Squawkback: Anything surprise you about the U.S. Election?

After many long years of campaigning, people across the U.S. finally cast their ballots in an historic election and voted for president-elect Barack Obama. This presidential election dominated the news headlines worldwide. We all couldn’t vote, but we all can have an opinion!

Regardless of your political leanings, was there anything that surprised you about this election? Anything strike you as inspirational, interesting, unusual, helpful, or funny?

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Question: What 3 things surprised you about the U.S. Election?

My Answers:

  1. Comedy and Tina Fey. Comedians love a good political joke. But Saturday Night Live and Tina Fey’s impersonations went surprisingly viral.
  2. The Internet. Social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter were huge sources of election coverage and campaigning. Is television dead?
  3. Lineups and Voter Turnout. Americans lined up for hours to vote. I am surprised (and thrilled) to see the massive turnout!

Your turn! Share your election thoughts by Squawking Back!

Your two cents:

  1. nancy (aka money coach) November 5th, 2008

    I’m surprised at the popular vote – it was a much smaller gap then the electoral college results suggest. Nearly half of Americans wanted another Republican era? Wow.

    Another surprise was the gap between the twitter crowd (or at least the twitterati I follow) who seemed unanimously pro-Obama, and the general population. Do I follow lefties (possibly, but not intended) or is the twitterite crowd disproportionately lefty?

  2. Sue November 5th, 2008

    1. The fact that so many people cared enough to vote, waiting in lines for hours. That was the most amazing thing to me.

    2. The fact that the hopes of our Founding Fathers may finally be fulfilled for a true United States.

    3. But mostly, the pranking of Sarah Palin by the Montreal radio station. If that was to be vice presidential material, or worse, president, I’d have moved to Canada myself. If you haven’t heard it, it’s in full on YouTube.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UMV0LKlVj8I

  3. Gracia November 5th, 2008

    From Spain, I was surprised at the queues. Here, we vote on a Sunday, so it’s easier for people to vote and not miss work or other obligations, and I’ve never seen a queue longer than 3-4 people. And it’s not like we don’t vote! Over 75% of the population voted this year, but no queues. I’ll bet that’d discourage many voters over here, but you were great!

    Oh and by the way, I’m quite happy with the results, and, as I said in my blog, it’s not like they don’t affect the rest of the world… so, congratulations! (at least, from my point of view)

  4. Gail November 5th, 2008

    Feels good …doesn’t it! YES WE CAN! More than 50% of Americans can’t be wrong! I have lived in the USA since 1969 and just hate the racism here. I was raised in Jamaica and being a minority there (I am a white Jamaican) made no difference we were all equal. Education was key and we were told we could be anything we wanted to be. It has taken 39 years for the USA to see that. I am SOOOO proud of him and just know he won’t let us down. He more than anyone has to prove himself. In his speech he reminded me about the motto in Jamaica “Out of many, one people!” How appropriate that sums it up!

  5. Jasi November 5th, 2008

    1. VP Selection (on both sides, unfavorable)
    2. Last minute ad nastiness
    3. Tearing up. Emotional.

    These things utterly surprised me.

  6. guinness416 November 5th, 2008

    Like Nancy, I’m surprised by the popular vote. Although maybe they haven’t counted all of CA yet? And I’m surprised that not one freakin county in Oklahoma went blue. Not a one! I know I’m just a yurpean member of the east coast liberal elite blah blah but it’s just staggering to me that such large numbers could be ready for another republican president.

    I’m also surprised by how invested I was. I didn’t read much political news this go-round (due to, you know, not living in the US any more) but I really cared a lot. And I’m pretty sad I don’t live in NYC any more. My in-laws called from Times Sq and they were having a blast.

  7. Susy November 5th, 2008

    I’m suprised by how many people I met during the campaigning that had no idea of the policies of either candidate. As an independent (can swing either way) I spent hours and hours reading each candidates website and researching how they would affect us and how all the small local issues would play out. I’m hoping all these new voters will be more deeply informed next election.

    I’m suprised that everyone thinks that this is going to change everything, that somehow the sun shines brighter and the economy doesn’t suck anymore and everything will be peachy.

    This isn’t the moment that defines us, it’s what we do with it. Will we all be able to come together & still be working at it next year at this time? Sadly I have my doubts, only time will tell. It’s up to the American people not the president to make things better and we can start by attitudess and work ethics. I however think this won’t happen and things will remain the same. I hope American’s prove me wrong and this is what they needed to make a change for the better individually.

