Mike Allen has an interesting Politico piece on how the networks will handle election night if it’s a blowout. It’s not just a matter of graphics, blue-and-red maps, and analysts galore, but what to say and when to say it.

Allen explains that Virginia may be the bellweather, since there’s no scenario in which McCain loses that state but wins the election — and since Virginia’s in the east, the results there will be in long before voting has ended in the west. Anchors and reporters may have to choose their words carefully in that case, knowing how it’s likely to end but without pissing off states where the polls haven’t closed.

On the other hand, it would be nice to have an election night that doesn’t drag on forever.