Idiot Box: Where Will You Go, What Will You Do On Election Night 2012?

Your Guide To Election Night 2012

Devin D. O'Leary
4 min read
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In case you forgot, we’re having a little election on Tuesday, Nov. 6. If somehow the fact did escape your grasp, you’ll be majorly confronted by it when you turn on the idiot box. Starting early that evening, it’ll be a sea of pundits in red or blue ties showing off a string of slowly accruing exit poll numbers and electoral college counts. With any luck, we’ll get some Telestrator doodling and maybe a fancy hologram or two just to jazz things up.

Now you could put your head in the sand—spend the night at a movie theater or take a very long bath—and basically pretend that the loudest and most expensive political campaign in our nation’s history isn’t happening. But that’s just un-American. It is your country, and you should have
some interest in the outcome of this election—no matter how sick of politics you’ve become at this point. So how can you survive the evening without going crazy? Here are a few basic tips:

You Can’t Avoid It—Forget about trying to watch anything else on TV. I mean, you might be able to locate some “WWE SmackDown” over on Syfy. TruTV’s “Hardcore Pawn” will be having its sixth season premiere. Animal Planet has a “Finding Bigfoot” marathon. For some reason, Hallmark Channel counterprograms with a selection of dog movies (101 Dalmatians, Puppy Love and You Lucky Dog). Other than that, it’s pretty much all election returns, all night.

ABC and CBS start their primetime coverage bright and early at 5 p.m. NBC jumps in at 5:30 p.m. PBS adds its two cents, starting at 6 p.m. Current TV has got Al Gore and Eliot Spitzer commenting, also at 6 p.m. FOX holds out until 7 p.m. MSNBC, FOX News and CNN will have election coverage all day long, of course, but will switch over to the serious analysis come primetime.

Pick Your Poison—You’re going to have to settle in somewhere for the duration. If you’re liberal, you’re going to head for PBS. If you’re conservative, you’re choosing FOX. Stick with the coverage that’s going to give you the least agita. But feel free to channel surf on occasion. See how the numbers are stacking up on the other side of the dial. See how the opposition is spinning things. Know your enemy, people.

Pace Yourself—Don’t forget to step away from the TV screen. Vent to your friends. Grab a snack. Have a cocktail. Turn it into a drinking game: Take a shot every time Tom Brokaw says the phrase “too close to call.” If you spend every waking hour glued to the night’s shifting numbers, you’ll go cross-eyed.

All Politics is Local—Don’t forget to cheer on the hometown favorites. There are lots of local races as well. We’ve got senators, representatives, judges and commissioners to elect. There are plenty of municipal bonds to watch. It’s not all about who gets to be president. Bottom line: Don’t forget to enjoy the foreplay.

It’s Gonna be a Long Night—And possibly a long next day. As contentious as politics has become and as close as this contest is looking, I wouldn’t be at all surprised if we don’t have a clear-cut winner come bedtime. In fact, it wouldn’t be a total shock to see this election decided in a courtroom. So, prepare yourself for the long haul.
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