Here are my random thoughts on this election day, 2008--
It doesn't take a Ph.D. in punditry to understand that this will be a watershed election. The choices are so stark as to shock the imagination:
The first-ever African-American candidate for president
The first-ever woman candidate for vice-president
Youthful exuberance vs. wizened experience
Liberal vs. "maverick" conservative
Hope vs. fear
Statesmanship vs. vituperation
American prestige and worldwide respect restored vs. continued suspicion and contempt
US leadership on worldwide economic recovery vs. fumbling ineptness and indecision
US leadership on addressing the root causes of global warming vs. drill, baby, drill
Rebuilding American infrastructure vs. another four years and $600B squandered in Iraq
More freedom for more people vs. ongoing discrimination against gay men and lesbians
Competency and vision vs. incompetency and political expediency
Civility vs. fear-mongering
Statesmanship vs. demagoguery
Team depth vs. Ohmigod, SHE's commander-in-chief!
The issues are so clear-cut that I have serious trouble understanding how anyone could be undecided right up to the day of the election. (Polls indicate that perhaps 5% of voters still fall into this category.) I suspect that they know how they will vote, they just don't want to say. My guess is that 75% of them will vote for McCain.
It's this simple, if Obama wins, things will get better. If McCain wins, they will get worse.
McCain has no idea how to win in Iraq other than by keeping the troops there indefinitely. McCain has no new ideas on how to cure the economy. He says the economy is in the ditch but he helped to put it there, voting with George W. Bush's economic game plan every time.
McCain's theme of "Country First", while helping him connect with his base--which seems to have been the primary focus of his campaign, will not help to mend relations with Europe or Asia, let alone the Arab world.
McCain's willingness to listen to the admonitions of Karl Rove's proteges to take the low road--eschewing discussion of the issues in favor of personal attacks upon his opponent--during his campaign, will assure that the heavily Democratic Congress will have little inclination to cooperate with his legislative agenda. This would mean four years of likely deadlock, which would be disastrous for the country and the world. We've had quite enough of rule via executive orders, signing statements, and vetoes.
The plight of the shrinking middle class will continue. Good-paying jobs will continue to migrate oversees while ever-cheapening labor here in America will assure a growing supply of Mexican workers eager for the relative riches here, while native-born poor will continue their slide into despair. Health care will, even more so, be the sole province of the upper middle and elite classes.
With a Supreme Court packed with clones of Alito, Scalia, Thomas, and Roberts--assuming a President McCain can get his nominees confirmed in the Senate--women's power over their own bodies will be a thing of the past, consumers will find it nearly impossible to find compensation for their injuries in the US courts, and the notion that "all men are created equal" will become "you will get what we say you deserve".
In short, America's reputation for being a haven of individual liberty, equality for all, and the iron fist in the velvet glove in foreign affairs will be in danger of being lost forever. The political gutter-sniping that will have given McCain victory will become standard fare for decades to come. Soon, America will be but a shadow of it's greatest days and the world will curse our name as the chaos that is sure to come from global warming sweeps across our only planet home.
My prediction? Obama will win with close to 300 electoral votes and 52% of the popular vote. The joyful noise on the morrow will be heard around the world.