Wednesday, September 29, 2004
Foreseeable Complications

Following on from a conversation I was having earlier tonight over a late-night breakfast of bacon and eggs, I feel the need to express my intense anxiety over the coming election. This thing I most fear -- the eventuality that most tend to make my jaw clench with worry -- is not that Bush smoothly wins re-election. That would suck, of course; that would be, in my not-so-humble opinion, a terrible thing for this country. But I do think that there's a worse possibility: an inconclusive election.

A really close vote would be a disaster, if only because of the chaos that would surely follow. From my vantage point in London in 2000, the Florida debacle made it seem as though my country had gone mad; I cannot imagine what I could make of a situation in which there were multiple Floridas, each one carrying its own potential for manipulation and confusion. And it's not the confusion itself that I fear, it's what it all means for the society in which I live.

You have to understand, those of us who voted for Gore feel very strongly that whatever happened, it was handled badly. Things were skipped over, steps were overlooked; the reason we are unsettled about the 2000 election, and Florida in particular, is because nobody seems to really understand what went wrong, and for many of us, that means something happened that shouldn't have. In one way or another, the process was compromised.

And if that happens again? Once seemed freakish; if it happens twice, doesn't that mean that it's because something has fundamentally changed in the electoral process? And if that process has changed, how can we trust it to see that the right person is handed power?

Others have expressed this angst better than I can, of course:
Gore and his team knew that the Republicans would fight with everything they had, but they still maintained some faith in the legal system to require basic fairness in something this important. And, even the most cynical of us thought that the egos of the Supreme Court justices would never allow them to make a purely partisan decision because history would remember them as whores.

If I had any political idealism left it died on the day that Antonin Scalia stopped judges from counting votes in Florida.

This article shows that fix was in from the beginning. Had Gore audaciously requested a statewide recount he would have been accused of not following the strict laws that required him to show problems in each precinct. It was always headed to the Supremes and once they took the case, the interviews with the Supreme court clerks show that there was never any question about who would win. It was always a decision in search of a rationale.

If Jeffrey Rosen is correct and dozens of lawsuits await filing in close races out there, all based on this ill-considered opinion, then we are likely to see a repeat. After all, the same five vote majority still sits on the court today. And like all the others who voted for this irresponsible, unqualified, incompetent boob in 2000, they are not likely to admit their mistake and vote otherwise this time out.

This time, we must operate on that assumption and prepare for a knife fight --- in the courts and in the realm of public opinion. There are no rules other than winning.

Go read the whole piece, it's very... interesting. In a scary way.

I think November 2 is gonna be a long, loooooong night.
1:04 AM ::
Amy :: permalink