POST-GAZETTE - Res Publica

Presidential Mask Election Predictor

by David Trumbull

October 8, 2004

Fight Night in Revere, last Friday, my wife and I had the pleasure of attending the bouts presented by Rich Cappiello and the National Italian American Sports Hall of Fame. In addition to seeing some fine ring action, we met some of the local legends of sport, including the great Tony DeMarco. The evening even inspired me to choose my costume for Hallowe’en --I’m going as a prizefighter.

October brings poltergeists, pirates, and the Presidential Mask Election Predictor. According to the fancy dress purveyor, sales of political masks have correctly predicted the outcome of every Presidential election since 1980.

The winner on November 2, 2004? Well, as I write, George W. Bush mask sales are ahead of John Kerry masks, 55 to 45 percent.

It makes sense. People want to go with a winner. And for all the talk of evil, creepy, and scary things, Hallowe’en masks are at least as much about revealing as concealing. Once a year on October 31 we don fancy dress and walk “the road not taken” (to use a line from Robert Frost, whom we celebrate on October 23 – see Mass. General Laws, Chapter 6). That’s why a middle-aged, out-of-shape, four-eyed, local political writer will put on a glove and pretend to be Tony DeMarco.

Boxing is a metaphor for politics (or is it the other way around?). Before the first of the Bush/Kerry debates the Boston Herald cover showed the candidates, clad in trunks, in the ring, about to punch it out. As in the ring, the debaters faced off man-to-man. The trainers, corner-men, and spin-meisters can help get you there, but in the fight you are alone. The newspaper, radio, and internet accounts the next day all concurred that neither candidate threw a knockout blow. Fight fans know that KOs are rare, with most professional fights ending with a TKO or going to the scorecards.

With Kerry stumbling as he is, I expect the voters will invoke the three-knockdown rule and give the match to Bush. If it goes the scorecards, I’m standing by my August prediction of 53 to 47. The Presidential Mask Election Predictor of 55 to 45 sounds good too. And the chances of a Kerry victory? Well, that’s just too scary to contemplate as we approach Hallowe’en.

David Trumbull is the chairman of the Boston Ward Three Republican Committee; he may be contacted at (617) 742-6881 or Boston's Ward Three includes the North End, West End, part of Beacon Hill, downtown, waterfront, Chinatown, and part of the South End.