As the counting of votes continues across the nation, President-Elect Barack Obama has surpassed a win by 8 million votes over John McCain. The latest national popular vote count puts Barack Obama well ahead of John McCain by a lopsided 65,781,938 (53.2%) votes to McCain's 57,678,355 (46.7%) with voting trending towards Obama that should continue for a few more days before every state certifies their state vote as official. Obama won the popular vote by a margin of 6.5%.
While some states such as Oregon and Washington used what was considered to be an advanced mail-in vote system to help prevent election and polling station problems, an extremely long ballot in Oregon with numerous ballot measures has only slowed the counting, where some larger counties such as Washington County may still have as many as 15,000 more ballots yet to be counted. And Washington state allowed any ballot that was postmarked by election day to count, so as late mail shows up at state election offices, new ballots are counted and added to the state totals.
In some other states, a number of other ballots may still remain to be counted as well, and the trend has been for most of these ballots to be trending towards Barack Obama as well, so his total should eventually exceed 8 million more votes than John McCain.
There is also the Senate race in Minnesota still at stake, where there hasn't been any new votes counted in several days, but a recount is looming where Democrat Al Franken narrowly trails incumbent Republican Senator Norm Coleman by just 221 votes. This senate seat remains too close to call, and it is not clear whether any other votes remain to be counted or whether Al Franken's hopes are pinned on errors in the counting, which is unlikely to change many more than just a handful of votes in most cases.
Convicted felon Senator Ted Stevens continues to lead in the vote in Alaska as well. It is not entirely clear why a slender majority in Alaska continued to stick with Stevens, however it is likely that many GOP voters hoped that Governor Palin may appoint another Republican or even herself to the seat, and some GOP voters may have hoped that Stevens will be vindicated on appeal. But it seems highly unusual for a convicted felon to win re-election. In January, it will be interesting to see whether the senate may seek to remove Stevens from the office and declare the seat vacant. The last chapter hasn't been written here.
But for Senator Barack Obama, the lopsided vote is of near landslide proportions, and is the biggest vote total for an American candidate for president ever cast. This big vote total is in itself of historic proportions.
Another ray of sunshine in the big vote for Obama was that the "Bradley Effect" of the past seems to be dead. Voters who claimed that they would vote for an African American actually did so and didn't mislead the pollsters like the past. The last polls from Rasmussen put the final margin at 7 points, and very similar to the actual 53% to 46% margin by Obama over McCain. With a win so big as this, other than some pockets in a few deep South states, where the White vote was more heavily for McCain than most the country, many White voters treated Obama as any other candidate and fairly judged him against John McCain on issues, character, and other nonracial standards.
What was so encouraging about the big vote for Obama was that an African American candidate was not only given a fair hearing by public at large to state his case for the reasons that he should be president, and the public decided by a big margin that he was indeed the better of the two candidates. Hopefully this signals a new sense of fairness in the United States where all persons will be judged more fairly on their character content and not their skin color. This is indeed a big step forward for equality in the United States, and indeed a big step towards the ultimate dreams of Dr. Martin Luther King.
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