Unless You Live In A Swing State
My seven-year-old son came up to me one day last week and said "Dad?" "Yes, son?", I replied. "I hate Mitt Romney".
Understand that we live in North Carolina and one of my son's favorite pastimes is playing a game called "Minecraft". But, besides actually playing Minecraft, he seems to spend almost as much time on Youtube watching videos of other kids playing Minecraft. On Youtube these days, at least in North Carolina, most Youtube ads are political ads.
"Why do you hate Mitt Romney?", I asked. I have never said anything to him about Mitt Romney, ever.
"Because Mitt Romney is rich and doesn't pay a lot of tax and wants to cut taxes on other rich people."
Like Garrison Keiler says, all kids are "above average", but my son is not more "above average" than any other kid. This message is just what he got, apparently, from having listened to a lot of political ads on Youtube. After he told me this story about "hating Mitt Romney", I then remembered that he had asked me the week before what "taxes" were and I answered without even thinking why he wanted to know. "Tax is money we pay for things like your school and your teachers, police, fire fighters, fixing the roads, picking up trash, things like that."
The Washington Post reported today that the election was close nationally, but not in swing states:
Nationally, the race is unmoved from early September, with 49 percent of likely voters saying they would vote for Obama if the election were held today and 47 percent saying they would vote for Romney. Among all registered voters, Obama is up by a slim five percentage points, nearly identical to his margin in a poll two weeks ago.
But 52 percent of likely voters across swing states side with Obama and 41 percent with Romney in the new national poll, paralleling Obama’s advantages in recent Washington Post polls in Florida, Ohio and Virginia.
In the Citizens United world that we live in, politics is now an air war. Lost a little bit in the chatter about the validity of polls has been the simple fact that the 2012 campaigns have not been waged the same way nationally as they have been in the swing states. And also I don't know, as a North Carolina resident, what the air war is really like in Virginia or Wisconsin or Iowa. All I really know is that my son now thinks Mitt Romney is trying to rip-off his teachers. Or something like that.
The national polls are meaningless. Completely meaningless. The system of electing presidents we have is the Electoral College – the only way to gauge who is "winning" is to tally the electoral college votes in each state according to some system, as we do here in our Electoral College List.