When the Daily Transom showed up to Will Leitch‘s “Election Angst” party in Cobble Hill this evening, Mr. Leitch, the one time editor of Gawker media’s sports blog Deadspin who now pens a column for New York Magazine, directed us immediately to the backyard, where around a few people were standing around drinking beer; others were inside watching the returns on TV. A quick survey revealed that 11 voted for Barack Obama, one for Bob Barr, and one didn’t vote.
Arie, 32, an unemployed non-profit administrator, voted for Mr. Obama. He was exit polled outside his polling place in Chinatown. “I think it was Quinnipiac,” he said. “The guy talked funny.”
Getting exit polled means you are given a several page questionnaire, on which you describe not only your political leanings but census-like questions about your race, sex, religion and background. “It took about three minutes because I tore through it,” Arie said.
“I’ve voted in every election since I was 18,” says former Radar Online editor Alex Balk, who declined to say how many presidential elections that amounted to. “I’ve never waited more than four minutes.”
So how long was today’s wait? “Forty-five minutes,” Balk said. “But I got to wait in line right behind Ann Curry.” (At least there’s some reward for the price paid by waiting in line in New York: the random pseudo-celebrity sighting!)
As the crowd waited for CNN to confirm Pennsylvania, tensions were rising. A group of five guests stepped into Mr. Leitch’s backyard for a stress-breaking cigarette.
One guest was not nervous at all. “This is the happiest I’ve been. I think this is my most sincere smile I’ve ever smiled,” said Lindsay Robertson, the editor of the online video site Videogum. “I wish someone would take a picture of me smiling so sincerely for my Facebook page.”
Ms. Robertson voted for Mr. Obama. On the way into the voting booth, however, she had a frightening thought. “What if the Bradley effect took hold of me, and refused to let me vote for Obama?” she said. She motioned with her hand, as if it were paralyzed by some kind of racist Holy Spirit.
“Don’t worry. It didn’t. The Bradley effect doesn’t affect me,” she said. She smiled sincerely.
UPDATE, 10:10pm: As the networks call Ohio for Obama, someone asks whether it is time to open the champagne. Immediately the crowd roars no, afraid that
they may jinx the hoped for Obama victory. (The one supporter of Mr. Barr has already gone home.)
Ms. Robertson asks, “Is it over?”
“Not yet,” says Aileen Gallagher, an editor at New York Magazine‘s website. “I don’t believe in ‘jinxing’ things but I’m pretty cynical.”
She is hopeful that the results could unite “us” with the rest of America. “The worst thing about the last election was that it showed that the rest of the country was very different from us. But now we’re coming together. People aren’t just voting against McCain. They’re voting for the new guy.”
UPDATE, 11pm: As the clock ticked toward 11 o’clock and the close of the polls on the West Coast, Mr. Leitch handed out small plastic cups to the guests. Moments later, the networks called the election for Mr. Obama. Mr. Leitch popped off the cork on the bottle of Champagne he had hidden behind his back. It was, at last, safe to open it.
As the glasses were filled, the guests broke into a chorus of the Star Spangled Banner. They toasted Obama’s victory. After they were done singing, they hugged and exchanged high fives. Then Mr. Leitch adjusted his iPod to play the Team America theme song, “America! Fuck Yeah!”
The song seemed not quite to fit with the mood of the room. Mr. Leitch cut it off part way through.
“You know what’s funny about patriotism?” Mr. Leitch said. “It doesn’t really work with irony.”