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  • C Stanley

    It’s official then: no Grognard Scenario.

    That silence you hear is the absence of rioting and the peaceful transition of power when the losing party accepts defeat with dignity.

  • Mikkel

    Yes, quite unlike the Election Riots of ’94 when the newly elected Congress was forced to barricade themselves in Capitol Hill with only platitudes and discarded copies of the ERA and Communist Manifesto for protection.

    I guarantee that they won’t accept defeat with dignity. There will be an upcoming civil war behind closed doors and the group arguing that they lost because they weren’t ideologically pure enough will most likely win and up the social war battle to new heights. It’s after they lose even worse in the next election (and I’ll go out on a limb here and say that the President and Congressional ratings skyrocket after he works with the Democrats on some key issues) that there will be any semblance of self reflection or doubt.

  • bellisaurius

    We need to recognize class when we see it. I say thank you to both competitors, and I hope that everyone is equally classy in the future.

  • C Stanley

    There’s a difference between accurately (or inaccurately) reading the message sent in the election and casting accusations about the integrity of the election, don’t you think?

  • egrubs

    Gore screwed up in 2000. It looked bad for Democrats and worse for him. The guys conceding close races are doing the smart thing.

    Nixon didn’t come across as a baby when there were controversial returns in 1960, and he was able to come back. Losing with dignity is generally the smart decision for a comeback.

  • Mikkel

    CS, I’ll give them respect for not questioning the integrity of the election when they stop running campaigns that cast their opponents as terrorist lovers and sexual deviants.

    It’s also comparing apples and oranges because they were behind in all the polls going in and the final result wasn’t so different from the exit polls. If the 06 election had the same polling as the 04 election but in the Republican’s favor I would not only expect them to act the same but would want them too. After all, casting accusations about the integrity of an election — and then accepting the results instead of turning violent — is much more important than acting civil and possibly disenfranchising the People.

    Plus, Tester won by 3k+ votes and Webb by 7k+. If it had been less than 1k I would have expected the Republicans to demand a manual recount and would think it’s the right thing to do; just like Gore should have gotten a full Florida (and Bush a full New Mexico? I believe that’s where Gore only won by a couple hundred votes — whichever state it was) recount. ’00 was different than ’04 where it was only the fringe elements that continued complaining after all the votes were counted because Bush won by so much nationally that he deserved to be reelected.

  • bellisaurius

    Mikkel, you make a point I should have mentioned: Doing the recount’s fine. Gore was right to ask for a recount. Things do happen. Just keep it down to whatever that state’s law says, or that equity demands. Once it hits the courts, then it starts to look bad.

  • Mikkel

    Right, that’s why people were so pissed about the 2000 election. I’ll just copy from Wikipedia here (with my emphasis):

    Due to the narrow margin of the original vote count, Florida law mandated a statewide recount. In addition, the Gore campaign requested that the votes in three counties be recounted by hand. Florida state law at the time allowed the candidate to request a manual recount by protesting the results of at least three precincts. The county canvassing board would then decide whether to recount as well as the method of the recount in those three precincts. If the board discovered an error, they were then authorized to recount the ballots. The canvassing board did not discover any errors in the tabulation process in the initial mandated recount. The Bush campaign sued to prevent additional recounts on the basis that no errors were found in the tabulation method until subjective measures were applied in manual recounts. This case eventually reached the United States Supreme Court, which ruled 5–4 to stop the vote recount, allowing Florida Secretary of State Katherine Harris to certify the election results. This allowed Florida’s electoral votes to be cast for Bush, making him the winner. Seven of the nine Justices agreed that the lack of unified standards in counting votes violated the Constitutional guarantee of equal protection of the laws, but five agreed that there was insufficient time to impose a unified standard and that the recounts should therefore be stopped.

    Gore was stupid for trying to cherrypick which counties to recount by hand — I personally thought all counties should be recounted by hand with some statewide criteria mandated by an impartial party (like the Florida Supreme Court). Somehow it got twisted into Gore trying to use the courts when in fact it was the Bush campaign that got it into Federal Court, which led to a god awful decision where they said what should be done but then prevented it from happening.

  • interested

    Gore was stupid for trying to cherrypick which counties to recount by hand — I personally thought all counties should be recounted by hand with some statewide criteria mandated by an impartial party (like the Florida Supreme Court).

    I did too, between that and the scenes of some guy holding a ballot up to the light to determine the voters intent.

  • AustinRoth

    statewide criteria mandated by an impartial party (like the Florida Supreme Court)

    Oh man,that is so damn funny.

    I never have gotton over how conviently the left has forgotten how biased the FSC was towards Gore. That is why Bush kept going to SCOTUS, which kept slapping down their obviously biased rulings, and by large majorities.

    It was only the vote on whether there was time for a fair recount that was a close 5-4 SCOTUS decision. All the other rulings went strongly against the FSC.

  • Mikkel

    Well Austin technically I think there should be an impartial group in all states setup for election matters like redistricting and election disputes — like what Arnold proposed for CA (I really wish he will bring it up now that he’s in their good grace again).

    Still, the Supreme Court could have forced the FSC to make a uniform standard that was to their liking and then doing the recount based on state law: they didn’t even do that.

  • Rubyeyes

    Makes me feel real good every time I see that nut-job Harris on the b00b t00b.

  • capelza

    Everytime I see John Bolton I remember him from Florida…the “white Collar Riot”..yes, very dignified ~cough~.

    Allen did have the right for a recount and I wouldn’t have minded at all. Good for him not too.

