Monday, November 05, 2012

Too Close to Call?

On election night 2004, Jimmy Breslin went to bed early, certain that Kerry would win—in fact, "it shouldn't even be close". I've felt that way since the Republican primaries. I simply couldn't see how Obama could lose. The only thing that made me even consider the possibility was the media's insistence on treating it like a horse race. So I'm grateful to Paul Krugman for saying what I've been feeling must be true these past few weeks: "reporting that suggests that this is a too-close-to-call race [is] just lazy, and a disservice to readers."

What does this have to do with Breslin and Kerry? Well, Kerry lost, and Breslin's "service to readers" was to underscore the fraudulence of Bush's win before it happened. Krugman is doing us the same service now. He's reminding us that this election is not close. If Romney wins, that's not just one of the possibilities coming true. It's a minor miracle. Like Bush's win in 2004 was a major miracle. It should force pollsters and pundits and political scientists to explain something. It should not simply be accepted.

Tomorrow night, then, let's remember that "too close to call" means simply "close enough to fix". I, for one, am going to bed before the results come in.

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