Join 3,495 readers in helping fund MetaFilter (Hide)


If the election left you with an odd feeling
February 25, 2001 8:59 AM   Subscribe

If the election left you with an odd feeling that something was not right in Florida, you're not alone.
posted by swanson (26 comments total)

 
Let's build a looping time machine so we can all be mired in the muck of the Florida election for ETERNITY! Then all politicos will have something to be passionate about, all New Yorkers will have something to bitch about and all old people will be humiliated over and over and over again for being too stupid to figure out a simple ballot.

If the US had just given Florida to Cuba (The Maximum Leader owns half of it anyways) 10 years ago and annexed Saskatcehwan (changing its name) we'd not be in any of this mess.

Did the Elian fiasco hurt Gore? Did Waco hurt Gore? or did Gore shoot himself down by not encouraging impeachment??? Who will ever know? What will it accomplish if we find out?
posted by Capn_Stuby at 9:08 AM on February 25, 2001


Unknown News is doing a pretty good job of summarizing the media recount efforts. For those who care (i.e. Democrats), Bush was ahead until last week but now Gore leads by 649 votes.

It's a mess. Thank God the Supreme Court has found a way to ensure the legitimacy of Republican presidents.
posted by rcade at 9:37 AM on February 25, 2001


I'm bored of people saying they're bored of the Florida election scandal. Whatever your politics, it was an undeniably important series of events, and our history of it should be as complete and accurate as possible.
posted by Joe Hutch at 10:42 AM on February 25, 2001


so our intent is to keep track of unofficial counts by various media outlets, and see if we can figure out who got the most votes.

"See if we can figure out." Greaaaaat. As we've discussed a zillion times already, a totally accurate count cannot be achieved. (To paraphrase what harmful said in the referenced thread, "The margin of victory is so small as to disappear within the noise.") It's physically impossible. And the refusal to recount other states where the margin of error was larger than the margin of victory makes it even more useless to even bother recounting Florida in the first place.

The system worked. The end.
posted by aaron at 10:52 AM on February 25, 2001



The system worked. The end.

I know you like the end result, but if the system was designed to produce a winner whose legitimacy is beyond question, it failed miserably.

I'd love to find a single person who believes the Supreme Court would have ruled the way it did if Gore was ahead.
posted by rcade at 11:18 AM on February 25, 2001


That's gonna be hard to do if you keep hanging around liberals. ;)

Besides, is there a system that can produce a legitimate winner beyond any question when the results are so close? (No, not computerized/Internet systems. I'll never trust those to be 100% tamper- and error-proof.) Actually, one thing that would help a lot would be to adopt the British standard for handling messed-up ballots: If it's filled out wrong, it's immediately destroyed. No more "discernment of voter intent" BS.
posted by aaron at 11:24 AM on February 25, 2001



I’m surprised conservatives are so proud of themselves. The only way to get their president in was to stop a manual recount they deemed unfair, but they didn't seem to have that problem in New Mexico.

What a bunch of hypocrits. But then, I can't expect much more from a folks rooting for a son of privelege whose family looks upon the White House as little more than birthright. Our head civil servant isn’t acting out of love of country, he looked like a privileged white boy crying for his toy. Anybody who supports him should be ashamed of themselves.

This isn’t democracy, it’s a sham.
posted by capt.crackpipe at 11:34 AM on February 25, 2001


That's gonna be hard to do if you keep hanging around liberals. ;)

True enough, but I can't even find one among the cranks who send me hate mail about the Bush Clock (self-link). I ask every one of them that question, and so far there hasn't been a single Supreme Court apologist willing to go that far. It's like searching for Democrats willing to condemn Jesse Jackson for misusing funds.
posted by rcade at 12:03 PM on February 25, 2001