  • AustinRoth

    That was the essence of the 7-2 ruling. The 5-4 ruling was that there was not time. Another interesting point is the results of all the unofficial recounts done after, which were split on who actually would have prevailed, and the standard being used was the deciding factor.

    The truth is, from a purely statistical point of view, Florida was a tie (as was New Mexico). The difference in the number of votes is well within any margin of error for all counting methods, and each recount increased the margin of error. Accepting the offical tally, Bush by 537 votes, that is a difference of .009%. No recount estimate ever gave either candidate even a 1,000 vote victory, so it is impossible to say who really one.

    Unless you want to look at the one area where confusion probably did lead to Gore losing, the good old Palm County butterfly chad. As even Pat Buchannan himself said, “When I took one look at that ballot on Election Night … it’s very easy for me to see how someone could have voted for me in the belief they voted for Al Gore.”

    Pat got 3.407 votes, and even his own party chair said he estimated the number of Buchanan supporters in Palm Beach County to be between 400 and 500, and when asked how many votes he would guess Buchanan legitimately received in Palm Beach County, he said, “I think 1,000 would be generous.”

    So that was where Gore should have put his efforts, but there various were reasons he could not, the main one being you can’t use statistical sampling to force votes to be switched form one candidate to another.

    But if you use the 1,000 vote number, and then allowing for other statistics show about a 3.5 ratio of misvotes for Gore to Bush due to the butterfy ballot, that means it is very likely a little over 1,700 votes meant for Gore didn’t happen, about 700 for Bush, which would be a net of 1,000 votes to Gore, and that is above all estimated margins of victory for either candidate.

    Of course, there are likely other places that mistakes may have occurred, and thas one is just conjecture, but very likely.

  • Mikkel

    Yeah you are right about the statistics. The real lesson of close races (no matter what they are) and third parties being demonized instead of appreciated is that we would do better to have election reform with preferential voting or somesuch. Of course then Clinton would never have been elected and the 2000 election wouldn’t have happened.

  • AustinRoth

    Mikkel –

    i actually like the electoral college system, as it prevents complete domination of national elections by metropolitan areas.

    I think the lesson that should have been learned from Florida is that this is why you don’t try to change the rules midstream via the courts.

    Election rules are agreed upon ahead of time, everyone know what they are, and if you don;t win and it seems the rules may be to blame, well, accept your defeat and try to get the rules changed for the next election via the proper method, state legislation.

    Using the courts should be a final resort when there is evidence of fraud is one thing, but the 2000 litigation never was about fraud, but rahter constantly revolved around redefining the rules of the election.

  • Mikkel

    You could keep the electoral college but change how we determine the winner. In preferential voting people could vote for third parties and not “throw away their vote” because they could mark who a second/third choice is.

    Most close elections seem to have the two main candidates very close and then a third party that is ideologically aligned with only one of the candidates that got enough votes to determine the difference (although theoretically I guess you could have elections that aren’t “close” now become close from the same system.) Then we wouldn’t have the Green or Reform parties “throwing” the election and people could vote their conscience while still making a difference in the final vote tally.

  • interested

    I don’t consider it throwing the vote. I think people should vote their conscious. If their conscious brought them to vote Green than so be it. That means that both mainstream parties did not do a good enough job to win that individuals vote.

    The voter has zero responsibility to vote (for example) Repub instead of Libertarian just so that the Dem’s will not win. That’s not exactly part of a free election process. They have every responsibility to vote their conscious.

  • Mikkel

    interested: ideally you’re right and I argued as much with my parents after the 2000 election when I said I didn’t blame Nader at all. However the more I’ve thought about it and talked to people that are moderates or prefer a third-party, the more I’ve seen that they end up voting against a party instead of for it.

    In my experience the only people that actually vote for a third party are very ideologically pure or the election isn’t close at all. I think Libertarians especially could get a large portion of the vote if people with libertarian leanings could show their intent but still be pragmatic. If they got 10-20% and could act more as a voting bloc it would give them more power.

  • C Stanley

    I agree with you in principle, but I see it being more complex when you are actually in the position of wanting to support a third party candidate but perhaps also wanting to cast a vote against a party to which you are significantly opposed. In the current situation, there is no way for a voter to satisfy both of those goals, but in the system that Mikkel proposes there is.

  • interested

    Oh I agree it’s complex CStanley and I agree that many vote against rather than for Mikkel.

    Guess I see it like quitting smoking. There’s never going to be a good time to quit, there will always be stress or something involved each time you try that will make you want to put it off. Tough part’s to just do it.

    This past election I voted for quite a few more Libertarians than I ever did before. Course like you guys were saying – in my area it didn’t matter much as it’s overwhelmingly Democrat.

    If it were to play out again, with this particular race a tossup between Dem &Repub – I’d still have voted Lib – as the other two candidates sucked.

  • grognard

    CS, LOL yes the Grognard Scenario did not play out, the margins of victory were large enough to make recounts unnecessary in most races. I do applaud Burns and Allen for not going through the recount process, I do know in the last recount in Virginia [an even closer election] the change was only 40 votes. It was not worth going though the agony. Too bad though, I did have some cars picked out to overturn and burn. Maybe I will have to wait for 2008.

  • C Stanley

    Using the courts should be a final resort when there is evidence of fraud is one thing, but the 2000 litigation never was about fraud, but rahter constantly revolved around redefining the rules of the election.

    I agree completely about this and there’s big reason why this is so important: the 9/11 commission report clearly showed that the commissioners saw evidence that the shortened transition time for the new administration caused some balls to be dropped. Now, I’m not saying that the Democrats are therefore to be blamed for 9/11- but this points out a huge consequence of litigating elections, that the important task of transition is given short shrift.

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