Okay, all the arguments have been made. And I am ready to declare a winner in the 2008 race.
The Internet. (The other winner will have to wait until Tuesday night).
From the way campaigns connect to supporters, to the way those campaigns are covered, to the way voters decide who to vote for, 2008 has delivered the first truly 21st century presidential race. And election night promises to fortify the Internet's victory.
While discussing with a friend an election night viewing party he's throwing, he announced there would be "televisions all over the place." "That's great," I said, "but just make sure the WiFi is working." Because this year, the laptop -- along with the array of Internet-connected mobile devices -- has replaced the television as the must-have election night device.
Of course, we want the TVs, too -- but mostly just to see how the results are covered, what the anchors are saying, when they call it, how the winners and losers react, and how crazy John King gets with his Magic Wall.
For real time results, however, the Internet will be the go-to destination. A host of websites, starting with HuffPost, will make it possible for you to choose how and when you want to follow the results -- whether you want to follow them state-by-state and county-by-county or jump between the presidential race and hotly contested Senate and House showdowns. And do it interactively.
And if you are a real election junkie, you can log on to each secretary of state's page and get the latest numbers even faster.
The clichéd putdown about the blogosphere is that it's just people spouting opinions, but this election has shown it's also about expertise and information -- collated, graphed, spread-sheeted, distilled, and cross-tabbed. Witness the rush to relevance of fivethirtyeight.com and its wonky numbers guy Nate Silver. Lately, it's been hard to go even a couple of hours without hearing someone say, "Nate Silver just wrote about that poll and here's what he says is wrong with it..."
As the countdown to Election Day continues, here is a rough guide to some of the Internet's best offerings to help you fill the anxious, final hours of the campaign -- and some places to make sure you check out (or bookmark, if you are Old School like me) as the returns start to roll in on Tuesday.
First and foremost (and completely objectively, of course), I hope you'll check out HuffPost's exhaustive Election Night coverage. We'll be featuring up-to-the-minute stories, stats, and video, along with a host of interactive maps, electoral widgets, and fun (and surprisingly accurate) tools like the Intrade and Betfair election predictors. We'll also bring you intensive reporting and on-the-scene coverage of the vote, including any voting irregularities, from the battleground states by our OffTheBus' network of citizen journalists. And, of course, we'll have our usual top-flight commentary -- including a host of top bloggers who will be liveblogging the returns as they come in. Plus, a number of our international bloggers will be weighing in from various spots across the globe, letting us know the local reaction to the results. All in all, we're aiming to be a one-stop-shop for all things Election Night. (For those of you who will be out and about on Tuesday, be sure to check out our new HuffPost Mobile site -- http://m.huffpost.com -- which we launched today, in time for on-the-go election day coverage.)
Here are some other don't-miss sites:
Google has some incredible election map pages. For instance, here's a great page of historical election maps. Their election homepage is here, use it to find your polling place, get directions, and read what each candidate says about the issues.
Congressional Quarterly also has a great page of historical maps here.
The American Prospect's election night guide can be found here.
So wherever you will be spending Election Night -- at a party, a campaign event, a bar, or hunkered down on your couch biting your finger nails -- be sure to have your computer, your BlackBerry, or your iPhone nearby, and be a part of what promises to be a historic night -- both for the country and for the Internet.
See you online Tuesday night -- and, I hope, every waking moment in-between. I, for one, despite my paeans to sleep plan to postpone sleeping from now until after the last race is called.
If you are in the San Francisco area, I will be speaking at the Web 2.0 Summit on Friday, November 7th.
And be sure and check out the HuffPost Election Forecast Contest