Dear Captian: I am one who will not forget that the election was stolen and with the help of the Supreme Court. And I am one who has a lofe-long physican relative who lives in Palm Beach county and stated that the ballot thing was so screwed up that he did not know if the votes he wanted were recorded. And I am one who knows enough hisotry to know that the U.S. wanted to take over Cuba and make it ours as well as South America during the grand old days of manifest destiny other than the reverse as you put it.
Will I get over it? Well realistically I will no longer do jury duty because I no longer believe in our judicial system. And I have served a few times in our military and feel i have been suckered. I should have signed on for the national guard, I guess, but then my dad was would not have been able to make arrangements for me.
But I will wise my own children up to how the system works, as it did during the civil war: a rich man's war and a poor man's fight.
Am I bitter? you bettcha
posted by Postroad at 12:14 PM on February 25, 2001


all New Yorkers will have something to bitch about

I'm confused by this. What do New Yorkers have to do with it?
posted by rodii at 12:55 PM on February 25, 2001


Aaron, I know you're happy with the way the process turned out in the courts. That's fine. But the actual, physical system of the election didn't work optimally in Florida (or, as you note, in some other states), and if there's going to be a movement toward more uniform state electoral laws, I'd like as much data as possible available before state legislatures start going at it. Doing a recount will eventually help answer questions such as the optimal design for a ballot to minimize overvoting and the degree of superiority of optical scanners.

Plus, these are newspapers. Presumably some portion of their readership is interested in the results. I know I'm vaguely interested, even though Bush was the winner, the same way I'm interested in reports that Bobby Thomson was stealing signs in 1951. Nobody sensible expects Bush to move out of the
posted by snarkout at 3:12 PM on February 25, 2001


...out of the White House, that is. He won the election; if newspapers want to analyze the the ballots, is that really harmful?
posted by snarkout at 3:27 PM on February 25, 2001


New Yorkers are to blame for everything, especially a certain Senate nomination of one Ms. Rodham-Clinton...
posted by Capn_Stuby at 7:54 PM on February 25, 2001


Have we forgotten about the electoral college?

Everyone seems to have accepted the legitimacy of this archaic institution which stands between the people and the executive power.

If I remember correctly, Gore won the popular vote by several hundred thousand votes: a pretty clear victory.
posted by locombia at 8:17 PM on February 25, 2001


Have we forgotten about the electoral college Everyone seems to have accepted the legitimacy of this archaic institution which stands between the people and the executive power.

Err, well, yeah? And? The Constitution as a whole is just as "archaic." Should we scrap it, too? It's standing between the people and judicial power, too!

If I remember correctly, Gore won the popular vote by several hundred thousand votes: a pretty clear victory.

As clear as Bush's victory in Florida before the automatic recount! A few hundred thousand votes maybe, but imagine the chaos that would have resulted if we had to worry about recounting the entire country?!? Yikes, no thanks.
posted by daveadams at 8:43 PM on February 25, 2001


The Constitution as a whole is just as "archaic."

I disagree. The right to free speech, the 5th amendement, the separation of church and state, etc are timeless.

Why don't we just scrap the archaic parts and keep the timeless ones? duh.

A few hundred thousand votes is a clear victory and does not require a nationwide recount. Its a larger margin that Kennedy's in 1960, for sure.

Am I the only one who see the electoral college as an unncessary, misguided and outdated attempt to frustrate popular selection of the president? as a hindrance to popular democracy?
posted by locombia at 9:05 PM on February 25, 2001


The electoral college has many praiseworthy properties. It magnifies the power of individual votes. It reduces tendencies toward regionalism. It insists that the small states will not get trampled by the larger ones. It requires candidates to campaign in almost every state. By magnifying the apparent margin of victory, it ensures a mandate for the incoming president and discourages gridlock. Most importantly of all, by maintaining the role of the states in choosing the president, it ensures that our federal democracy does not entirely atrophy, which has probably been one of the key factors in our political system's longevity and stability.

By analogy, would you want to put constitutional amendments up to a general popular vote? The requirement that each amendment be argued and voted on in (now) 33 states means that change only occurs when there is broad consensus over a period of several years.

