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An Election Night Guide

6:00 AM, Nov 6, 2012 • By JEFFREY H. ANDERSON
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2. Win his “must-win” states plus Virginia, Colorado, Iowa, and Nevada (and Nebraska’s 2nd Congressional District) to get to 269, and then win the election by prevailing in New Hampshire, Maine’s 2nd Congressional District, or the House of Representatives.

Obama:

1. Win his “must-win” states plus Virginia, Wisconsin, and two out of four from among Colorado, Nevada, Iowa, and New Hampshire;

2. Win his “must-win” states plus Virginia, Colorado, Nevada, and Iowa;

3. Win his “must-win” states plus Wisconsin, Colorado, Nevada, Iowa, and New Hampshire.

Viable paths to victory without winning Virginia (listed in no particular order):

Romney:

1. Win his “must-win” states plus Ohio, Wisconsin, and Colorado;

2. Win his “must-win” states plus Ohio and either Wisconsin or Colorado, plus two out of three from among Iowa, Nevada, and New Hampshire;

3. Win his “must-win” states plus Ohio, Wisconsin, and either Iowa or Nevada (and Nebraska’s 2nd Congressional District) to get to 269, and then win the election by prevailing in New Hampshire, Maine’s 2nd Congressional District, or the House of Representatives.

Obama:

1. Win his “must-win” states plus Ohio, Wisconsin, and either Colorado, Nevada, or Iowa;

2. Win his “must-win” states plus Ohio, Colorado, and either Nevada or Iowa (and Maine’s 2nd Congressional District — to get to exactly 270);

3. Win his “must-win” states plus Ohio, Nevada, Iowa, and New Hampshire;

4. Win his “must-win” states plus Wisconsin, Colorado, Nevada, Iowa, and New Hampshire.

Whichever scenario ends up playing out, today will be a day for the ages.  To a large extent, it will decide, as Alexander Hamilton put it in the opening paragraph of Federalist 1, “the fate of an empire in many respects the most interesting in the world.”  As was true 225 years ago, “a wrong election of the part we shall act may … deserve to be considered as the general misfortune of mankind,” while an opposite decision would happily confirm Americans’ capacity to maintain “good government from reflection and choice.”  The matter is now in the citizenry’s hands.

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