The Electoral Map: Building a Path to Victory

Well, the big week is finally here. First comes early voting, made ever more exciting by transparent efforts of voter suppression in key swing states. Then tomorrow comes the main course, Election Day, where Americans make their symbolic stand, bringing truth to power, yelling into an indifferent wind which whisks away their voices regardless of its direction. Then comes the absentee ballot counting and finally, contentious legal wrangling, brazen cheating and desperate impeachment Hail Marys. 

Tomorrow I will be in the swamp, Washington DC, covering the election from inside NPR headquarters. I plan on distracting everybody who is there trying to do “serious” work by tweeting snarky things about their work habits, making them look at the silly charts I come up with and rattling off the darkest, most cynical quotes that come to mind — for instance, this gem from Lewis Lapham’s preamble to the Lapham’s Quarterly Politics issue:

"The ritual performance of the legend of democracy in the autumn of 2012 promises the conspicuous consumption of $5.8 billion, enough money, thank God, to prove that our flag is still there."

I’ll be liveblogging the election from the belly of NPR, in DC — the distended belly of this country (we have this bovine multiple stomach thing going on) — at my personal Tumblr, on Twitter (@ilovecharts) and with charts here. Please join in the fun so I feel less lonely and weird with all the official political types.

On a serious note: All cynicism aside, I encourage you all to vote — apathy and frustration serve only the establishment and indeed are fueled by those who would rather we be quiet in our discontent. That said, I advise you not to put too much stake in this election. It is not “the end of the world” one way or the other, much as each party wants you to see it that way. Do not expect this election to solve your problems or the problems you see on a larger scale. Real change takes stamina, persistence and the will to continually educate yourself, to reevaluate your positions, expand your capacity for empathy. Real change involves local elections, Thanksgiving conversations and yes, even the occasional Tumblr post. So, tomorrow is an important day, but so is every other one.

Happy Election Week!