This year’s Presidential Election will be the most important in my lifetime… as per usual.
I was a fan of politics back in the day, when the process itself didn’t make me puke. I tuned in to the weekend talk shows eager to see who would say what, and even the most sold-out of hosts played it pretty middle of the road. I did the same this weekend: the most memorable prognosis was David Gergen who went so far as to say we may see a landslide, but he didn’t know for who…
Though I’m just a guy from Pittsburgh, I ended up living in a data driven world, and dealing with a lot of coastals. So I’ve been fascinated with a few interesting graphs like the Path to the White House from the NYTimes and Nate Silver’s BET THE FARM prognosis called 538. After 18 months, there are still hundred of permutations on the path to to 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue… which the rest of the world thinks is another exhibit for America’s case for self-inflicted insanity.
I also live in a world driven by Mobile and social – in fact I helped create it. I’m impressed (or bored or perturbed) by the frequency of Facebook or Twitter posts from friends who feel it’s a good time to share the scoop on the latest Gotcha charge from either camp. Events move dramatically, though they are played out before less people than back in the day, on network TV. Witness this week’s Sandy Storm; it featured the horror of Boardwalks falling into the sea (they are boards!), to cancelled marathons, to inter-party wet kisses on the jersey Shore in exchange for first dibs on FEMA help. Yet most of the rest of the country was faurly clueless as to the true effects of the storm. Or take the singular issue of the election: jobs. That’s the one thing that will save our economy, but that debate turned to offshoring, tax burdens and the auto bailout. The real value added jobs created by entrepreneurs are too often overlooked.
Those that follow are more engaged, more vocal… and thank god only carry just one vote apiece. This Presidential Election has certainly set a record for skewing of the truth and for willingness to play for the margin of error in states that still count. Nixon campaigned in 49 states in the last month of his election… Romney and Obama, more like a handful. The rest didn’t matter. Data has allowed us to zero in on the few votes that hang in the balance. And our mobile social world have allowed us, even driven us, to magnify differences among ourselves in order to make a breakaway move, left or right.
“If we are victorious in one more battle, we shall be utterly ruined.” King Pyrrhus once said. And indeed, my prediction is the winner tomorrow will face an impossibly divided Congress, a debt burdened Treasury, and a society whose place in the world would best be managed as a soft landing.
Good luck with that.
I think it’s a lock: our next President will be Pyrrhic.