President Barack Obama. Not the words which most Republicans had hoped to hear on election night, but a reality most could see coming. The failures of the Republican Party to rein in its excesses, stick to its principles and pursue positive policies over opportunistic self-interest played as large a role in winning Obama the White House as his rousing oratory and grassroots organizing skills.
While McCain did win Texas, he won by a smaller margin than any recent Republican presidential contender and his nationwide results were respectable, but not really close enough to ever raise much hope as the evening wore on. As the map of states won and lost became clear, it was a reminder of how strongly the nation remains divided along geographic lines, with the west and south resisting Obama's message of change and the northeast and Pacific coast firmly behind him.
I spent much of my day handing out flyers for our local Republican candidates and talking to voters outside of our precinct polling spot. I wasn't alone. Some teenage Democrats were there with me, promoting Congressional candidate Larry Joe Doherty, best known for having turned his judicial experience into several seasons hosting the television courtroom reality show Texas Justice.
I found myself in the peculiar situation of promoting Republican candidates while being reluctant to enthusiastically endorse the party establishment. I took the tack of emphasizing local candidates with a strong reputation for supporting reform and individual liberty, trying to push the message that our local party is different from the national GOP and lay some groundwork for the new and better Republican Party of the future. While I can't take too much personal credit for the outcome of the election, I did have the consolation of seeing the TV Judge lose to our Republican incumbent, who won over a lot of voters by staunchly opposing the government's recent massive bailout of irresponsible banks.
Turnout in our precinct was surprisingly low. Apparently about 47% of the registered voters had voted early, reducing election day crowds. Poll workers reported some short lines early in the morning and at the end of the day, but basically crowds were small and there was little waiting. When I showed up after lunch there was no wait at all. Voting on the electronic ballot machines was quick and efficient, marred only by the inability to get a detailed printed record of my vote.