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The Election Blog Begins

11:38 It’s been a long day but a short night; however, station WRM is signing off for the evening. I’ll have more to say about what the election means about the state of the country in the next few days, but for now it’s enough to know that President Obama has been elected to a second term despite a strong challenge from Governor Romney. Overall, I’d say it was less a weakness in Romney than the absence of a convincing GOP message to Americans worried about bread and butter issues like health care and the social entitlements programs. By keeping the House in GOP hands voters seem to be saying that they don’t trust either party with full control in Washington — even with all the risks and costs of gridlock. I think they are right in that; neither party is ready for undivided power.

11:17 As MSNBC calls the national election for Obama, students burst into applause. But some doubt: they turn to Fox to make sure. When Fox calls the election, another burst of cheers. “It’s real! He’s re-elected!”

11:13 Fox calls Ohio for Obama; cheers among the students. Four more years.

11:05 Student at the computer attempts to switch away from the Daily Show. Boos, hisses, force a retreat.

11:03 Students demand switch to the Daily Show. More fun, and about as much information as the other channels.

10:51 Students getting restless; the narrative arc of the election doesn’t fit their expectations. If this were a scripted drama, it would have ended by now.

10:41 Becoming horribly clear that the election isn’t going to help us resolve the fiscal cliff. Of course, one or both parties could be swept by an outbreak of statesmanship. Also, wood elves and magic squirrels may bring enough fairy gold to the Capitol to balance the budget.

10:29 Two clear results tonight: first, Obama will run better among Jews than among the public at large. Second, idiots everywhere will continue to believe that “the Jews” demand hardline policies in the Middle East.

10:25 As ABC calls Wisconsin and New Hampshire for Obama, the students sense the beginning of the end. Cheers, foot stomps.

10:18 A ragged, very ragged chorus of “God Bless America” breaks out among the students; unsure if this is a response to the presidential vote or the marijuana referendums.

10:13 A big night for the Democrats in the Senate. For the second election cycle in a row, Tea Party candidates punt seats GOP should have won. Will the lesson sink in?

10:09 Pot referendum in Washington looks strong; loudest response of the evening from students. Actually, from one student.

10:02 Bard students planning “victory march.”

9:57 Race over? John Ellis calls it for Obama.

9:56 ABC calls Clinton the winner over Dole. Seriously.

9:48 Feed switches to Al-Jazeera. The panelists seem happy with the returns so far.

9:39 The evidence is piling up: the voters want more of the same from Washington DC. White House, Senate, House looking basically unchanged.

9:21 Students applaud as ABC calls Pennsylvania for Obama with 9 percent of the vote. Dick Morris says the networks will eat their Pennsylvania calls, but the train is moving on.

9:17 The Romney path continues to narrow; Fox and NBC have called Pennsylvania for Obama. Florida and Ohio both now look essential.

9:01 The news that Fox has called Michigan for Obama gets the first applause from the crowd here at Bard. Their instincts are good; while Romney wasn’t going to carry Michigan, the fact that it can be called so quickly is not a good sign for him.

8:51 The news feed switches to MSNBC. Sharpton is speaking. The students tune out.

8:48 Not many New Hampshire votes are in, but this is a state where Romney needs to do well to have a good night nationally. So far, that isn’t happening.

8:41 Fascinating phenomenon: students chattered while ABC was broadcasting. When the feed switched to Fox, a hush fell.

8:33 The news is coming in slowly. The students are discussing fantasy football; the news feed switches to Fox.

8:18 If my Twitter feed knows what it’s talking about, we may not be up that late tonight. The exit polls are looking very good for Obama.

8:12 EST: The projector is up and running; students beginning to assemble and the food is being unpacked. They are nervous; for some, it’s the first election they feel they have really followed or understood. I spoke to one earlier this evening: “I’m not voting this time,” he said. “I don’t believe in voting for the lesser of two evils, and I don’t really see that much difference between them.” He voted for Obama in 2008.

7:57 EST: Technical Difficulties! The students are setting up the projector on which we’ll watch streaming election results, at least in theory. There seem to be a few bugs in the system, but the good thing about being in a room of teen and twenty somethings is that somebody will eventually be able to fix whatever technical issues exist. The word is that South Carolina has gone for Romney and Vermont for Obama. No upsets there.

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