  8. Marci November 5th, 2008

    1. Turnout: Our local county voter turnout was 85.9 %….. unheard of!
    But then, we had some highly contested local issues going on also.

    2. Gullibility: What amazes me is how once the media puts forth something as a’truth’ that whether it is or not, it’s taken as fact, and the people allow themselves to be brainwashed into believing it.

    3. The media: This is not a comment on the outcome – just on the media, and their biased reporting, their free advertising for candidates of their choice, and the media’s ability to push their own issues. They are still saying he is the first black president which is incorrect on two counts. One -he is 50% white, 43.75 percent Arab, and 6.25 black…. that hardly counts as black in my opinion. His skin tone is dark – I’ll grant that. And two – if you allow that small percentage to be called black, then there were at least 4 black presidents before him…. So he is about the 5th bi-racial president. My issue here is only with the media’s adopting something as a truth that is not, and then the masses accepting it as fact without checking it out.

    Remember – this is not a comment about the outcome – it is about the media!

    4. Congress: I am still surprised that people think the President is responsible for everything that happens during his term. They seem to forget that the Pres has little actual power and is allowed to do only what Congress allows. Congress is the one that pulls all the strings… If they don’t vote on it, it usually can’t be done (War aside)

  9. Hayden Tompkins November 5th, 2008

    That I WOKE UP to someone callong Obama a NIGGER. What the hell???

    I don’t need two more surprises, that was enough for me.

  10. Melissa November 5th, 2008

    Hi, lurker here! 🙂

    I agree with you on the role that the social networking sites played; I was shocked to see a CNN correspondent (on television) actually assigned to monitor Facebook and the web. I think Facebook’s doing for this generation what MTV’s Rock the Vote did for the last one. Talk about fulfilling a social responsibility — go Facebook. 🙂

    I’m also surprised — and pleasantly so — to see that so many people realize that there’s a long road ahead of us — but there’s so much FAITH, and I think *that* is why so many of us feel like the sun’s shining a little bit brighter today. We finally feel like there’s someone going into office who can tackle these issues, who can really take to heart the words of men (and women!) who might be wiser or more experienced than he is.

  11. Beth November 5th, 2008

    1. proposition 8 passing in california
    2. proposition 8 passing in california
    3. proposition 8 passing in california.

    seriously california, what is going on?

  12. Kerry November 5th, 2008

    @Beth I think absentee and provisional ballots still need to be counted.

    @Melissa So happy you delurked and shared your well-written thoughts.

    @Hayden WTF? You’re not kidding..are you?

    @Marci Indeed…Obama is multiple races. You’d think he was part Japanese too the way citizens of Obama Japan have reacted. 😀

    @Susy Well said.

    @guinness416 @nancy I too am surprised by the popular vote. Shrug. Don’t get it.

    @Jasi I’ve never understood ad nastiness. I tend to dislike the source of the nastiness rather than the target.

    @Gail His speech was riveting. Amazing.

    @Gracia Since I’m Canadian and didn’t get to vote :D, I too see how important this election is/was for the WHOLE world. We do, after all, tend to live on the same planet.

    @Sue I’ve heard the Montreal radio station’s prank on Palin. Gobsmacking really. Those crazy Canucks. 😉

    @Nancy I think both the Twitter crowd and the internet crowd (in general) to be Obama supporters. Pundits are citing some of Obama’s success on his social media understanding and use.

  13. Hayden Tompkins November 5th, 2008

    Foxy, I hate to tell you but I am REALLY not kidding. One of Chris’s relatives, when asked who won the election, responded with “the nigger”.

    I was so heated. Even typing the word makes me ill. Believe me, he hasn’t used that word again because I pitched a fit.

    I am not discouraged, though. Change truly comes with youth and people who maintain these disgustingly archaic attitudes will find themselves old abandoned relics.

  14. Doctor S November 5th, 2008

    -McCain’s choice for VP
    -The fact that McCain’s choice for VP could embarrass herself that much
    -The fact that Obama won in such a landslide fashion
    -Plesantly surprised by the voter turnout, especially the large number of young people
    -Still surprised that they still will find hour long tv shows to discuss the election even when it is over!

  15. Frank Costello November 5th, 2008

    Yes, I was surprised at how emotional it was when Obama was declared the winner.

