Tuesday, 4 November 2008

Election day

Our departure this morning has been delayed a bit, so another chance to blog. [Obviously the posts below make better sense if read in reverse order but you could work for that out for yourself, I'm sure].

One of the interesting things about being ‘on the scene’ so to speak is to see how the media covers the election. I’m not convinced it’s in the bag for Obama, but the McCain campaign is already blaming it on a biased media (have they never seen Fox News?)

A few interesting snippets on this morning’s coverage. Apparently the Irish Catholics are switching to Obama. Traditionally staunch Democrats they swung to Bush in recent years on so-called ‘morality’ issues (i.e. abortion), but the importance of morality issues tends to pale when the economy becomes the main concern, so they’re back with the Democrats.

Turnout already seems to be high, and the lines are long. What’s bizarre about this election is that on the one hand it’s the ultimate in professionalized politics: the money spent, the TV ads, the organisation on the ground. On the other hand it feels like we’re in a developing country that has only recently embraced democracy: the poverty, the huge queues outside polling stations, the mono-ethnic precincts, people voting for the first time in their lives… It’s the two sides of America that Hurricane Katrina showed up so vividly.

We’re heading to Overtown soon, a predominantly black American neighbourhood, to see what’s going on at the polling stations. On Sunday I met a few of the 5000 attorneys who have headed for Florida to volunteer at the polls and advise people who are having trouble voting, (Florida having a certain notoriety in this respect, of course). So we’ll be in Obama territory, but might be seeing something of the McCain campaign at some point too, if we venture further afield.

No comments: