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"If Dubya steals the White House, American democracy will be a joke."
November 11, 2000 7:16 PM   Subscribe

"If Dubya steals the White House, American democracy will be a joke." A vehemently liberal polemic from the UK, which I don't necessarily agree with, but still: "President Dubya will be barren of legitimacy at home and devoid of moral authority abroad. The Saddam Husseins of the planet, every petty, vicious dictator around the world, will scoff in the face of America."
posted by holgate (9 comments total)

 
I guess my biggest argument with this piece is its attack on the electoral college. whether or not you agree with the electoral college system (I'm currently satisfied with it), it's not up to another nation to decide how another allocates votes.

I agree that bush will have little credibility if he wins the white house under these circumstances (save a large wave of absentee ballots that indisputably give him a majority in florida), but not because of the electoral college.

rcb
posted by rebeccablood at 7:28 PM on November 11, 2000


The Saddam Husseins of the planet already scoff in the face of america.Bill Clinton isn't exactly loaded with moral authority!
posted by Mr. skullhead at 7:49 PM on November 11, 2000


Whoever's elected, it'll be interesting to see whether the manner of his election forces a certain restraint when it comes to commenting on elections in "less democratic" states. I can't imagine either Bush or Gore rushing to condemn a repeat of the recent situation in Serbia, for instance, and that's the "moral authority" that's required.
posted by holgate at 8:30 PM on November 11, 2000


Call me crazy, but I still entertain hopes that -- even if Dubya "steals" this election by way of an Electoral College squeaker -- the result will not be a reason for the rest of the world to scoff. I retain some measure of confidence in Americans' willingness to accept as legitimate the workings of their own electoral process.

I certainly don't want Gore to throw in the towel one instant before Florida's vote has been properly rechecked and certified, but no matter whose column Florida winds up in, we do have an opportunity to impress upon the world our collective degree of trust in our institutions.

People took to the streets in Serbia because the structure and enforcement of the laws weren't up to the task of fairly selecting a leader. People take to the streets here, I'd like to think, not to go beyond inadequate institutions, but merely to demand that those institutions function as intended.
posted by grimmelm at 8:53 PM on November 11, 2000


Uh, rebecca, does that position also pertain to American criticism of other countries' democracies? 'Cos we do it all the time. ;-)

Really, no matter who wins, half the country is going to feel cheated. That's what's happened before ...
posted by dhartung at 1:06 AM on November 12, 2000


>Uh, rebecca, does that position also pertain to American criticism of other countries' democracies? 'Cos we do it all the time. ;-)<

sure we do.

I think there's a big difference between criticizing an obviously fraudulent situation (and I don't think anyone asserts that this is that) and criticizing a system that contains checks and balances and is essentially fair (leaving aside whether you think there could be one that is *more* fair).

for example, you don't see the US criticizing the parlamentary system or decrying the frequent elections in italy. we're *bemused*, sure, because it's all so different from our way of doing things, but we don't question the basic rightness or fairness of the system on those grounds.

rcb
posted by rebeccablood at 11:41 AM on November 12, 2000


...an obviously fraudulent situation (and I don't think anyone asserts that this is that)

Well, I think that the situation in Florida has led the foreign press to apply a fair amount of scrutiny to the system in the US. The BBC correspondent today had a five-minute report on "America's dirty little secret": the long history of intimidation and obstruction in states such as Florida. The NAACP has spoken of 16,000 spoilt votes because of voters receiving pre-stamped ballot papers; the Haitian community in Miami has spoken of registered voters being turned away at the polling station. It goes on.

As for the question of fairness: one of the benefits of the British system, at least, is that parliamentary elections are governed by a single act which leaves no room for the logistical and typographical irregularies in the US.
posted by holgate at 2:59 PM on November 12, 2000


yep, the yanks are screwed
posted by lagado at 3:31 AM on November 13, 2000


got news for ya people - the world's already scoffing...
posted by DiplomaticImmunity at 5:08 PM on November 23, 2000


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