Election Special 2
Post-Election Election Roundup
First, two thoughtful messages from my most thoughtful correspondent, Jerry Pournelle:
Odd how none of those protests happened in 1996 election.
But in 96 there were 30,000 Reform votes in that district, and in 92 some 70,000. This year there were about 10% of the Reform votes as in 96, about the same number that Bucannan got in the primary in that district but what the hell.
"We are so damn dumb we can't figure out how to vote, so we deserve to have a new shot at electing the President."
It' s probably as good a way to decide as any. Incidentally, do you know of any state in which there are not allegations of at least some electoral fraud?
I don't like it when editors take advantage of their ability to have the last word, but I will say that, while I know of no state in which irregularities are not alleged, I wouldn't call it fraud. The sad fact is our election process always throws out a lot of votes--and that doesn't mean people are idiots, it means our voting system needs some serious work.
Jerry checked in later with a postscript:
Most republicans (of the want a republic not a democracy school) don't want power over others. The problem with power is that those who want it will get it. It's pretty hard to have rules to stop them
That is those who want power badly enough will not pay much attention to rules.
Me I do not want power over others. Nor responsibility for them other than my Christian duty. There is a political duty: Burke is the one who said that for a man to love his country his country ought to be lovely, and we can all agree that wretched poverty is not lovely; but it is usually exaggerated, and to make poverty lucrative means that we will get as much of it as we are willing to buy. If your job is being a victim then you will find employment.
This has gone on too far. My point is that I am unlikely to be astonished at the lengths to which those who want power will go to get it. I have read too much history.
Note please that Jerry's comments, and all others here, were sent prior to the final results being known.
A prominent Florida journalist and old friend of mine wrote:
Maybe I'm an incurable optimist, but I can find some good in this. I think the country has benefited from divided government. If the Republicans could have their way, they'd cut taxes until we couldn't meet our obligations. If the Democrats could have their way, they'd spend every cent and try to make us feel guilty for not paying more. With each held in check, we've paid down debt, interest rates declined, and we've enjoyed the greatest period of prosperity in history.
The good news today is that whoever's declared president, it'll be with the weakest imaginable mandate and a divided Senate. That's a formula for low ambition, no new programs, no new taxes or tax cuts and non-ideological judicial appointments.
Let the good times roll!
Long-time correspondent Richard Dalton checked in with this:
I flew to San Antonio (home of the Alamo, of course) Tuesday, spent two days at a conference and returned to Massachusetts last night. It would be hard to intersect a broader range of public opinions during this crazy limbo period.
What impressed me most was the general civility of all the flavors of Americana. Yes, there were strong opinions stongly held but an unusual amount of patience, as well. Made me prouder of the American people than I've felt in some years.
From Austin, where folks have had several years of George W. up close and personal, here's a few words from my friend and colleague Jonathan Blackwood:
Yeah, I'm afraid we're gonna be pretty polarized for a while, with a lot of one-termers. I heard an interesting thing on NPR in Vegas about this guy talking about the country being divided between the secular culture on the one hand, who more or less accepts those aspects the cultural revolution of the 60s that survived, and the religious or moral culture on the other, who rejects them.
But the long-term demographics are against the Republicans. Despite their best efforts, they lost blacks nine to one, they lost Hispanics three to one, they lost the Jewish vote and the gay vote (each of which was four percent of the votes cast, according to exit polls) three to one each, and so on. Hispanics become a plurality in Texas in 2020. So Texas may be very Republican short term, but I don't think it stays that way in the long term. Especially with its strong Democratic tradition.
Finally, as this moves towards being the longest single item in the history of my column, let me give Craig Reynolds the last word:
It strikes me as ironic that Bush, champion of state's rights and local control, critic of interference by federal "big government", is using the U.S. District courts to stop the Florida communities from recounting their own votes.
Me too, Craig, Me Too.
Electoral Web Sites of the Week
Fred Langa sent me a program which shows how electronic, on-screen voting might look. The executable file is 139KB, so don't download it if you're one a slow connection.
Craig Reynolds found this:
Phil Gill checks in with this gem:
Barry Surman turns in this one:
An old friend of mine worked up a spoof cover, reflecting Time's take on the unresolved election [making light of their usual efforts to put out a quickie issue the day after the election]:
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