The Briefing, Monday, November 5, 2012

The Briefing, Monday, November 5, 2012

R. Albert Mohler, Jr.
November 5, 2012

TODAY: It’s election eve in America–things to consider. The race to 270, the consequences of elections, the power of the presidency, moral issues on the ballot, and social issues emerge again. Plus, judgment day for pollsters. I discuss all these and more in today’s edition of The Briefing: A Daily Analysis of News and Events from a Christian Worldview.

This is Election Eve, and the frantic presidential campaigns are doing everything they can to reach 270 Electoral College votes tomorrow. By this point, it becomes a ground game. The only question is which voters get to the polls and vote. Both candidates are working at the margins, crossing the country to visit key battleground states, where the campaigns will meet victory or defeat. As Monday dawned, the Romney campaign had been targeting Pennsylvania and President Obama attempted to build a firewall in Ohio. Time will tell.

Why such interest in one office? As President John F. Kennedy said, the presidency is now where the power is. This is especially true in light of the vast expansion of the Federal government’s bureaucracy and reach, and the proliferation of Executive Orders. When the founders called for “energy in the Executive,” they surely did not have the modern expanded Presidency in mind. (For ample evidence of this fact, read The Federalist Papers.)

Tomorrow will determine who will be the next President (even if we do not know tomorrow night), but the Presidency is not all that is at stake. Control of the U.S. Senate is a key issue, as are the House of Representatives races. Republicans are expected to add to their number of governorships.

Moral issues are on the ballot as well, even beyond the race for the Presidency. Same-Sex marriage is on the ballot in Maine, Maryland, Minnesota, and Washington State. Assisted suicide is in the ballot in Massachusetts.

Voters in California will decide the fate of Proposition 30, Gov. Jerry Brown’s plan for a significant tax increase in that already high-tax state, California faces a dramatic budget crisis, with a current shortfall approaching $14 billion. Looming ahead are massive public pension deficits. Gov. Brown wants a lot of new tax money, but the voters appear poised to deny him the increase. They want cuts, however severe, rather than higher taxes. They have watched neighbors and businesses leaving the state in order to move to locations with lower taxes.

In the presidential race, social issues like abortion and same-sex marriage roared back into view, but from an unexpected direction. In the early stages of the campaign, conservatives were accused of using these issues to divide the electorate. But, in the waning weeks of the campaign, it was President Obama and the Democrats who kept bringing abortion, in particular, back into view. In Sunday’s edition of The New York Times, columnist Nicholas Kristof used his space to warn women that the election of Mitt Romney would mean a risk to Planned Parenthood funding — a rather narrow issue you might think for a last word on the campaign for President of the United States.

As Robert Samuelson of The Washington Post asserted, tomorrow will be a “moment of truth” for pollsters as well. The proliferation of polls has come as Americans are far less willing to participate in polling (response rate in 1997, 36% — in 2012, only 9%) and as the pollsters are confused about how to conduct polls in the cell-phone era. Also, pollsters who look for “likely voters” find a good many likely liars, as the numbers do not match up. I discuss a range of issues on the poll front. We complain about them, but can’t stop talking about them.

I then discuss Mark Silk’s “religious breakdown” of 12 battleground states and then the fact that Europeans support President Obama’s re-election by 90% — and why. Secularization is a major factor.

Finally, in a very different note, I mention FEMA director Craig Fugate’s “Waffle House Test” for national emergencies. It sounds strange, but it makes sense.

I discuss all these and more in today’s edition of The Briefing: A Daily Analysis of News and Events from a Christian Worldview. Listen here. Links to all articles cites also provided.

R. Albert Mohler, Jr.

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