Magazine article The Spectator

Diary

Magazine article The Spectator

Diary

Article excerpt

Straight off the overnight plane from a work trip to Miami I head for Paddy Power in Camberwell. I think I know what the result of the American election is going to be. Luckily for me (or perhaps for them) they are still closed so I wheel my suitcase home and the moment passes. My plan had been to lay a tenner on Romney winning and Biden remaining vice president. A 269/269 split in the electoral college is a real possibility (Romney takes Florida, Ohio, North Carolina and Nevada but Obama holds some of the smaller states, plus Virginia, and gets to the tie) and, in theory at least, an election settled in the House of Representatives, which would vote, in state blocs, for the Republican presidential candidate; and the Senate, which would choose the vice president, probably electing the Democrat. Of course, in the modern world the pressure on the members of the electoral college to change their allegiance and back the man who won the popular vote would be intense, so it might never get to C ongress. But my Romney-Biden ticket is still technically possible. I might discreetly manufacture some badges.

Mitt Romney owes me money. I say this with no bitterness - it is quite right that those with the broadest shoulders etc, etc - but for the record I think the sum is $2.70: it was the cost of a couple of sandwiches at the Republican Ladies' stall at their Iowa annual meeting somewhere near Des Moines in spring 2007. Romney and his wife were there but they had rather large-denomination dollar bills so to avoid embarrassment I stumped up and we ate our sandwiches together with a man from the local paper and a single security guard. The Romneys were both extremely pleasant, if a little overdressed. It reminded me of the moment when Bush senior was taken round a supermarket in his 1992 re-election campaign and, finding himself at the checkout, did not know what to do.

I am still buzzing with the sheer un-American hedonism of Florida's finest city. The really good thing about Miami, they say, is how close it is to the USA. Quite right: it is close but separate.

It is more than ever the capital of Latin America, home to a Spanish-language media market that extends - carelessly skipping over political borders and antiimmigration fences - through Mexico and Honduras and Nicaragua, down as far as Colombia and Venezuela. …

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