It's very rare that the popular vote and electoral college disagree. I would rather that they did, but when the difference is as close as 0.5%, any electoral system would show cracks.
posted by dhartung at 9:18 PM on February 25, 2001


I cannot see your points on magnifying the power of individual votes or reducing tendencies towards regionalism.

Under this system, small states get more power proportional to their population than larger states, which would seem to distort the one-man one-vote thing. In any case, I'm not sure how the big states would be able to trample the small states using the electoral college.

I can not see how the lack of an electoral college would mean that candidates would not campaign in all of the states. Even now, some states get more attention than others, which seems to have more to do with the candidate's strategy than with the state's number of electoral votes, tho there is some relationship.

Why should we want the margin of victory to be magnified? Are you saying that we should try to fool ourselves into thinking that a candidate won by more than he really did? This is not to mention that in the previous election the electoral college ensured just the opposite of what you are claiming.

I cannot see any value to including the states in the selection of the president.

I don't really know if I agree that constitutional amendments are a valid analogy, but yes, I think we could use a little more popular democracy, and if that means direct election of judges (incl the supreme court) and direct votes on constitional amendments, then I'm all for it.
posted by locombia at 9:49 PM on February 25, 2001


i think that dhartung had some very good points - but they're only applicable if we are to continue to assume that states are significantly different in outlook. while there are differences, it's hardly like back in the day of the civil war, when states had radically different political ideas. in the modern US, states are pretty much states and people are pretty much people. i think that in our society now, one-man-one-vote would make a lot of sense. it's not like any state is trying to one-up another state anymore.
posted by pikachulolita at 10:28 PM on February 25, 2001


Monday's USA TODAY: Study: Gore would not have won on recount. By the most lenient standards, Gore would have picked up 49 votes, not nearly enough. If some sort of rational standard were used, Bush probably would have gained ground. This is from the study commissioned by USA TODAY, The Miami Herald and Knight Ridder Newspapers.
posted by aaron at 11:47 PM on February 25, 2001


Today's Miami Herald:

If Secretary of State Katherine Harris had let South Florida counties complete manual recounts before certifying the results of last November's election, George W. Bush likely would have won the presidency outright, without weeks of indecision and political warfare, a review of Miami-Dade County's "undervote" ballots shows.
posted by aaron at 12:48 AM on February 26, 2001


...which still does not validate the electoral college system.
posted by locombia at 4:09 AM on February 26, 2001


(End of blockquote.)

Here is an interesting analysis of the electoral college which argues in favor of keeping it. I was always in favor of getting rid of it ... until I read that. Now I'm not so sure.
posted by Potsy at 5:28 AM on February 26, 2001



Monday's USA TODAY: Study: Gore would not have won on recount. By the most lenient standards, Gore would have picked up 49 votes, not nearly enough.

You're quoting the results from only one county. If you look at all Florida counties where media recounts have been published, as Unknown News is doing, an argument can be made that Gore would be ahead in a full statewide count.
posted by rcade at 6:37 AM on February 26, 2001


After reading the local coverage, it does appear that Gore would have lost if he got the selective South Florida recount he wanted.

I think this works against Gore and Bush. Gore hurt himself by trying to get cute with the rules instead of asking for the fairest remedy, a statewide recount. And Bush hurt himself by opposing a recount that would have removed the strongest doubts about his legitimate claim to the White House. That vile shut-down-the-recount protest in Miami-Dade worked against him.

Considering how neither Bush nor Gore generated enthusiastic support among the electorate, it's probably fitting that they both botched the recount too.
posted by rcade at 7:42 AM on February 26, 2001


New Yorkers are to blame for everything, especially a certain Senate nomination of one Ms. Rodham-Clinton...

Um, she was elected. And I think you're just disappointed that Dale Earnhardt will never be able to take over for Thurmond in your state, as you've been hoping.

Have someone read you a paper and you'll learn that the Civil War is over.
posted by jpoulos at 7:52 AM on February 26, 2001


« Older There is no more heartfelt memorial...  |  Blair and Bush agree that all ... Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments