Obama & Biden or McCain & Palin? Ahead of FM4's live coverage from Washington DC, Steve Crilley ponders the final week of campaigning.
Who's gonna win one week from today? I've given up predicting. This election has had so many twists and turns. You would think elections are dominated only by the big issues ... overseas wars, how much money people have in their pockets, jobs etc. But when I look back over the past 6 months there are plenty of other insanely banal reasons why Americans will have chosen one candidate over the other.
Here's my list of unforeseen factors that (to date) have played no small part in swinging people's loyalty between the candidates:
The Reverend Wright
The invasion of Georgia
"I can see Russia from my house"
John McCain suspending his campaign
Tiny Fey & Saturday Night Live parodies
What is the Bush doctrine?
Colin Powell endorses Obama
Sarah Palin's $150,000 wardrobe bill
And Joe the Plumber... Joe the librarian... Joe the ice-cream salesman!
I'm also wondering if (like 4 years ago) Bin Laden is about to make a well-timed video appearance and we could add that to the list?
Despite the opinion polls, I really don't think Obama has got this election sewn up. I wonder how much the so-called Bradley effect will kick in. And as the Guardian Newspaper pointed out, type in "Obama and Revelations 13 into Google and 904,000 entries come up". It indicates there is a sizeable portion of people (not just crazies) contemplating the possibility that Obama is indeed the anti-Christ.
Memories of 2004
I keep on imagining waking up the day after election day, like in 2004 and wondering - how did the Democrats manage to let it slip through their finger tips again. Four years ago, on a cold election day morning I stood outside a polling booth in a residential suburb of Washington DC and marveled at a massive queue. I spoke with a elderly guy who told me that he'd lived in that area for decades and had never seen anything like those numbers of people queuing on election day. It could only mean Democrats were so outraged by Bush that they were motivated to vote in their masses against Republicans.
We were getting word that such voter turnout was being replicated across the country. John Kerry was a sure-fire winner! 18 hours later, we were sitting a radio studio & the whole thing had ground to a halt over Ohio although the numbers then weren't looking so good anymore for Kerry.
FM4 News/ Reality Check - Live from Washington
From tomorrow, Paul Brennan and I will be in Washington immersing ourselves in election fever, reporting live into FM4 as the results come in on election night. We'll also be hitting the think tanks, research institutes, university campuses and drawing opinion from all sides. We're looking forward to sitting down with some of our favourite analysts like Eleanor Clift at Newsweek Magazine and Bruce Hoffman at Georgetown University whose predictions in 2004 all came true. But some of the most poignant thoughts came from people you just happen to bump into. Amos the taxi-driver outside the Whitehouse....the police cop who was having a coffee break mortified about the Patriot Act being used against people's civil liberties.
It seems like we've been in election mode for at least the last 18 months and the long wait is almost over. I wonder how many more surprises we are going to get over the next few days...election machines that don't work.. lost ballot papers.. too close to call swing states... delayed results? Whatever happens and whoever eventually wins... this is going to be an amazing election and the next Administration will be paying very careful attention to avoid all the mistakes of the last 8 years.