Check back here throughout the night to see what I think, why I think it, and what I’m drinking.

Thinking about not voting? Try a little Votenfraude for motivation. Or maybe my bud Jon’s encouraging take, although a touch vulgar, will inspire you to get off your duff.

4:30 PM: Ohio, North Carolina, Virginia all too close to call. A Kerry pick up of either of the latter two and it’s bad news for Bush. If Kerry loses Ohio (or Florida, for that matter), I lose 5 cents. So far, so good though.

5:30 PM: How come my electoral numbers don’t add up with CBS’ numbers? Somehow I’m off by 3 on Bush’s numbers. That’s vexing. My poor addition aside, so far I’m batting .1000. Thing to remember: If Bush loses Ohio, he’s in deep trouble. If he loses Florida, he’s a in deep trouble. Here’s hoping.

5:52 PM: CBS seems to be calling states earlier than everybody else (among the big three and Fox). I’m hanging out on C-SPAN’s electoral map to see some of the projections based on exit polling.

6:18 PM: I found my addition error, having inadvertently called Montana for Bush. Call it premature Bushification. Or maybe electoral dysfunction.

6:57 PM: Looks like NBC has caught up to CBS in calling states. That’ll help since I can flip stations between commercials. Ah, ABC has the same number now too. So far we’ve seen nothing extraordinary on the electoral map. I’m reaading that Exit polls across the US seem to be trending Kerry, but the Bush HQ is supposedly gleeful over what they’re hearing out of Florida, which would be bad but not fatal news for Kerry. Of course it would cost me 5 cents, so I would consider it catastrophic.

7:01 PM: Bush picks up Wyoming and Montana. File it under Ain’t No Surprise.

7:07 PM: Arkansas goes Red. Thank God I flipped my pick to Bush. Still 100%. Of course these have all been more or less slam-dunks so far.

7:17 PM: CBS seems to be calling stuff earliest again. 196 Bush, 112 Kerry with Ohio, Pennsylvania, Florida, all the upper Midwest and the West Coast uncalled. I expect Kerry’s numbers will be coming up shortly. Oregon’s local election returns will be coming online starting around 8 PM PST. I’ll mention those as we go.

7:39 PM: Kerry camp now feeling “less confident” about Ohio? That would be bad news. Presently sounds like Kerry thinks they’ll win PA, lose OH and FL. If true, Bush is reelected and, worse, I’m out 10 cents. This is the “despair” part of the evening.

7:49 PM: Kerry takes Pennsylvania according to CBS. Still has to take Ohio or Florida.

8:11 PM: Kerry wins Oregon. Local results: Wu wins, Potter will be Mayor of PDX, Bradbury wins, Multnomah Co. income tax surcharge stays in place, measures 31 & 32 pass; 33 No; 34 No; 35 No; 36 50-50 but rural Oregon will vote for, 37 Yes (bad news), 38 No. Clarifications coming around eventually.

8:33 PM: California, Washington, Oregon called on one network or another for Kerry. In Oregon’s case, it’s a local station doing the calling before the national, but it’s Tim Hibbits doing the calling, so I’ll go with it. Now it gets interesting.

8:44 PM: Oh boy. Florida has been called for Bush. I owe Matt a nickel. That sucks. Worse, present exit polling has Ohio 52-48 for Bush. If that’s true, this election is over and we’ve got four more years of hell.

8:54 PM: Nevada, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Michigan, New Hampshire all trending Kerry. Colorado, New Mexico, and Ohio going Bush. That’s a Bush victory at 271 (although one of his electors says he’ll withhold a vote, so the final with by 270).

8:55 PM: Florida apparently went Bush by 5%. I’m hearing that in many cases Kerry has underperformed what Gore did in 2000. At least one pundit is blaming the Democratic reliance on the youth vote which apparently failed to materialize in big numbers.

9:14 PM: CBS has apparently called Washington State for Bush, which contradicts what someone else said earlier. If true, Kerry is in huge trouble. UPDATE: NBC has Washington for Kerry.

10:01 PM: Kerry runs the table or Bush wins. I need a drink.

10:04 PM: NBC, Fox, et al. call Ohio for Bush. Bush at 269 (actually 268 for reasons explained earlier). Kerry could theoretically win everything else and I’m still out money.

10:14 PM: What happens if Kerry wins everything else, hits 269, and Bush gets 269 but really only 268 because one of his electors won’t vote for him? Does that go to the House or does Kerry win? Anybody know?

10:23 PM: Andrew Sullivan says it’s over and Bush wins re-election. He may not be right, but I’m not ready to call him wrong.

10:25 PM: New Hampshire goes Kerry.

10:30 PM: Daily Kos, uber Democratic blogger, essentially concedes the presidential.

10:35 PM: Kerry refuses to concede Ohio. Reports have him hitting the “magic” 200,000 vote total needed in a particular county, but Republicans claim their get out the vote efforts overwhelm. What I’d really like to know is how a state that suffered one quarter of all job losses in the nation during the last four years could possibly vote for Bush.

11:04 PM: I’m now convinced that there’s a general political subtext to the presidential race that I’ve missed utterly. People who are sharply skeptical of the war, who’ve borne the brunt of an economic morass, and whose issues profile more closely matches the challenger have in large numbers voted for Bush, and by extension for four more years of the same.

I read an instant analysis that said the issue with 21% of voters was first and foremost “morality” and that such voters went Bush by something like 90/10. To say I don’t get it understates matters considerable.

11:12 PM: Returns from remaining states suggest that Kerry will win Michigan, Wisconsin, and Hawaii. If Ohio, quite improbably, goes to Kerry—and he’s not conceded—then Kerry is president. Exit polling, unfortunately, seems to indicate that Ohio will go for Bush, and as I noted about an hour ago, NBC at least has already called the state for Bush.

11:22 PM: Michigan officially goes Kerry according to CBS.

11:23 PM: Bright side entry #1: The first Supreme Court appointment of a new Bush administration will be a replacement for Chief Justice Rehnquist who, according to independent medical experts, is likely facing terminal cancer. Since Rehnquist is a hard right conservative vote, virtually any Bush nominee will likely be a wash at worst.

11:32 PM: Kerry wins Hawaii.

11:35 PM: Republicans say they have a 126,000 vote lead in Ohio with 130,000 provisional ballots outstanding. Republicans think only 30,000 of those are valid. They also think they’ve won Nevada and New Mexico.

11:43 PM: One thing that hit me a couple hours ago: No way in hell does Dean beat Bush if he’d won the nomination. Sure, fans like me were more passionate for Dean than other supporters were for their candidates (except for maybe Kucinich folks). No matter. Kerry, the decorated war veteran plus John Edwards, the smiling Southern populist, should have won this in a landslide.

11:58 PM: John Kerry has apparently gone to bed, and I’m planning to as well. Several things are clear: My electoral predictions have proved wildly off the mark. My “brains on display” bit seems to be because the jar holding them has fallen off the table and splattered onto the kitchen floor. I owe Matt 5 cents and likely Dennis as well. (Nevada goes Bush according to the AP.) Four more years of the same crap. Wow, that’ll take a day or two to digest. Bright side entry #2: Bush is a lame duck starting tomorrow.

For now, thanks for reading and good night.