Sunday, November 02, 2008

Election Night Memories: Part II

The second part of my Election Memories post:

1988. This was another desultory campaign season. Of course, everyone remembers how ridiculous Dukakis looked riding around in a tank, but the thing I remember most is his appearance on "Nightline" less than a week before the election, and how dull and uninspired his answers were. It was painfully clear right then and there that it was over. On election night, we had my parents over for a small election night dinner and viewing party, but the returns were so predictable that we ended up watching a special showing of "The Godfather" instead. Now there was some leadership.

1992. At long last - VICTORY! I admit to being skeptical about Bill Clinton at the beginning, but warming to him over the course of the campaign. I remember the debates as being the most entertaining of my lifetime, with Clinton mopping up the floor with President Bush (who, for some reason, kept looking at his watch as if he had somewhere more important to be), and the surreal interjections of Ross Perot. Election night was a quiet affair, now that we had a baby in the house, but I remember the memorable appearance of Clinton and Gore before a huge crowd in Arkansas shortly after the election was called for them.

1996. The Internet revolutionized election night partying - and this was the first election where California's Secretary of State's office finally got its act together and presented a workable election night returns site. Since the presidential race was a foregone conclusion, the action was in the California Legislature, where the Democrats were attempting to take back the State Assembly after having been swept away by the Republican Tidal Wave of 1994. I watched the returns come in on computer and TV at my office, joined by my other main men Scott and Stephen. I remember how surprised the cleaning crew was to find us eating pizza and drinking beer in our office around 11 p.m., and I remember that moment when it became clear that the Dems were going to take back the Assembly and end the short GOP reign at the top. Of course, with the terrible reapportionment plan of 2000, such excitement is no longer possible in California, which is one reason why I'm supporting Proposition 11.

2000. This was the biggie, of course. Scott and Stephen had made their merry ways out of CSU by then, but our Webmaster extraordinaire Dustin and I had a grand old time, outfitting the conference room with 6 laptops, all connected to the Internet. We followed the California races, we followed various state races, and around 1 a.m. we hooked up to the Secretary of State's office in Florida, to try and figure out what the hell was going on there. And of course, we watched the surreal performance of Dan Rather that night, he pulled enough odd phrases out of his hat to start or end a career, depending on your point of view.

2004. Another quiet night, and another disappointing one, as Kerry (a candidate for whom I had little enthusiasm) slowly sank into oblivion.

Which brings us to this year, and depending on how things pan out, I'm hoping to do a live blog. We shall see!

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