Inside President Obama's McCormick Place rally

OPINION

  • Crowds gather at McCormick Place for the election night rally.
Crowds gather at McCormick Place for the election night rally. (Tribune photo )
November 06, 2012|Stephen Markley, @stephenmarkley

RedEye columnist Stephen Markley sends thoughts, observations and musings from the rally in Chicago on election night.

11:07 p.m.: We are now packed in even tighter, and I'm looking around hoping the Fire Marshall had his shit together when he was planning this. The body odor is especially acute because everyone has been jumping around, dancing and generally reveling.

We await Mitt Romney's concession speech, mostly because we all want to hear Obama's speech and then go get drunk. This election has been a bracing slog, and we would just like to get back to the bracing slog of Republican intransigence and general bad will like God intended.

In other news, I really wish I'd checked my jacket. Some people have chosen to tie the jackets around their waist 1980s-dad-style, but I'm still trying to make eyes at cute Obama supporters rather than make myself out to be some kind of weirdo.

Also there were concessions outside, including nachos. I know because I'm currently standing in some.

10:29 p.m.: Barack Obama has just been projected to win re-election, The Beatles "Twist and Shout" is playing, and Democrats are far better dancers than Republicans.

My home state of Ohio delivered, and we can all feel just fine for Mitt Romney because he is after all a multi-millionaire with amazing hair.

10:02 p.m.: Whoever is handling the DJ responsibilities, along with the eight-way news splitscreen, is doing a really sloppy job. Big news comes in bits and drabs interrupting Al Green, or Al Green interrupts Elizabeth Warrens victory speech.

We are hungry and thirsty and tired. The elderly have been taken to death panels and 47 percent of the crowd is testing free food and seating vouchers while the rest have to hand over their wallets.

The crowd erupts in conniptions and boos at very obvious states.

We await Ohio or Florida to end this.

9:31 p.m.: We have now entered the "This isn't fun right now, my feet hurt, this guy is breathing on my ear weird" portion of the night as we await the results from one of the three states that actually matter.

I'm down to an undershirt now, and the mix CD playing over the speaker system has worn out its welcome. I will update later, unless of course we've all entered some kind of "Groundhog Day" infinite election night loop and will start seeing New Hampshire called over and over again.

8:56 p.m.: It's looking good for Democrats in several key states and senate races, which means the crowd is getting to shout and jump around for a great many live reaction shots. The campaign keeps interrupting the news for campaign propaganda videos. Why, Team Obama? Everyone here voted for you, some of us more than twice! (jk, Fox News).

It looks like Indiana senate candidate and noted rape scholar Richard Mourdock lost, which earned the largest senate-related cheer of the night.

Returns are in from my pit stains: They have won in a landslide.

8:17 p.m.: We finally made it into the main staging area for the night. The stage has terrible positioning on the long side of a rectangle, so most of the supporters will be looking at the back of a lot of sweaty heads. Ohio is looking ass-stompingly-good for the president right now, so frenetic cheers are springing up every time the numbers come on screen. We have no audio on the news though and are instead listening to what might be some kind of R&B mixtape Barack once gave to Michelle for Valentine's Day. We much prefer it to whatever Meat Loaf/Marshall Tucker Band playlist is going on at Romney HQ.

7:53 p.m.: We have now entered the phase when we are being herded like cattle through an endless series of ambulatory lines, while eavesdropping on people with better smartphone signals who are reporting the latest rumors and hearsay.

From the guy behind me: "Don't think we will win Florida because the Republicans managed to scare all the Jews."

From the woman in front of me: "Warren is up in Massachusetts. That's one I really want."

I also decided against the coat check because it had the smell of chaos, but I may soon regret that as the night's returns come in from my pit stains.

7:06 p.m.: We've arrived at McCormick to find hungry Obama supporters clamping together through the door. The list of Do's and Dont's associated with our passes is mostly "Dont's." Here are some of the ones that suck the most:

-No screwdrivers or Leatherman utility tools. (Leatherman is full of Romney guys I guess.)

-No Frisbees.

-No booze or drugs. (Already ingested! Screw you Big Government

-No baby strollers or fireworks, which totally screws up the plans I had for my victory celebration.

Note: This will be updated thoughout the evening. See the RedEye newsroom's observations and more RedEye election coverage at redeyechicago.com/election.

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