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HindustanTimes Sat,19 Jul 2014
Anirudh Bhattacharyya: Romney deals with defeat since he’s a teetotaller
Anirudh Bhattacharyya, Hindustan Times
November 07, 2012
First Published: 01:12 IST(7/11/2012)
Last Updated: 10:00 IST(7/11/2012)

Paul Ryan, Mitt Romney’s running mate, is probably not going to be Vice-President, but he’s going to remain a member of the US House of Representatives, since he’s won re-election in that US Congress seat.

Right, he was contesting that seat as well.

That’ll be a downer for him anyway since he was partly selected for Romney to win Wisconsin, which never happened, not even close.

Talking of downers, I wonder how Romney deals with defeat since he’s a teetotaller.

Which is a nice segue into a great tweet from conservative Jonah Goldberg: “It’s a cash bar at Romney headquarters. Means they’ll be able to retire any campaign debts by morning”


David Axelrod keeps his moustache!

Just in case anyone missed it, senior Obama campaign advisor David Axelrod (who virtually created Obama, the 2008 candidate) had stressed he would shave off his moustache if Romney won any of these three state – Pennsylvania, Michigan and Minnesota.

That growth now appears safe from an attack by a blade.


The Indian angle

Setting aside the presidential race, there are a couple of fascinating contests for seats in the US Congress that Indians will be interested in.

First, in California, there’s Democrat Ami Bera who has a real shot at becoming just the third Indian-American to be elected to the US House of Representatives.

If he does so, he has to beat an incumbent, a very shaky Republican.

And then there’s a race in Hawaii, where Obama was born.

Keep an eye out for Tulsi Gabbard, who was born in American Samoa, who is almost certain to be the first Hindu to be elected to the House of Representatives.

And, in January, the first to take the oath of office on the Bhagavad Gita.


'Topsy turvy'
The talk of a Romney landslide appears to be rubble.

The state of Pennsylvania has been called for Obama early, though Romney made a serious play for it.

The very fact that the state was called early means that Romney’s campaign got little traction.

In fact, despite a WSJ.com flub which send out an alter posting the exact opposite result, Obama also easily carried Michigan, where Romney grew up and the state where his father was the Governor.

Speaking of governors, the State Romney governed, Massachusetts, is all Obama.


Tale of Florida and Ohio

That Mittmentum meme may have been a mirage.

Florida and Ohio are trending poorly for the Republican contender.

A loss in Florida and no one cares about Ohio any more since Romney will have no path to a win in electoral votes.

Conservatives are holding tight, liberals could be preparing to de-ice the bubbly.


Indiana: first state that's flipped

The first State that’s flipped (in electoral terms, obviously, though you have to worry about the mental health of voters in Ohio barraged by constant political advertising) is Indiana.

In 2008, Obama defeated John McCain by barely a one per cent margin.

This year, Romney has garnered those 11 electoral votes pretty comfortably.

Bottomline: a) Even if Obama is re-elected his electoral vote total from 2008 is going down, and, b) this result makes no real difference right now

What do the social media trends tell about the US polls?
These are the first social media elections in the United States. So, what do the trends tell us there?

According to Topsy.com which tracks mentions of candidates over the last hour, Obama has a lead, with over 1.1 million mentions while Romney’s at around 900,000.

Meanwhile, users in the US, are seeing a special Facebook box asking them whether they’ve voted and a link to an app to locate their closest polling station.

However, as with all social media, pictures of cats and lines of platitudes are outpolling both candidates.

Got ID?
One of the curious issues about American elections is the debate over voter IDs.

Apparently, the Democratic Party argues that asking voters for identification will depress turnout among the poor and the elderly. That makes little sense. Any voter in India will know that; the poorest exercise their franchise despite that requirement. What makes it even stranger is that when Barack Obama cast an early vote in Chicago, he showed ID.

United Nations election observers in the US are amazed that voters need no ID to cast their ballots. More from Foreign Policy here. So, are these marks of a banana republic? One guy (or gal) in a gorilla suit voted, the kind of event that should make observers go ape. Here’s the video.

In fact, anyone attending the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, North Carolina, had to have ID. Actually, even if you want to buy cigarettes or alcohol in the US, you need to show ID!

Who'll have the last laugh?
Bush's Brain Karl Rove predicts that Republican Mitt Romney has a base of around 280 electoral votes, or, in plain English, he wins the election. The polls suggest otherwise.

My prediction: It may just be a long night. While the punditry is busy reading the tea leaves, I think stocking up on coffee is a better idea.

The earliest and the clearest indicator will be what happens in the state of Virginia, which Obama won in 2008. If Romney loses that, he's toast. If he captures it, he may have a lot to toast once the results are in.


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