Keep Calm and Read FiveThirtyEight

Four years ago, amidst all the hope and change hoopla, the selection of Sarah Palin for the vice presidential slot on the GOP ticket created some media coverage, a jolt of enthusiasm (and some nasty racist bloviating at rallies) and a small blip upward in the polls for John McCain. The folks on the blue side of the ledger started to panic. I counseled them at the time that “No-Drama Obama” was not in any way imperiled and the election was in the bag. This year, the election versus Romney will likely be closer and consequently my Democratic friends are fretting again.

“Hey, guys: (in the non-gender California sense of the word) things are looking good, don’t get your knickers in a twist!” Here’s a couple of reasons why:

1) GOP voter suppression backfired. The D’s fought off the worst of the R’s voter suppression scams.

2) The Obama campaign still organizes better than its opposition The President’s GOTV (get out the vote) “ground game” is considerably more advanced than Mittens’ operation. Obama’s own early vote in Illinois today is a brilliant tactical move that will heighten his already big advantage in that area.

3) Demographics are destiny. People laughed when The Emerging Democratic Majority was published in 2004. The Clinton years seemed almost like a mirage in between the Reagan/Bush/Bush years. No one’s laughing now! In 2008, Obama won Republican strongholds like Indiana, Virginia and North Carolina. Former toss-up states like Pennsylvania, California and New Mexico are now solidly Democratic. Younger voters, Latinos, African-Americans, women are all taking a larger slice of the electoral pie–and they are overwhelmingly on the D’s side.

4) Nate Silver says Obama’s going to win. The creator of the FiveThirtyEight blog has had the chances of an Obama victory at 70% for quite some time. There has been little substantive change. Silver crushes the numbers of all relevant polls, weights them according to previous outcomes and applies other magic mathematical formulas that my largely innumerate liberal arts education has rendered me unable to follow. He is the man.

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