In today's On the News segment: Republicans have hinted they will use a procedural stunt to pass their radical agenda if the Dems fail to defend 21 seats and the GOP takes the Senate; a number of state ballot measures stand to impact national policy, especially on immigration; a major accounting firm issues a new report warning businesses about the risks of climate change, and more.
Thom Hartmann here – on the news...
You need to know this. Four years ago – the nation elected Barack Obama President of the United States. And four years later – we seem poised to do it again. On the final day of the Election Season, as the nation heads to the voting booths – leading pollster Nate Silver at the New York Times 538 Blog has President Obama's chances at winning the election at nearly 92%. Not a single major national poll conducted in the last 24 hours has Romney in the lead. And looking at the battleground state polls, the President has solidified his lead. Ohio, Virginia, and Wisconsin – all have the President with a lead, suggesting Mitt Romney just doesn't have the math to pull it off. But the votes still have to be counted. And we've seen outrageous efforts on the part of Republican election officials in key states like Ohio and Florida to limit how many Americans – in particular Democratic voters – can actually vote. Between restrictions on early voting, voter purges, suppression tactics by poll watchers, and voting machines that don't leave a paper trail – our vote is more at risk this election than ever before. On top of it all, news agencies are no longer conducting exit polls in over a dozen states across the nation, which have traditionally served as a back-stop to verify election results. After a long year of campaigning, the nation appears to have made up its mind on who the next President should be. Now it's just up to our election system – which has tragically been corrupted by Republicans over the last two years – to ensure the nation's will is answered. If Ohio or Florida go late into the night – then something fishy is up. Stay tuned.
Besides the presidency – there are also huge changes that may be made on Election Day in states around the nation. As the ThinkProgress blog outlines – a number of state ballot questions voted on today could have significant effects on national policy. In Maryland – voters will have a chance to give undocumented immigrants access to in-state tuition at state universities. On the flip-side – in Montana, voters will decide whether to deny all undocumented immigrants access to state services. Marriage Equality is on the ballot in the Maine, Maryland, and Washington – while voters in Minnesota will vote on a constitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriage. And in Colorado, Oregon, and Washington – voters may deliver a huge blow to Nixon's failed drug war by passing ballot questions to legalize and regulate marijuana. Keep an eye on these states – they are labs for national policy.
In the best of the rest of the news...
Keep an eye on the Senate. While the House is expected to stay in the hands of Republicans – the Senate is still up for grabs. Republicans have already hinted that if they do take control of the Senate then they will use a procedure known as reconciliation, which only requires a simple majority, to pass most of their radical agenda. Democrats have to defend 21 Senate seats today, while Republicans only have to defend 10 seats. But thanks to Tea Partiers nominating radical politicians like Todd Akin in Missouri and Richard Mourdock in Indiana, Republicans may have blown their chances.
Mitt Romney's top investor plans to party with him tonight, win or lose. Chinese casino mogul Sheldon Adelson will be attending Mitt Romney's election night event in Boston tonight. Adelson has spent more money in this election than any other individual in any other election in the nation's history – shelling out nearly $100 million in partly Chinese money to defeat President Obama and Progressives around the nation. And Adelson says these aren't campaign contributions – they're campaign investments. That's because Adelson stands to gain tremendously from a Republican President – with billions of dollars in tax breaks and a halt to President Obama's Justice Department investigation of Adelson for corruption. Adelson may come up short tonight – but his story should be a warning sign for future elections as more and more billionaires are empowered to buy our elections in this post-Citizens United America. In just this election – the total amount of contributions to all federal races will likely top $4 billion. We need to join MoveToAmend.org and build a movement after this election that will end corporate personhood and hand democracy back to "we the people" – and take it away from "them the billionaires."
Also on this Election Day – a dire warning about climate change has been issued. It's been largely ignored on the campaign trail, but a new report by the global accounting firm Pricewaterhouse Cooper warns that ignoring a warming planet will put businesses around the world at tremendous risk. The report projects as much as a six-degree increase in global temperatures by the end of the year. As one of the authors of the report said, "This isn't about shock tactics, it's simple math...We're heading into uncharted territory for the scale of transformation and technical innovations required. Whatever the scenario, or the response, business as usual is not an option." Mitt Romney and the Republican Party's response to climate change has been exactly that: business as usual. Thus, it's not hyperbolic to say that the health of the plant literally hinges on President Obama being re-elected.
And finally...with several hours until the polls officially close – we already have some numbers coming out of a battleground state. At midnight last night, the small village of Dixville Notch New Hampshire cast its traditional first votes of Election Day. And it was tie. With ten voters showing up at the polls, President Obama and Mitt Romney each got five votes. In nearby Hart's Location, New Hampshire – which also voted last night – President Obama trounced Mitt Romney 23 votes to 9 votes. Ultimately though – the state is too close to call. Get used to hearing that tonight.
And that's the way it is today – Election Day – Tuesday, November 06, 2012. I'm Thom Hartmann – on the news.