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Voters bitterly divided over US election

Democrats terrified of what Romney would do as president; Republicans panic that Obama will get a second term.
Last modified: 6 Nov 2012 05:20

I’ve been having a lot of conversations these days with Americans from all over the country. It’s not often that the same theme or undercurrent is apparent in all of my discussions, but now it’s clear and real and unavoidable.

I have to tell you: Americans are afraid. Democrats are terrified of what Governor Mitt Romney would do in the Oval Office.

Republicans are panicking that President Barack Obama will get a second term. As for the six per cent of Americans that the pollsters say are undecided, I can't tell you how they feel as I haven't met one of those yet.

I would think at this point they're thinking more about what is for dinner or what is on TV.

I mean really, it does seem like the election has been going on since I was in the 8th grade, how can they not know yet?

I am not a person who is known for a lack of words, but I have no idea what to say to these frightened people on either side. I have no idea how the presidential election is going to turn out. I have my suspicions, but to be honest it's just a guess.

I've been watching all of these professional well-paid television personalities confidently predict the outcome. They cite one poll, or historical tables, or just some kind of hidden psychic ability to know the unknowable, but they say it with gusto. They don't know.

They, I suspect, are just guessing.

The electoral math is easier for the president, but that's only if he keeps the traditional Democratic states.

Map and math

I can't help but wonder if the Romney camp knows something as they have scheduled a last-minute rally in Pennsylvania. If he can win suburban voters there, he changes the map and math.

It is, to use a cliche or two, a nail biter, down to the wire, too close to call. Get used to that, you'll be hearing all of those a lot over the next 24 hours. Americans like drama, think Hollywood and Disney World. I was a teenage girl at one point, so you just know, I can do drama.

I can't help thinking this is just intense. It isn't a film, a play, a teenage melodrama.

This is the presidency of the United States. Who wins has the potential to change the country's social safety net, the amount we all pay in taxes, whether we have war or peace. At least, that is the potential. The only problem, if the polls are to be believed, this is going to be a very close election.

I can’t help but wonder, if the election comes down to a fraction of the vote, how much legitimacy will the next president have? If you begin with the backing of the slightest majority of Americans, can you tackle the big problems, issues and complexities of a divided congress?

If you are wondering what I’m guessing right now, I’m beginning to think this will come down in one of two ways.

The numbers will either break definitively and early for one candidate, or this doesn't end on Tuesday. I hope for the sake of the country, I'm wrong on the last one. We've been there and it was not good for the fabric of this society.

Still even the possibility is a pretty strong indication of where this society is right now, it seems to me this is a nation divided and afraid.