At long last, the contest is over. Not since the 1876 clash between Hayes and Tilden for this nation's highest office have the results been this close; it was not until this morning that anyone could really be sure who would be taking possession of the Oval Office in January 1961.
In fact, as I took in a late lunch yesterday, the big IBM computer at CBS had already predicted a Nixon win with overwhelming confidence. This was an artifact of the flow of voting in this country: the day belongs to the Republican voter--it is only when the Democratic voter clocks out of his urban, blue-collar job that the tide begins to shift.
By dinnertime, CBS' big brain had switched opinions based on the torrent of Kennedy votes streaming in from the Northeastern seaboard and the big Eastern cities. New York, Philadelphia, and Chicago all threw the balance of their support for the Democratic candidate. Just as the tide was cresting, President Eisenhower took to the airwaves exhorting me and my fellow West-Coasters not to give up the fight (the message was lost on me, of course; I'd voted that morning).
Because the contest was not yet over. The Senator from Massachusetts had acquired a hefty lead, but it was slowly eroded as the night went on. When the polls closed in California, it became clear fairly quickly that the Union's second largest state was still undecided. The Los Angelinos had not followed the example of the other big cities, their ardor for Kennedy moderated by their fondness for native son Nixon. By midnight Pacific Time, when I decided to turn in (I still had work the next day, after all), the fate of the presidency rested on four states: Michigan, Minnesota, Illinois, and California.
(read the rest at Galactic Journey!)