YASL: Yet another Salon link.
December 5, 2000 6:31 AM   Subscribe

YASL: Yet another Salon link. This could be the smoking gun. Or just smoke. Judgement?
posted by ethmar (6 comments total)
Absolutely not a smoking gun -- just one of (many) contributors to the margin of error in elections. As a practical matter, any anti-Gore bias which this introduced was certainly more than compensated for by the networks calling the election an hour before the Panhandle precincts closed (the Panhandle being in Central time, not Eastern).

For better or worse, under current policies and technologies any election with a margin of less than 1% or 2% really must be considered a statistical tie.

The effect of single-member districts and winner-take-all elections is to treat virtual ties the same way one treats overwhelming landslides. Marry this with the margin of error issues, and you have a serious set of concerns. However, I suspect that the solutions which would actually mitigate this problem would be overwhelmingly rejected as radical.

posted by MattD at 7:54 AM on December 5, 2000

I don't know what's scarier, that people eligible to vote were scrubbed or that 93 percent of African Americans vote Democratic. From personal anecdotal evidence, most African Americans I know are much more diverse than that. It's not economic either. Poor whites tend to split more evenly. What's wrong with this picture?
posted by girard at 9:00 AM on December 5, 2000

It was a tie. When there's a tie in politics, things get ugly-- on both sides. Whoever has a slight edge, gained through whatever method, will be the victor... and the loser has 4 years to come back, although after this mess I doubt either one of these schmoes will be welcome. 4 years is a long time though...
posted by cell divide at 9:01 AM on December 5, 2000

When there's a tie in politics, things get ugly -- on both sides.

Only in a zero-sum political system: or rather, a zero-sum election. For all the faults of parliamentary systems, there's usually the possibility of a coalition that reflects the majority view: that's the case in the elected chambers of Scotland and Wales.

What's frustrating, in a way, about the position of the president, is that it reflects (as has been said elsewhere) a system devised before parties. You elect an individual to the office: but even if the individual (as a representative of his party) proves disastrous, you're stuck with the party for four years.
posted by holgate at 9:17 PM on December 5, 2000

I think that the zero-sum, two-party system itself guarantees that the majority view is reflected. Because there are only two parties, they both must take into consideration the views of the public at large, and not move too radically to either side; if they do become too radicalized, their members won't get elected.

What's wrong with this picture?

The Democratic Party machine is very, very good at what they call the "knock and drag." This is where, leading up to Election Day, party faithful in every little district (at least in urban areas) make sure that every registered Democrat has been contacted several times and urged to go vote. And on Election Day itself, that's what they do, knock on the door of every Democrat and do whatever it takes to get that person to go to the polls. They will gladly set up free rides to the polls, help for the elderly with voting, etc.

Black organizations, such as the NAACP, are especially good at this. And the NAACP, of course, wants you to vote a straight Democratic party line. The cajoling works very well, getting huge numbers of people to the polls that otherwise wouldn't bother.

However, in this wacked-out election, this tactic has ended up working against them. The "knock and drag" is precisely why Gore's poll numbers have collapsed: All those knocked-and-dragged voters, who were only lukewarm in their support for Gore in the first place, have been steadily switching allegiances as Gore's legal maneuvers get more and more desperate. Bush now pretty much has as much of a mandate to be President as he would have had if he'd won 60-40 in the first place. (Yeah, there will always be a hardcore of liberals who will call him "illegitimate" throughout his entire term. But there's been a hardcore of conservatives that's thought the same of Clinton for the last eight years, and it never stopped him.)
posted by aaron at 10:07 PM on December 5, 2000

Hah! The only mandate Dubya has is from his daddy's friends, i.e. make us get richer!
posted by black8 at 11:03 PM on December 5, 2000

« Older   |   A.I. script reviewed. Newer »

This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments