It's the 3d of June, 2008. Mattering states are voting.
On this day in history, nearly 40 years to the day of one of the country's darkest moments, Barack Obama has secured enough delegates to clinch the Democratic Party nomination for President of the United States of America, this land that we love.
A skinny kid with a funny name who believed that this country had a place for him too.
As its leader.
As a leader who will talk to this country as if we were adults, who will be honest with it. Who will be transparent. Who will work hard to inspire participation by the formerly cynical in our society for all our mutual benefit. Who will change the image of America for a world desperate for us to be our best selves.
For we are our brothers' keepers. We are our sisters' keepers.
When that man, in 2004, got up and spoke those words, I saw a president.
Those words, of the deepest progressive and spiritual values, are the direct rebuttal to Reagan's "government is not the solution to our problems, government is the problem." Barack Obama will provide language for countless, less powerfully speaking Democrats to run for office in coming decades.
This is a leader who matters.
On a special night, it's with great cheer I share a small personal announcement with you. You've heard of that guy, Poblano? Well, some of you may have noticed there has been an addition to everyone's favorite chili pepper over at fivethirtyeight.com. (538 electoral votes in play for the general election, for those who hadn't caught that.)
If you haven't already bookmarked the site, go ahead and do it now. It's ok, here's a picture of a storm near Miles City, Montana while we wait.
Done? Well, that someone is me, and I'm excited and honored to be contributing. Nate's done excellent work and the attention he's getting is well-deserved. Some things aligned for him at the end of last week, and this was one of those things.
I truly appreciate the kind words people have given me over the past few months here, and I am sure I'll still be around (no GBCW here). Nate has a high standard to live up to, I'll try not to embarrass him too much.
Both of us hope you'll make fivethirtyeight.com a regular stop.
Now, on to the last, best results tracker.
15 Pledged Delegates
Such an easy state to delegate-track, since there are three different delegate splits all based on one thing - overall statewide vote.
9 delegates for the congressional district
4 delegates for the at-large statewide
2 delegates for the PLEO
Winner wins by:
1 vote to 61.111%, 8-7 split
61.112% to 62.499%, 9-6 split
62.500% to 72.222%, 10-5 split
72.223% to 74.999%, 11-4 split
75.000% to 83.333%, 12-3 split
Expected outcome: 8-7 split
16 Pledged Delegates
Marginally more complicated, because while Montana has only one congressional district, they split the state into two halves for those 10 votes. 5 votes each, and almost certainly 3-2 for the winner of both. If anyone gets above 70% in a half, it'll be Obama in Western Montana. Western Montana is driven by the big Democratic engine of Missoula, and Barack Obama will effortlessly win this part of the state. Obama will crush Clinton in Missoula, but it almost certainly won't be enough for a 4-1 split.
Eastern Montana has Billings, and Great Falls is actually placed into the Eastern half for population balance. Having spent time in Eastern Montana and knowing how often Hillary Clinton's potential for influence was specifically cited as a reason not to vote for Jon Tester by people who liked Tester, I would be surprised if Clinton wins this half. Still, the population is very old in the eastern part of the state, and word from the ground is it's not unreasonable for her to win that half. My gut says no, my sources say maybe. Not that it'll matter, he'll win the state and he'll be well past the delegate majority line.
Winner wins by:
1 vote to 69.999% in Western Montana: 3-2 split
1 vote to 69.999% in Eastern Montana: 3-2 split
1 vote to 74.999% statewide PLEO: 1-1 split
1 vote to 62.499% statewide at-large: 2-2 split
Expected outcome: Obama 9, Clinton 7
Alternative, Clinton pulls big upset and ekes win in Eastern Montana: Obama 8, Clinton 8
Plus Jon Tester, Brian Schweitzer, Max Baucus, Dennis McDonald and the official re-qualification of Margie Campbell once the polls close.
Let me close this diary with this. I think Barack Obama will be our next president. I can say with 100% certainty that there is a direct line between Obama's 2004 speech and my own active engagement with campaign work and blogging work. I can say it's possible it would have happened anyway, but I can say for certain that that speech galvanized me and set wheels in motion that are still in motion. One voice can change a room.
When I look at Barack Obama, I see a man of tremendous integrity, I see a man who knows himself deeply. I see authenticity. I see a Constitutional scholar who knows there is no weakness in intellectual honesty, who knows that to win an argument, you honestly state the best case of those who disagree with you and then explain why your argument is superior. I see a man who listens. I see someone who will inspire millions to treat each other a little more like neighbors. Someone who can start a hell of a tipping point in our culture away from detached and comfortable, anti-intellectual cynicism and toward a culture of engagement and excellence. I crave that for my country.
But there is something I want to say, as a white man, to my black brothers and sisters who see all of the same qualities I do in this man.
It is hard to articulate the joy I will feel for you on the night of November 4, 2008, and the noon hour of January 20, 2009. I will be overjoyed for myself and my country, because I want someone of that caliber to be my President.
But I know I will shed some tears for you, for the utter gobsmackingness of it. The total, profound, surreal, holy-shittery of that moment. What that will feel like. To see that. To physically be looking at it transpiring in front of your eyes. To be watching a moment in time where the world is one way one moment, and then different and better and forever changed the next. Knowing how you will be looking at that TV screen, some just quietly by yourselves, many gathered with friends, family, and children to make sure they see it.
My friends, my brothers, my sisters, I will be joyous for your joy.