As we all relearned in 2000, the person who gets the most votes nationwide is not necessarily the person who wins the election. The electoral college has a math, and a sort of logic, of its own. There is a great website, "Dave Leip's Atlas of U.S. Presidential Elections" that allows you to look at the electoral college breakdown in previous elections, including state popular vote results for each year. Easy to use, this is the best way to get a sense of the partisan history of the different swing states.
A little over a week ago, I was speaking with former US ambassador to the Holy See, Thomas Melady. We were discussing the closeness of the polling in the presidential election. Mr. Melady is one of the national co-chairs of “Catholics for Romney” so, as you can imagine, his politics are not my politics, but I enjoy the ambassador’s take on issues and always learn a great deal from our conversations. After a few minutes, Melady said, “Well, whatever happens, the country must come together after the election.” I replied, “There it is.
Blessings on Ruth Marcus for raising concerns about early voting. Of course, in this election cycle, the big news on voting is that some in the GOP have abandoned what had been a long tradition of bipartisan commitment, embodied in the League of Women Voters, to increase voter participation. It is shameful and it is also shameful that so few conservative voices have been raised against it.
Over at Religion & Politics, David Gibson suggests that American politics may have reached its "Catholic Moment" but that it is anyone's guess if American Catholics will figure out how to make the most of such a moment. Very insightful piece as we have come to expect from Gibson. Full disclosure: I am on the advisory board of Religion & Politics but I did not solicit nor edit Gibson's article.
A new poll in the Indiana Senate race shows Democrat Joe Donnelly opening up a significant lead, 47% to 36%, over Republican Richard Mourdock. Donnelly is a pro-life Democrat which makes him, like a pro-immigration reform Republican, gold. As well, Mourdock has disgraced himself twice, first by demonstrating an allergy to bipartisanship, which is the last thing DC needs, and second by doing such a dreadful job of explaining why his commitment to the sanctity of life should be reflected in law.
As I mentioned on Monday, rarely do we get an October jobs' report before election day, but we got one this year. And, the numbers are surprisingly good even though I doubt they will have much of an effect on the election.
This is the second time I have found myself unable to vote for a Democratic incumbent seeking re-election to the presidency. In 1996, the straw that broke the camel’s back was President Clinton’s refusal to intervene in Bosnia during the siege of Bihac, but the camel’s back had been weakened by Clinton’s inability to articulate the kind of left-leaning economic populist message and policies that would have challenged the ascendancy of the moneyed interest.
Washington Post columnist E.J. Dionne has joined the list of prominent liberal Catholics arguing against the referendum in Massachusetts that would legalize physician assisted suicide. I will have more on this tomorrow.
Professor David Cloutier has an important article up at Commonweal. Cloutier, who teaches theology at that notoriously leftie hangout Mt. St. Mary's in Emmitsburg (that's a joke people!), examines the use of the concept "intrinsic evil" in the current political debate. With greater erudition, learning and theological heft, Cloutier makes the point I have been making for some time - it is the wrong category and its misuse makes the bishops look like they don't know what they are talking about.
Last week, Mitt Romney said that "he read" somewhere that Jeep was going to send all of its Ohio jobs to China. Chrysler officials politely pointed out this was completely not the case. Then Romney launched an ad that repeats the same canard, only extending the warning to include GM. Corporate officials usually do not jump into partisan fights. After all, both Democrats and republicans buy cars. But, Romney's brazen lie required a response.