A race that stops a nation – the first Tuesday of November


Famous photograph of Truman grinning and holding up a copy of the newspaper that erroneously announced his defeat, Wikipedia

Just one more day and the election of 2012 will be over; each of the major parties has threatened us with the horror of the other party winning.  It is a doomsday scenario, if that party wins the country will not survive.  I am seriously afraid, because no matter what happens at the polls, that party will win and therefore the country is doomed.  Unfortunately, I was not a boy scout and have no post-doomsday plans; however, I am an eternal optimist and believe that we will all survive the election, even if we were slightly wounded in the battle.

There is one segment of the population that is certain to suffer greatly after the election – the media.  What will all of those talking heads have to talk about – wouldn’t be a wonderful bonus for the rest of us if they took some time off and we had, dare I say the word, silence?  Having nothing to say is not the worse effect the media will feel though, the advertising revenues of all the major media are going to take a nose dive.  The last number is six billion; that is $6 billion dollars have been spent on the election in general – the majority of that spent on radio, television and newspaper advertising.   In an update on the casino ballot question in Maryland, that number is up to $87 million; if there is any good news in that number it is the balance between the “for” and “against” spending – the have each spent almost exactly the same amount of money on the campaign.  The media has had to gear up for this campaign season, not just in Maryland, but everywhere; now they will have to ramp down, it will be a long time before they see the likes of that $6 billion.

On the presidential front, the polls have the two candidates at a dead-heat, while international bettors favor the incumbent three to one. There has been little written on the subject, but two sources that I respect, both Englishmen,  think the betting system will prove to be more accurate.  If it is it probably will begin to take a larger role in future election forecasting.  A couple of years or so ago there was a serious movement in government circles to use the same methodology to predict terrorists attacks; the idea did not win favor in the press and dropped out of sight, but I would guess that does not mean it went away, simply it is no longer publicly discussed.  With an election that might not be true – if the bettors turn out to be even close to right on this election, the media will gladly turn to them to help in future elections.  For the major media outlets this is a big contest, the winner of that contest will be the one to first predict the winner of the presidential election. No newspaper wants to ever again be caught trumpeting the election of Thomas Dewey.

So tomorrow is the race-day, in the United States, but it is also race-day in Australia.  Like the American election, the Melbourne Cup is run on the first Tuesday of November.  Like all great races – and elections – it is a day of racing horses, betting, bragging and boozing.  The race has been run since 1861 – a tradition nearly as grand as our election –  it is called that race that stops the nation.  In Australia as in the United States, everything kind of comes to a stop while the horses run round – the excited spectators with betting stubs firmly in hand stand and wait breathlessly for the first horse to cross the finish line.  Isn’t that what we will be doing tomorrow, waiting breathlessly with our betting stubs gripped tightly to see which horse crosses the line in first place – cheering our horse on and yet fearing he will get passed in the final stretch and all will be lost?

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5 Responses to “A race that stops a nation – the first Tuesday of November”


  1. 1 rexdstock1 November 5, 2012 at 7:18 pm

    While it is true that lying and politicians are not strange bedfellows, in times not too distant, the “truth” eventually came out, regrettably much too late after the fact.  Think Iraq war. 

    What makes this election so remarkable is that the person who has pieces of crap like Addelson and Koch provide hundreds of millions of dollars to spread those lies, that person–and his entire party–does not even attempt to hide his lies… Whatever wins.

    And you wrote a scathing rebuke of Obama changing his mind on using Super Pacs.  His doing so is still the equivalent of bringing a dull scout knife to a gun fight, and the gun these old fat white guys and gals tout has a 90-round clip…

    And, there’s a world of a difference between Romney and Obama, just as there was a world of difference between Gore and Bush 43.   

    Fucking lying pieces of shit.

    ________________________________

  2. 2 Bill Hanigan November 5, 2012 at 11:04 pm

    Wow !! How do you follow a response like that. From a position outside the election histrionics didn’t really help a rational position.A charismic Obama vs a rather dead Romaney, policies ???? But,hey Rex why the anger here ?
    I think basically we all want a liberal (Reagan/Clinton) government in the US and the world outside is looking for some guidance. I hope we all obtain that.

  3. 3 Ken Adams November 6, 2012 at 12:29 pm

    Bill – that is one of the strange things about this election – the emotions it has generated. One Facebook I have seen many very angry people – representing both sides of the aisle – I am not certain that I have ever seen its equal before; but I do think we will see more of it in the future. I think people were less angry in the Depression, Civil War and even the labor disputes of the early part of the 20th century. Even thought people fought each other over principles, I don’t think they demonized each in quite the same way it is being done now. Are Australia politics as volatile?

  4. 4 bill hanigan November 9, 2012 at 6:01 pm

    Don’t ask me about Australian politics. When our atheist childless single Prime Minister lectures the opposition leader on being a sexist misogynist while she is defending the stood down speaker, whose vote she relies on to hang onto power and who truly is a misogynist you have some idea of the state of Australian politics. Especially when said opposition leader has 3 daughters, 2 sisters and a female chief of staff.
    But to your realm. How much damage was done to Romney by the Primary process and the very negative attack adds prior to his nomination ? How is it that the Republican Latino vote has halved since Bush in 2004 and the black vote is 4-5% ? If you look solely at the white vote, Romney overwhelmingly won. As the Black & Latino vote is going to become increasingly a larger % of the total, how in earth are the Republicans going to make up for lost ground ? I thought Romney was forced to the Right in the primaries by Gingricht and Santorum, neither of whom had a chance of winning an election and suffered as he tried to regain the centre. It seems the Republicans have been hijacked by the no compromising Tea Party, much as the Labor Party in Australia has been hijacked by the loony Left and the loony Greens. I thought politics was a fight for the centre.

  5. 5 Ken Adams November 9, 2012 at 6:31 pm

    Well maybe that is it, the loonies are driving major to the left or two the right; however, after this election – and it will be much more dramatic in 4 years – it is clear the former minorities are too large to ignore and the former majority is becoming too small to determine policy. Now we just have to work to keep the loonies out of office.


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