If you are watching the election returns on television Tuesday night and you keep watching the tally of votes nationwide you are wasting your time and the television network is wasting its time along with doing you an injustice.
It is all about electoral votes. If Barack Obama gets 12,000,001 votes in Florida and Mitt Romney gets 12,000,000 votes in the Sunshine State then President Obama gets all 29 electoral votes. Romney’s 12,000,000 votes do not count for anything.
If Mitt Romney gets 2,000,000 votes in Alabama and Barack Obama gets 1,000,000 then Romney gets all of Alabama’s nine Electoral College votes. However, Romney could have gotten only 1,000,001 votes and still have received all nine of our electoral votes. The 1,000,000 vote surplus margin is thrown out and Obama’s 1,000,000 votes are thrown out under our current system.
Polling and past voting histories are very accurate barometers as to what is going to happen in politics. Therefore, polling and precedent indicate that about 40 of the 50 states are safe, predetermined outcome states. It is a pretty safe bet that California and New York are going to vote for the Democratic candidate for president. You can also bet your bottom dollar that Alabama, Tennessee and South Carolina are going to vote for the GOP candidate.
The political pros are so sure of this outcome that both campaigns have ignored 40 states during this campaign. They not only have not campaigned in 40 states, they have not spent any money on advertising in these states. We are one of the 40. However, before you feel cheated and ignored, put yourself in the place of California. They have 15 percent of the nation’s population and have contributed 18 percent of the campaign funds and they have been ignored also and all their money has been spent elsewhere.
That elsewhere is the nine to ten pivotal swing battleground states. Their demographic makeup places them in this precious category of not being predictable. They can go either way. They are in play. These states that have garnered all of the attention, campaign stops and campaign money are Colorado, Florida, Iowa, Ohio, Nevada, New Hampshire and Virginia. Watch the results from these states Tuesday night. The most pivotal and important are Florida with 29 electoral votes and Ohio with 18 electoral votes.
What will drive the vote in these important battleground states? The economy. Barack Obama won because of the economy in 2008. If he loses Tuesday it will be because of the economy. The unemployment numbers are critical. That out of work steelworker in Ohio, who voted for Barack Obama four years ago hoping he would help his plight, if he is still out of a job today, four years later, will vote for Mitt Romney Tuesday.
Obama has played the ethnic and economic class card to the hilt. He has harped and railed in all of his appearances in Florida, Ohio and Virginia that Romney is rich and for the rich. He says he is for ending tax cuts for the rich. Romney counters that Obama, who has never had a job in the private sector, does not understand economic issues and is in over his head. Not only has he not helped the economy but that his left wing approach has further hurt the nation’s economic recovery.
The election will not be close here in Alabama. McCain beat Obama 64 to 36 here in 2008. My guess is that it will be that bad again this year. Our nine electoral votes are pretty much in the bank. The only question to be answered on Tuesday night will be the margin of victory for Mitt Romney.
There are several significant constitutional amendments on our Alabama ballot Tuesday. One of the most important, as well as non-controversial, is the approval of Amendment 2. Gov. Bentley is urging approval of this measure, which he sees as being imperative in his efforts to secure new industry and jobs for the state. There appears to be little or no opposition to the measure.
Steve Flowers is Alabama’s leading political columnist. His column appears weekly in more than 70 Alabama newspapers. Steve served 16 years in the state legislature. He may be reached at www.steveflowers.us.