John Kerry might have won Ohio eight years ago if he had gotten a handful more votes per precinct. That would have made him president, and North Carolina's John Edwards vice president. If Kerry won re-election in 2008, which is entirely plausible, Edwards would have probably been the front-runner for this year's Democratic presidential nomination. as a two-term vice president.. (Assuming, as vice president, that he would have had capable enough subordinates to keep him on the straight and narrow, which is moderately plausible, and we would not have heard of a woman named Rielle.)
So tonight, John Edwards could be sitting in a fancy hotel suite somewhere, waiting for the returns to come in. He could be preparing to deliver his first speech as the president-elect, completing an amazing rise from a relatively obscure but successful Raleigh lawyer to the Oval Office.
That's what a few votes per precinct in Ohio would have done. Maybe Hillary Clinton would be Edwards' vice president-elect, or that charismatic Illinois senator, Barack Obama.
I was talking about this with a fellow editor, and we came up with this question for you, faithful reader: Which would you have preferred, George W. Bush re-elected in 2004 for a second term, or President-elect John Edwards tonight?
Such are the thoughts you have as you wait for the polls to close.
--Dan Barkin, senior editor