digby (5:22 p.m. EST): Following up on Atrios' point in Glenn's post below, I have to say that it isn't totally unreasonable to be nervous, if not for Obama, but for turnout in the west. The networks appear to be poised to call this election at the earliest possible moment, even though we have some tight races in the west and some very important ballot initiatives like Prop Hate (8) here in California. They are all saying that we'll "know" by 7pm EST, which means that many of the after work voting crowd in the west could decide to blow it off.
After 2000, I would have thought they'd learned their lesson about affecting the outcome of elections with their premature calls. Apparently not.
Glenn Greenwald (7:41 p.m. EST): This is what all of you should try hard to avoid.
Paul Maslin (7:35 p.m. EST): The exit poll and real time data suggests nothing different than what I thought going in -- a big Obama and Democratic victory. The only question is how big -- with Indiana, Missouri and North Carolina in the balance and two or three senate seats that could be the difference between 58 and 60 or 61. So far it seems to be the bigger of the options. Indiana has nothing in yet from the Urban NW or Indianapolis.
Glenn Greenwald (7:33 pm EST): One of the most rapidly updated and thorough places online to obsessively follow returns as they come in seems to be here, where you can not only follow the returns in real time, but also see from which counties the returns are coming. In Indiana, for instance, the vote total has been and continues to be very close, though two huge Obama counties -- Marion (Indianapolis) and Lake (Gary), as well as Bloomington (a very pro-Obama college town) -- have not reported anything yet (though there are also undoubtedly many pro-McCain counties that haven't either). That seems to bode well for Obama, since he's running more or less even in pro-McCain territory.
On CNN, everyone was sitting around heaping praise on Howard Dean and giving him immense credit for how he revitalized the Democratic Party organizationally, with a particular focus on his previously controversial 50-state strategy. Suddenly, Bill Bennett mentioned that James Carville had previously called for Dean to be fired a mere two years ago (Carville: "I would describe his leadership as Rumsfeldian in its competence"), and Carville became very defensive and angry and insisted (as Beltway members in good standing always do) that he was actually right.
digby (7:29 p.m. EST): Has anyone tuned in to the financial network gasbags today? For a minute, I thought I was watching the Christian Broadcasting Network -- Armageddon is at hand.<</p>
Apparently, that Marxist terrorist Obama is going to take all their hard earned money and use it to destroy capitalism. Who knew?
Joan Walsh (7:25 p.m. EST): Here's what Nate Silver has to say about Indiana:
Just looking at some of the places where we have results in so far. Obama is substantially outperforming Kerry -- which is what he needs to do to win the state, of course, but the differences are pretty substantial.
Steuben: Kerry 34%, Obama 42%
DeKalb: Kerry 31%, Obama 38%
Knox: Kerry 36%, Obama 54%
Marshall: Kerry 31%, Obama 50%
If that holds, it will be huge for Obama.
Gary Kamiya (7:09 p.m. EST): The hour has tolled, it's after 7 pm EST, and a wave of returns is about to break. Virginia could tell the whole tale. The waiting all day has been agonizing. Everyone I talk to is about to lose it. You can feel the whole country, the whole world, holding its breath. It's like a hundred World Series game sevens or Super Bowls rolled into one. I'm almost clinging to the banality of watching the talking heads going on and on about minutiae because it's too hard to think about this except as a horse race. It's too big. It's like waiting for a cancer prognosis -- or the answer to a marriage proposal.
Rebecca Traister (6:56 p.m. EST): Signs that everything in the world is turning inside out (in a good way!) this fine November day: It's Election Day at 6:25 pm, and on MSNBC, Chris Matthews is loving him some Hillary Clinton. Talking to Harold Ford Jr., Matthews has just argued that Clinton, his perennial hobgoblin, and the politician he seemed intent on chasing out of this presidential race from day one, played a key role in Barack Obama's (still hypothetical, yet-imaginary, and very much jinx-able) victory. Yes, he's really saying it! Again and again!
"Starting with her rather dramatic departure at the National Building Museum," said Matthews, "that dramatic close -- a bit late I would argue [ed note: and you did argue it! Often!] -- then giving that really positive speech in Denver...I have a sense that she shut down the PUMA movement pretty well." People who were what Matthews called "real Democrats" came around to Obama in part thanks to Clinton, Matthews argued.
Ford laughed and agreed. "I have to think she helped in Pennsylvania, I have to think she helped in Florida."
Not 20 minutes later, Matthews was asking former Clinton backer, governor Ed Rendell how powerful the New York Senator's presence had been in Pennsylvania. "Hillary did an extraordinary job with her presence throughout this state," said Rendell, noting that "the Clinton feminist voters are all for Barack. The working class blue-collar white voters [who backed Clinton]...they're gonna split."
Matthews was tickled! "It's very interesting what you just said -- that women who care about women's issues -- choice, minimum wage, equal pay -- Hillary delivered that vote," he said. As for the blue collar voters, Matthews conceded, "to bring them all over was a hard job for her."
I always suspected that pundits would be talking about Clinton on November 4, but it's quite a pleasant surprise to hear them giving her credit for busting her ass for Obama, rather than trying to lay any blame at her feet.
Last night on the special "Saturday Night Live" Presidential Bash, there was a sketch from earlier this year in which Amy Poehler imitated a late-spring Clinton as a craven competitor who vows to be a sore loser and not help Obama in the general election. The skit was hitting such a sour, wrong note in light of Clinton's third-limb commitment to the Obama-Biden ticket in this late summer and fall, that it was a tremendous relief to see it interrupted by a (pre-taped and still very pregnant) Poehler, in Hillary character, laughing and laughing, cutting the sketch short, and essentially saying: We were all wrong about her.
And even more remarkable to see people admitting it.
David Sirota (6:40 p.m. EST): Just got back from a little tour of polling places and Obama field operations. Basically, the word is that in Denver -- the most populous county in this swing state -- there have been little problems with long lines because so many people have voted early or by mail. Seems to me making it as easy to do those things in other states is a good way to deal with what Rachel Maddow calls the 21st century poll tax of long lines.