7:15 a.m. E.T.
On a day when the presidential outcome — or even if we will have one — is not a sure thing, here are some mortal locks:
- There will be shocking and unsurprising overreaction to the first wave of exit polls that is made public.
- If Mitt Romney is projected the loser in Virginia, many will declare the race over and/but it won’t necessarily be.
- If there is an Ohio projection, the loser will be under enormous pressure to challenge the result in every possible manner.
- The country will pay a price for not enacting more reforms after Florida 2000 to make the management of our elections more non-partisan.
- If the race is close, the pundits who draw the most attention Tuesday night and into Wednesday will be those who talk about voting irregularities, counting and recount rules, and provisional ballots.
- Journalists and pundits will simultaneously treat the exit poll data as infallible tablets from on high and highly flawed mumbo jumbo.
- The networks will be schizo: they will simultaneously feel a lust to project a winner and to have an overtime cliffhanger.
- If there is a presidential winner, he will thank his wife and his running mate profusely in his victory speech and appeal to the country to come together to meet our challenges.
- If there is a presidential winner, the congressional leaders on the other side will perfunctorily walk back their pre-election vows to render the winner’s agenda dead on arrival, but their voices will be drowned out by the white-hot anger and disbelief that animates the voices of the Capitol Hill rank and file, the grassroots, and the Freak Show.
- If we end up with a President Obama, a Speaker Boehner, and a Majority Leader Reid in January, there will be no consensus about how and why that happened in a nation yearning for change.