It just seemed like yesterday when I flew to New York with camera in-hand to personally document Election Day in 2008. It was a historic moment, with war veteran McCain and a lesser-known junior senator who had that foreign, Muslim-sounding name, battling it out for the Oval Office.
The stores on 5th Avenue glittered with "Vote"-themed window displays and every street corner boasted carts filled to the rim with McCain/Palin/Obama/Biden buttons, T-shirts, and gag gifts, all primed to be pinned and donned by enthusiastic voters and tourists.
The prospect of electing the first African-American person to the highest office in the land was the electric buzz, which carried itself through every single New York minute from dawn to dusk.
Fast-forward four years and and now we are watching the end result of the 2012 Presidential campaign. A campaign which seems to go on for years. And years. And years. So with such buildup what's to be expected? Can Obama make history again by being two-term President?
Four years ago, social media was in it's infancy. Twitter was practically a newborn with just two years in existence and Facebook wasn't too far behind. MySpace (remember them?) was the grandaddy of the social media world. Obama's 2008 campaign's grassroots movement relied heavily on text messages to rally the base which eventually carried him straight to The White House.
This time around, the global conversation took precedence with real-time exchanges actively prompted by rapid-fire Tweets, immediate Facebook status updates and various live stream capabilities, collectively playing the leading role in this particular election. All through the various debates, conventions and now Election Night.
Blog continues after slideshow...
We'll always have Nate
I'll be the first to admit that I had my doubts when I started reading about whom I call the "poll whisperer," fivethirtyeight.com's Nate Silver who presented his aggregate of polls and predicted his own set of percentages, likelihoods and outcomes. He was right for the most part. Pretty much all of the part. In short was a picture perfect Revenge of the Nerds scenario.
CNN made its mark in the 2008 election with their gimmicky and technologically-driven ways of covering the election. Big screens, graphics, colours, numbers, booming sound and "special guest" holograms. Remember Will.i.am? This time around, the folks at CNN seemed to have streamlined it a bit (just a bit) still having their huge graphics, jumbo screens, dazzling numbers, complex equations and of course John King's Magic Wall. And no holograms. Thankfully.
The Empire State Building partnered with CNN, awashing itself in the colour of the party that was in the lead at the time. Throughout the night, courtesy of Florida's white knuckle-inducing dead heat (in the most literal sense) red and blue were equal parts on the building. If it wasn't for the political prop-vibe, the skyscraper sure looked pretty.
Al Jazeera English's Intelligent Coverage
This is where live stream completely ruled. Not only was I able to tweet and watch CNN on TV, but I also was able to live stream Al Jazeera's special Election Day coverage which, to be honest, knocked it out of the park. Noted for its intelligent, educational analysis (I got hooked on to Al Jazeera since their noted coverage of The Arab Spring), I was thoroughly impressed with how they covered Election Night. It was so much more than throwing it to correspondents stuck in a yet-to-be-filled-up ballroom (sorry CNN).
God Declares Legitimate Losers
Indiana Senator Richard E. Mourdock (endorsed by Romney) and who infamously declared that a baby conceived by rape was the "something that God intended to happen." lost to Democratic Representative John Donnelly.
And cue the endless "God's intended" for him to lose tweets.
Meanwhile Missouri's Todd "Legitimate Rape" Akin couldn't find a victory against Senator Claire McCaskill who found a way "to shut that whole thing down". (Sorry couldn't resist).
Florida Déjà Vu
As much as we all wanted to have an early night, the "too close to call" talking points which were on high rotation leading up to this night, gave us all pause for thought. And when is say "all" I mean those of who weren't exactly sold on Nate Silver's predictions (me included). Then it happened. CNN's Wolf Blitzer was absolutely giddy when he reported that with 76 per cent of the votes in from Florida, it literally was a dead heat. The dead heat continued, at one point with Romney leading by just over 600 votes. Everyone was reaching for the Pepto.
Polling Station Waiting Game
There is one thing I can never understand. Whether it's the 2000 elections with the hanging chads, or today's electronic system, there seems to always be an issue with voting lines, times and schedules and results. This year, in true incompetence, Florida continues to create controversy thanks to Governor, Rick Scott's move to limit the voting times ending in lineups lasting for four hours in some instances.
Other lineups due to poorly staffed voting stations were reported all across the country including New York (mainly due to makeshift voting areas created amidst Sandy devastation) but also in areas where there was confusion on what ID was supposed to be shown/accepted and in Colorado where they were reportedly running out of provisional ballots and photocopying more. Say what you will about Elections Canada, I'm just thankful that I'm not standing in line for hours to cast my vote, something that seems to be the norm in "modern" America.
And Then There's The Donald
Always a source of amusement, Donald Trump was beside himself with the news that Obama won the Electoral Vote expressing his utmost anger and disbelief with a series of tweets each one more priceless than the one before:
As soon as he heard the news:
"Well, back to the drawing board!"
10 minutes later:
"We can't let this happen. We should march on Washington and stop this travesty. Our nation is totally divided!"
One minute later:
"Lets fight like hell and stop this great and disgusting injustice! The world is laughing at us."
Two minutes later:
"This election is a total sham and a travesty. We are not a democracy!"
Seven minutes later:
"Our country is now in serious and unprecedented trouble...like never before."
Three minutes later:
Our nation is a once great nation divided!
Stay classy Donald.
So now that the Republicans have kept the house, the Democrats kept the Senate, and Obama is now entering his second term as the President, it's safe to say that with an estimated $6 billion dollars spent in what is seen as the priciest Presidential Election in history, really nothing has changed.
Another election is in the books. And personally I'm glad Obama is back in. He's the right guy for this time. But hey, if you disagree with the results, feel free to join Donald on his march for democracy. I'm sure he'll enjoy your company.