Political And Other Miscellany From A Stout Democrat In Dallas Texas.
"Politics is the only game for adults." --from Robert A. Heinlein's Double Star

Tuesday, October 12, 2004

THE NIGHTMARE THIS TIME: I hope Bush loses "big time", but if he does win honestly, then I hope it is by a margin huge enough that there is no doubt that the public, dang 'em, really gave it to him. I don't think this country's political culture could survive another messup like last time. Now some lawyers have raised the possibility that things could be even worse if this is close. (See for instance, this article at The Lincoln Plawg.)

Most states give the winner of the state all of its electoral votes. A couple break it down by which Congressional districts each candidate carries. Colorado is voting on an amendment which will split its votes the same way. What if it passes, and those few votes make the difference? Won't whichever side loses because of it, file suit claiming the amendment couldn't take effect at the same election it was voted on? If this goes to Scalia and his minions on the Supreme Court, won't they rule whichever way helps Bush?

There is an even more troublesome possibility. What if a large state goes for Kerry, but with Bush carrying several districts, and it has a Republican Governor and legislature. Couldn't the Governor ask the legislature to pass a bill splitting their votes by districts, thus helping Bush? That would apply to Texas, but there is virtually no chance Bush will lose this state. Frighteningly, it does apply to Ohio. If it would make a difference and they pull that, what happens? Of course the Democrats would sue, but Scalia et al are sure to rule for Bush.

If you are always going to lose because the other side changes the rules whenever you would have won, what incentive is there to go on playing the game? And what if it is not a game, but a matter of life and death, as government policy can be. Think of starving old folks, poisoned consumers, illegal abortions, a miltary draft, rising oceans from global warming, and a 1918-sized pandemic caused by cuts in health care, just to mention a few.

For majority rule to work, the majority must agree to let the minority survive, and not try to destroy it, as the Delay machine is doing. For elections to work, the participants must feel they have a fair chance, however slim, to prevail if they convince enough voters. What if two elections in a row look rigged, and they give up that hope? The streets of our own cities might begin to look like Beirut, Belfast, Belgrade -- or Baghdad. Pleasant dreams.


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