    Now comes the hard work, Governing this crazy Country

  16. Johanna B November 5th, 2008

    I was surprised that so many of my fellow Americans stood in lines in bad weather to cast their vote.

    I was surprised that the popular vote was so close. I can’t wait til all the absentee ballots are counted.

    I was pleased at all the folks who registered to vote for the first time.

    Yes – we did it!

  17. Vered - MomGrind November 5th, 2008

    I have to agree with Jessica about Prop 8. That one really surprised me.

  18. mtnight November 6th, 2008

    Surprised that many view the outcome of the election as a rout. It was not.

    Surprised that so many bought the idea that Obama is “experienced.” He’s definitely bright, a thinker and strategist, but has less than four years experience on the national/international scene.

    Surprised that Obama has already named a “foul-mouthed, combative, fiery, tough guy” (all words used in news stories today) as his Chief of Staff. What happened to the conciliatory, cooperative, calm tone of 24 hours ago?

    Having said all that, I did vote for Obama and honor the significant milestone his election is in the history of our nation. I certainly wish him well, but we need to be patient because change will come slowly, especially in Washington.

  19. Jude November 6th, 2008

    I’m surprised that I’m – gasp – glued to CNN. I’m getting old.

  20. Treva November 8th, 2008

    I’m glad someone else posted my thoughts (too sick this week to be on top of things), so thank you Marci. I live in VA which went blue this year, in part b/c of my vote!! Yay! However, I was solely disappointed standing in the lines listening to people mumble under their breath. Both men, one white muttering about not voting for any black man and one black muttering about praising the Lord that a brother was finally going to see the office. My opinion — both were extremely ignorant to say such things! Obama’s color does not matter and as Marci reminded us, he’s got quite a mix in him. I feel for those who think that because he’s black and they’re black that he will relate to them. Here’s some news: he doesn’t see color. Like he said in one of speeches, we are not just red states and blue states, we are the United States. I believe it is his geneological mix that will be to our benefit; he is someone who can unite us on a clear purpose — something the US hasn’t seen since WWII.

    When I see Obama speak, I’m reminded of some other great speakers. Namely, John F. Kennedy and Martin Luther King Jr. I am moved, inspired, awe-struck when he speaks. I am proud that the man voted into office is a man who expects Americans to sacrifice for their country, to have a part in the education of their children, to ultimately do what is right for the country as a whole and not for themselves as individuals. (Very JFK)

    Finally, while the popular vote was closer than expected, it’s good to know that the man taking office won in both the popular vote and the electoral college. I’m proud that so many people came out to vote. My voting center doesn’t usually have lines, but it had a short one this year. I listened to the radio of people spending hours waiting. My immediate supervisor spent 90 minutes just getting inside the building to vote; then it was another hour to 90 minutes before actually casting a ballot. The CEO of my company told staff not to worry about being on time, just to show up when they were done voting. Not being penalized for participating in one of the most amazing rights that we have makes a difference in our ability to do so.

  21. ConsciouslyFrugal November 10th, 2008

    1. I wish I could say I was surprised that Prop 8 passed (Californian here), but the No on Prop 8 campaign was unbelievably HORRID. And the Pro on Prop Hate campaign was so deceptive, it was bound to pass.

    2. I’m also surprised by the lack of awareness of candidate’s platforms. People seem to vote based on rhetoric, which is kinda scary.

    3. That we did it and it was so emotional. Barack Hussein Obama. A majority in the Senate. It feels good to be an American again. Now we’ll have to see if he and the legislature can take this crap sandwhich they’ve been left and do something worthwhile with it.

    In the end, I’m mostly just excited that the corrupt adminstration that stole two elections (we never voted for him people!) is finally on his way out. It’s been nearly a decade with that…anyway, thank God, it’s a new day.

  22. Bonnie November 11th, 2008

    I second Consciously Frugal’s points. I live in Missouri, which, not counting provisional ballots that are still being counted, went for McCain by only 5000 votes. So, we we were almost a blue state…my co-worker is calling us a ‘purple state’. So, I’m proud of my state for *almost* transforming itself. I was surprised by the huge crowds waiting to hear for election results all over the world…it just showed how much was really at stake this time around. I surprised by how hopeful I am that Obama will really make good on his promises–if we don’t expect unrealistic overnight changes.

  23. Mylo November 12th, 2008

    No real surprises there.

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