LAS VEGAS – So he’s done it. Way beyond demographics, the ground game, getting the turnout, the micro-targeting of voters, the worries about suppression of black and Hispanic early voters in Ohio and Florida, and over 55% of women voting for him, Barack Obama inherits his second term to try to (re)project at least a measure of the vanished American dream across a deeply, profoundly, divided country (with the popular vote virtually tied at 49%; not to mention the 90 million Americans who did not even bother to vote).
In Big O’s big words: Here I am, baby (Stevie Wonder musical intro); now it’s all about “perfecting our union”; “the heights of hope”; “an American family as one nation and one people”; “the best is yet to come”. It’s about equal opportunity; a “common bond”; “you can make it if you try”; and “hope”. All over again. But this time for real. Will it stick?
CNN painted the Empire State blue. Mass hysteria took over the Obama headquarters in Chicago; but in the comfy air-conditioned bowels of the Aria casino in Vegas, there was hardly a peep. From the poker tournament going on at US$100 an entrance plus $25 buy-on to the multiple HD mega-screens of the Race and Sports book, most punters were more interested in betting on the NFL, horse races and even on the far away Champions League in Europe.
By sunset in Vegas it was clear that it’s the Brits who really know one or two things about betting. Betfair was giving Romney only a 15% chance of winning. The Brits, meanwhile, were already burying him as a 9-to-1 corpse.
If this American election was a multi-billion-dollar casino operated by both campaigns, the Vegas real deal spells trouble. Aria was virtually empty the whole afternoon and early evening, local time, when the cliffhanger was all about Florida – just for the networks to finally project an Obama victory in Ohio clinching the deal.