Election Day: Better than Disneyland

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voting for election 2008I am a true election geek. While most of you have probably been feeling election fatigue, I am sprinting toward the finish line. My interest and excitement has increased as the days go on. Most days, you'll find me with my iPod on, listening to podcast after podcast of election analysis. I can't get enough of On the Media, or Fresh Air's campaign interviews, or the Slate Gabfest. Yesterday, my fun activity for the day was to analyze 85,000 campaign contributors to see what corporations were donating to a cause that upsets me greatly. As someone who has spent a lot of my life thinking about politics, election day is the culmination of watching and participating in months and months of policy discussion, campaign strategy, and grassroots activism.

"What do you actually do on election day?" a friend recently asked in an email. I was balking at the idea of planning something on Tuesday. For me, election day is a ritual of being by myself, watching election returns, and waiting for results.

I answered her, "I sit at home, watch tv, click between my gazillion secretary of state / CNN / returns sites / blogs. I was invited to election parties, but I don't do that. I'd rather stay home and not talk to anyone ... It's better than Disneyland."

While there is a part of me that desperately wants certain candidates to win, and certain propositions to lose, and certain cynicisms that I have about the electorate to be put to bed, much of my election day fun is academic. How are the vote turnouts? How did the campaigns get out the vote? What new ingenious campaign methods are taking place? What's the mood like in the country? I click through photo montages and tear up at overview videos. I make spreadsheets, and I watch electoral maps.

Since I'll be at home alone, I'm not planning on a cute election day spread. No Palin Syrah, no red state velvet cake, no "right wings", no arugula (these ideas and more via Serious Eats).


My goal is going to be great sustenance with a minimum of fuss, and a minimum of time spent in the kitchen. Yesterday, I made Suzanne Goin's spiced pork stew, which is a recipe from Sunday Suppers at Lucques. Don't have this fabulous book? Alice Q Foodie published an adaptation of this recipe last year. It's going to be good today as I reheat it between returns.

Even election geeks need to get some fresh air, so before the 3:00 pm poll closings in Indiana and Kentucky, I'll be venturing out to Mission Pie to pick up my new addiction -- their delicious walnut pie. I have a feeling I'll be staying up late to wait for California proposition results, and my late night plan is popcorn or cereal. If things go really badly, I may be turning to my most basic comfort food: corn tortillas with melted cheddar and tomatoes.

If you're more social than I am on election day, you might want to wear your "I voted" sticker all day and take advantage of the numerous opportunities for free food around the Bay Area. You can get free sangria, free coffee, free ice cream, free doughnuts, free cookies, a free drink, and a free chicken sandwich.

Whatever tonight may bring, the drink of choice at this house will be sparkling wine -- probably something from my favorite Anderson Valley winery. It's a day to celebrate the end of this astounding election.