Why Count the Vote 2004
The various recount and other efforts underway, the efforts that might be mounted, and the calls for investigations into voting irregularities, don't need much justification. If fraud and suppression happened, and we have no doubt the GOPers engaged in both, these crimes against democracy must be exposed. That doesn't guarantee it won't happen again, but unless these efforts and techniques are exposed, they most certainly will be used again, starting with the next election.
But what about this 2004 election? Some argue that the votes that might be recovered won't be enough to change the outcome. But the above argument then pertains: do it for next time, show that people are serious about this.
Others argue that even if there are just enough votes to give Kerry a narrow electoral vote victory, Bush's popular vote majority would cripple a Kerry presidency so badly that it wouldn't be worth it to win.
But Bush's own 2000 selection as President belies that argument, even if you eliminate from consideration the 9-11 moment that transformed his presidency.
Suppose by some improbable series of events, enough votes appeared in Ohio to give Kerry a narrow electoral college victory before the election of Bush becomes official. Suppose nothing else changes, and President Kerry was inaugurated with both houses of Congress firmly GOPer, and Bush retaining a smaller popular vote plurality.
Of course there would be contention, and Kerry would face a hostile Congress and a divided electorate. But he would have one overwhelming advantage. He would be President of the United States. Congress would have to react to him. It would be up to Kerry to realistically push for the most important legislation, and to introduce and fight for legislation that at least would provoke a public political debate, even if it had little chance of being passed by this Congress. Another House and a third of the Senate is elected in two years.
Kerry would find the sources of his power in how he handled the presidency. Our European allies would embrace him and lend their support in the world, so he could reach out to countries in the Middle East. He would use his personal diplomatic knowledge and skills, with the power of the presidency supporting him, to change the calculus for Iraq and our other pressing international problems. With his support of science and technology and understanding of their economic role, he would change the international economic relationship of the U.S.
Kerry would appoint a new cabinet, which in itself would change government and its relationship to corporate special interests. Once Bobby Kennedy Jr. at EPA starts making headlines, the media and the political opposition will have to deal with those issues openly, with their feet kept firmly in the fire by the bloggers and hopefully by environmental organizations that have learned they can’t go to sleep when a Democrat is in office.
And even a politically handicapped President Kerry would be the one appointing Supreme Court justices. The fights would be ugly, and the best candidates might not get in, but neither would the kind of justices and judges we're apt to get from Bush in the next four years.
So we don't buy that the presidency isn't worth winning in this unusual way. It worked for Bush. The Rabid Right would probably be more ferocious and certainly more underhanded in its frenzy to cripple the Kerry presidency, than the opposition to Bush was, but it would still be worth it. It was always a reason that Kerry was the right candidate. He's taken fire before. He can handle it.
Then Kerry would have what we believe gave Bush his principal advantage: four years to make his case, and the power of incumbency in a time of danger. Kerry had a few months, maybe a few weeks of the national attention, which is not very thorough in the short run. And even so, Kerry was gaining in the last months, the last weeks, days and hours. That's one reason repeating the same message over and over works. Apart from giving the groupfeel faithful their talking points, it's a substitute for thought and careful attention for overburdened people trying to limit the time they devote to politics to scanning headlines. Once the electorate got to know President Kerry, and saw what he is about, they could render a better informed verdict in 2008.
We played by the rules in 2000, even if the GOPers cheated in Florida and manipulated the rules with unfair and borderline legal maneuvers in the courts, including the Supreme Court decision making Bush president rendered by Republican partisans with conflicts of interest up the wazoo.
Well, if enough votes exist in Ohio and/or elsewhere exist to make Kerry President, we say do it--- end the immoral war in Iraq as gracefully as possible, prevent the immoral war against Iran now being planned, get America respected in the world again, get a meaningful debate started on a new alternative energy industrial revolution, on global heating, on health care. Things that aren't going to happen with GW in the White House.
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