October plane crash that killed the Democratic incumbent, Paul Wellstone. Former vice president Walter Mondale was drafted at the last minute to take Wellstone’s spot on the ballot, but narrowly lost to Coleman. The Governor at the time was Jesse Ventura, of the Independence party, who had initially promised to appoint the winner of the election to fill out the remaining 2 months of Wellstone’s term, thus giving the new Minnesota senator a seniority advantage over the rest of the freshman senators, but ended up appointing Dean Barcley, of his own Independence Party, to serve for 2 months.