Mopping “The race is too tight” myth off the floor

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Yours truly combing hair after mopping the “The race is too tight” myth off the floor (Excuse the low resoution picture)

I think I was the only one in the huge media enclosure at Soldier Field in Chicago last night picking up pieces of the shattered myth about the US presidential race being too tight.

In fact, some members of the janitorial staff solicitously asked me if I was looking for something. I told them I was but needed no help since it was there splattered all over the floor.

Without Florida, which has 29 electoral vote and still not clear at the time of this post, President Barack Obama has won 303 electoral votes to his challenger Mitt Romney’s 206. In terms of popular votes the divide is 50.3 percent to 48.1 in Obama’s favor or in terms of the actual figures it is 59,584,12 against 56,963,667 or about 2.62 million votes. In an electorate supposed to have been bitterly partisan and divided these figures do not tell “The race is too tight” story.

If the media’s definition of a one-sided race is 80-20 or 70-30, then we are talking a landslide, which by its very nature can happen but rarely. In a hyper democracy of the kind America is, or for that matter India tends to be, we must have a very different definition for “The race is too tight.” The race that is too tight would probably look like 278-260 in terms of electoral votes and decided by a few hundred thousand votes in terms of popular votes. Anything else is a very comfortable win.

***

Some in the US media have noted with subtle pride and open approval First Lady Michelle Obama’s “restraint” in repeating at last night’s victory rally a dress she wore two years ago. It was apparently a symbol of frugality and economizing during difficult times. Really? Are we now so desperate for such useless symbolism?

Does anyone find it ironic that not repeating a dress for two full years is regarded as frugal? I would love to give Mrs. Obama the benefit of the doubt that she was genuine in her choice of dressing. However, since she lives in a painfully choreographed world of measured steps and carefully weighed words, it is almost certain that she did so studiedly.

Coming literally from the land of Gandhi I have a somewhat different definition of austerity, asceticism, dressing down and frugality. But even if I set that aside as an impossible standard to follow in this day and age (not to mention climate), it is laughable that repeating a dress two years hence would earn anyone any points at all.

***

Republican Joe Walsh, Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi’s most ardent advocate in US Congress, lost his seat during yesterday’s congressional election to his Democratic opponent and war veteran Tammy Duckworth.

Apart from being one of the most strident voices in Congress Walsh endeared himself to a section of Indian Americans by forcefully campaigning to revoke the ban on a US visa against Modi in force since 2005.

As I have reported, in recent months at the urging of his particularly vocal Indian American constituents Walsh had stepped up his campaign to end the seven-year-old ban by writing to Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton. In a letter dated June 13, 2012, Walsh said, "The basis on which Modi was denied a diplomatic visa was unfounded and not in compliance with US law.”

I was never quite sure whether Walsh was campaigning out of political expediency to win some political support and donation among the wealthy Indian Americans or out of genuine conviction or a combination of the two or it was a case of expediency becoming conviction. With Walsh gone, one does not know about the fate of this campaign. It is doubtful whether Duckworth would take it up as a cause.

The ban on Modi was imposed in 2005 when George W. Bush was president and has been continued by his successor Barack Obama. It was imposed under a section of the Immigration and Nationality Act relating to foreign government officials "who have committed particularly severe violations of religious freedom." In the case of the Gujarat chief minister,the 2002 Gujarat riots, in which hundreds of Muslims were killed, were the primary cause that triggered this particular section.

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About chutiumsulfate

South Asians can infer from my name what I am. View all posts by chutiumsulfate

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