How I’ll Spend Election Day

(Bloomberg Opinion) -- Election Day, at last. I’ll point everyone to Matt Glassman’s fun guide for how to do it the right way. Me? I usually flip through the cable networks, stopping on any channel that offers news as opposed to analysis – or, even worse, spin from the parties. I expect to get most of my news from Twitter, however. As the evening goes on, I usually find out what the key close races are, add experts from those states to my feed, and open tabs for secretary of state websites or wherever else votes are being tallied. 

I’ll also print out a few things in advance. One is the Daily Kos map of poll-closing times. Note Indiana (with a close Senate contest) and Kentucky (watch the 6th Congressional District) closing at 6:00 p.m. Eastern time, as well as Alaska (with an interesting gubernatorial race and a tough re-election fight for longtime Representative Don Young) closing at midnight. In addition, I’ll print out the House race ratings from the Cook Political Report and Daniel Nichanian’s comprehensive election checklist, which includes everything from congressional races to state legislatures to ballot measures to obscure local contests.

That’s after voting at some point during the day. I have to say I’m quite curious about how that will go. Here in Texas we’ve already surpassed the ballot total from 2014 in early voting alone. It’s not yet clear whether early voting mostly cannibalized regular Election Day turnout, or whether this year will look more like Presidential Election Lite than like a traditional midterm. Another possibility is that voters for one party simply turned out earlier than usual while the other party attracted tons of new voters. We just don’t know, but as I say I’m curious.

I’ll give the last word on Election Day to the great Roger Angell of the New Yorker, who at 98 has gone through a few of these, and then I’ll toss in an extra-large helping of links to get you through the long wait for the election returns.

What we can all do at this moment is vote—get up, brush our teeth, go to the polling place, and get in line. I was never in combat as a soldier, but now I am. Those of you who haven’t quite been getting to your polling place lately, who want better candidates or a clearer system of making yourself heard, or who just aren’t in the habit, need to get it done this time around. If you stay home, count yourself among the hundreds of thousands now being disenfranchised by the relentless parade of restrictions that Republicans everywhere are imposing and enforcing. If you don’t vote, they have won, and you are a captive, one of their prizes.

When you do go to vote on Tuesday, take a friend, a nephew, a neighbor, or a partner, and be patient when in line. Just up ahead of you, the old guy in a sailing cap, leaning on his cane and accompanied by his wife, is me, again not minding the wait, and again enthralled by the moment and its meaning.

1. John Sides, Michael Tesler and Lynn Vavreck on Trump’s focus on immigration.

2. At the Monkey Cage, Sides speaks to Carl Klarner about state legislative elections

3. Also at the Monkey Cage: Alice Hunt Friend on the border deployment.

4. Seth Masket answers questions about the midterms.

5. Nate Cohn’s final look at the House

6. Nate Silver’s final look at the House.

7. Jamelle Bouie on why young people don’t vote.

8. Ezra Klein on identity politics in 2016 and 2018.

9. Margaret Sullivan on media coverage of the elections.

10. Adam Serwer on the election in Texas.

11. Jennifer Bendery interviews Nancy Pelosi

12. And Catherine Rampell has some suggestions for strengthening U.S. democracy

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This column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of the editorial board or Bloomberg LP and its owners.

Jonathan Bernstein is a Bloomberg Opinion columnist covering politics and policy. He taught political science at the University of Texas at San Antonio and DePauw University and wrote A Plain Blog About Politics.

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