Swing state surprise

by YES! Staff

We´ve been having lots of political discussion as of late. ’Tis the season, we suppose.

But in discussing the presidential race with some of our far-flung friends, we often run into a rhetorical dead end.

For many — if not most — of the people in this country, it does not matter if they vote for Mitt Romney or Barack Obama, because the results are pre-ordained.

Take a look at national election map. All but nine states have already been colored in, though Election Day is months away. The West Coast is going blue, as is the Northeast. The South, Midwest and, with the exception of blue New Mexico and wild card Colorado, interior western states have already been washed in red.

Whether you love Obama or hate him, credit him for making North Carolina —and your vote—matter for the first time since theSouthern Strategy went into effect.

By the end of Election Day, millions of Americans will have voted, but the contest is really between the fickle voters of just 18 percent of the states: Nevada, Colorado, Iowa, Wisconsin, Michigan, Ohio, Virginia, Florida and, the most recent entry into the swing-state column, North Carolina.

Obama won NC in 2008 by just 14,000 votes — a slim margin, to be sure, but it was  enough to overturn decades of predictable voting patterns and put us in play. And whether you love Obama or hate him, credit him for making North Carolina — and your vote — matter for the first time since the Southern Strategy went into effect. Casting a vote that actually matters is but one of the boons to living in a state where the outcome of state where the outcome of the election is not already settled.

Each candidate is acutely aware of that 14,000 figure; each knows that every vote counts. Obama should take the cities while rural voters lean towards Romney, but if Romney pulls enough votes from our urban centers he should take our 15 electoral votes. But if Obama is able to mobilize young voters as he did in 2008, perhaps he will win NC once again.

Nobody really knows. That’s why our state will see a long string of appearances with those in the presidential race: presidential and VP candidates, their wives and A-list supporters. Guilford County Sheriff BJ Barnes said that 36 or 37 stops have been scheduled for the Triad alone. Sure, you can win the election without taking North Carolina, but neither party wants to cede it to the other.

The candidates will spend millions in pursuit of your vote. You’ve seen it already with TV and newspaper ads, web campaigns and ground games. This is a nice boost to the state’s bottom line.

But the biggest recipient of largesse will be Charlotte, where the Democratic national Convention takes place this week. All the flights and hotels are booked. You wouldn’t be able to get a table in a nice restaurant with a hundred-dollar bill in your hand and a supermodel on your arm. Caterers, bars, strip clubs, car services, florists, stage production companies and other ancillary businesses will see a surge due to the thousands who have converged on the city this week. We don’t know which candidate will take the Old North State — it’s as close as it gets right now. But no matter what happens, by virtue of being a swing state, North Carolina wins. YES! Weekly chooses to exercise its right to express editorial opinion in our publication. In fact we cherish it, considering opinion to be a vital component of any publication. The viewpoints expressed represent a consensus of the YES! Weekly editorial staff, achieved through much deliberation and consideration .