With no precincts reporting, Bob Dylan was already calling the presidential election for Barack Obama.
Monday night, Dylan was nearing the end of a Madison, Wisc. concert, when he treated the crowd to a performance of “Blowin’ In the Wind.” If playing that song on the eve of an election wasn’t an obvious enough symbol, Dylan interrupted the counterculture classic, turning the allusion into a prediction of real events.
“Don’t believe the media,” Dylan told the audience. “Obama will win in a landslide.”
And they went wild.
Dylan’s comments, as reported by the Associated Press, are hardly a surprise given his outspoken history and a long string of overtly political statements. What is a surprise is his transition from poet to prognosticator, with Dylan not saying that Obama should win, but that he would, and comfortably.
Most surprising of all is that anyone was able to decipher Dylan’s exact words and quote him verbatim, given that the 71-year-old’s voice has lately been reduced to a gravel-on-chalkboard rasp. (Is it possible he actually said, “Mama’s chicken is pan-fried”?)
In fact, the statement drew so much buzz that Dylan embarked on yet another frontier to confirm it. On election day, Dylan went electric, so to speak, penning his first-ever Facebook post to verify the story. In less than 24 hours, the post has racked-up more than 30,000 "likes." From Dylan's Facebook page:
"Here's pretty close to what I said last night in Madison. I said from the stage that we had to play better than good tonight, that the president was here today and he’s a hard act to follow. Also, that we’re not fooled by the media and we think it’s going to be a landslide. That’s pretty much all of it.
- Bob Dylan"
First predicting elections, then going viral on social media? Watch your back, Nate Silver.
As it turns out, the beatnik-turned-bluesman was dead on in terms of the electoral college (apparently, Bob outgrew the populism of his youth) which Obama leads 303-206, a margin that included Wisconsin’s 10 votes.
Dylan’s next stop, of course, is a Wednesday night show at the Xcel Center in St. Paul. Given that his presidential prediction came true, attendees can expect the event to have something of a celebratory atmosphere.
After that, Dylan hits the road again for a Thursday night gig in Milwaukee, where, during that night’s rendition of “Mr. Tambourine Man,” he will use another digression to preview the upcoming round of decisions from the Supreme Court.