The fight for 2012 began a long time ago. Assuming we are lucky enough to have an Obama victory tomorrow, the fight to destroy his presidency will begin immediately - in fact, it's already begun. The single best thing all Americans can do to prevent that from happening is to vote, no matter how long the lines, no matter how the election is called before all the polls are closed, no matter what.
Tristero also weighs in on networks "calling" the election early. How early? Before the polls in New York.
People, this is democratic malpractice, voter suppression. Senate and House races will be affected by this, as will the tally to defeat odious ballot initiatives like Prop Hate in California.
By way of analogy, Digby points out:
if the networks call the election early they will not only run the risk of being wrong, they will likely lower turnout in the west. That will affect our congressional and senate races as well as important ballot initiatives.
There is no reason for this ... They tease the results of the news for hours including the all important sporting events... There is no reason that they can't hold off calling the election until the polls are closed. None. Considering their egregious performance just eight years ago, I find it mind-boggling that they are talking about doing this.
Is there prestige (to the networks) in being the first to call the election correctly? Perhaps. We all should remember how the pundits hovered like vultures trying to scoop the Obama campaign's announcement of the democratic party Vice Presidential pick before it would be text messaged to Obama supporters. Is there political favor to be gained by potentially mucking up the works and offering premature calls as to the winner?
To impute motive is not helpful. The facts are these:
1. TV "News" Programs typically tease the viewer in order to keep watching, talking about WHAT they are going to talk about later on. Rather than offer an inducement for viewers to keep watching, calling the election early gives viewers a reason to turn off the tube.
2. Presidential elections are covered as "horse races" (sporting events) because that's a simpler story than going all substantive on issues (which are nuanced and detailed), or looking at the records of the candidates (which might look like negative reporting - ESPECIALLY in the case of McCain). If sports results were reported first thing on the news, viewership would quite likely decline thereafter.
3. Calling an election early tends to stifle voter turnout (Mayor Richard Daley the first was credited with no small amount of political genius for having the Chicago votes reported as quickly as possible, to make it look as if Kennedy had clinched Illinois, when in fact, Kennedy's Illinois margin was less than 10,000 votes).
Perhaps the networks should be deluged with phone calls saying please do not call the elections before the polls close. I'll call. Will you?