Dark. Like America's Future.
January 16, 2001 9:39 PM   Subscribe

Dark. Like America's Future. Join the dark campaign until after inauguration day.
posted by Veruca (45 comments total)
Oh for crying out loud.
posted by aaron at 10:32 PM on January 16, 2001

I am not sure what Aaron means in his comment. I don't believe that being dark etc does much to relieve the feeling of total failure of democracy I have felt since Gore won by a great many votes the popular vote and more than likely won Florida and thus the electoral votel That the Suupreme Counrt stopped counting till it had a chance to slam dunk Gore is dispicable, as the many law professors stated in ther full-page ad in a recent issue of the New York Times.
Thee is not much to be done unless a civil war wee to break out. And I believe many fine citizens recognize this too. Me? I simply will not serve jury duty any more because I have lost all faith in the judicial system of this country. As was said: many countires put a leader in place via the military. We do it through our court system. A dark day for the country indeed.
posted by Postroad at 3:40 AM on January 17, 2001

Dumb. Like this thread.
posted by Optamystic at 4:01 AM on January 17, 2001

Meaningless. Like the vote.
posted by fullerine at 4:18 AM on January 17, 2001

If it's meaningless then don't vote. It's that simple, because doing something other than the parody 'bush is a fucking moron who molests little kids while shooting up coke' sites would be too hard.
posted by tiaka at 4:56 AM on January 17, 2001

You mean those sites are parodies?

If "Day Without Weblogs" is a valid expression of protest, then so is this.
posted by holgate at 5:24 AM on January 17, 2001

While I feel that Bush is simply wrong as opposed to being a "fucking moron", and the heavy drug use and the DUI don't bother me as much as others, I still think that Bush's election is the worst thing to happen to this country in a long time.

I fear for our environment. I fear for abortion rights. I fear being beaten over the head with "compassionate conservatism." I fear the polarization that seems to be making everyone really bitchy and mean and petty.

I'll be joining the protest. I think I'll be protesting a lot of things over the next four years. Darn.
posted by y6y6y6 at 5:31 AM on January 17, 2001

For the first time since I was old enough to realize what is going on around me I am dreading what may happen in our country. Simple Rep. vs. Dem. speak aside, Bush is already looking like a spiteful child talking about overturning a majority of Clinton's most recent decisions etc, just becaude he can.

And as for our votes being meaningless, I always subscribed to the "every vote counts" theory. Well, that theory was put to the test this election and we can see that it was wrong. The votes only count until the guy who whines enough is ahead then the counting stops. Too many people in my state (as well as others) were swept under the carpet and their voices ignored. So if they want to protest as a result, then so be it. If its the only way they can be heard, then more power to them!!!
posted by Princess Buttercup at 5:51 AM on January 17, 2001

Oh super! Another way to jump on a meaningless bandwagon! Woohoo!

Bring on the ribbons! Change your page colors! Covor your artwork! Stop posting for a day! Lights on for peace! Together we can change the world!

Then again, if just one person learns what a doofus Dubya is, the black campaign should be considered a success.

If anyone needs me, I'll be out back vomiting.

posted by bondcliff at 6:12 AM on January 17, 2001

hrmmm... overreact much?

i'm sitting back waiting for email lists of all of the people dead at GWB's hands.

sound familiar?
posted by jbelshaw at 6:26 AM on January 17, 2001

Princess Buttercup - Ok, politics aside, I do agree that our election process is deeply flawed. However, it is, in my opinion, (as is many others), the best in the world and I seriously don't see the point of comparing it to communism or fascism. There are a lot of things that could be done to improve the system, and taking time out to talk about the issue in a civilized manner is one of these things; this is where I see the problem with this site, it doesn't question our electoral system, it doesn't *ask* if The Supreme Court was unjust in it's ruling. It argues that Bush is Georgy, and not George. That he's an idiot and you should link to us because we want to be that 2,34-fifth site to be up in that yahoo category.
posted by tiaka at 6:31 AM on January 17, 2001

Bush is already looking like a spiteful child talking about overturning a majority of Clinton's most recent decisions etc, just becaude he can.

PB, I am no friend of Bush's, but this aricle presents a method to his madness, namely the need to reach out the the GOP's conservative wing in order to grease the wheels for future bi-partisanship.

Granted, those quoted are Bush advisors and the Cato Institute, but to this liberal, this strategy seems to make sense. Besides, there is no better time to foment anger than when tensions are already high rather than wait for the quiet.

That said, I too will be in a constant wince until the cabinet conformation circus is over.
posted by Avogadro at 6:33 AM on January 17, 2001

What's with the goth look for the "Dark like" logo ... are we protesting because the country is now led by vampires?
posted by rcade at 6:37 AM on January 17, 2001

I agree that it is simply the best process going. However, I would never dream of comapring it to communtisim, fascism or any other -ism. But just because it is the best there is at the moment doesn't mean that it doesn't need SERIOUS improvements.

Please do me a favor...if MY posts start to look like grammer/spelling nit picking drivel instead of constructive insightful comments...PLEASE tell me! Ok? Thanks :-)
posted by Princess Buttercup at 6:49 AM on January 17, 2001

Wow! I can't believe there's gonna be criticism and parody of America's own president! This is something new! (something borrowed, something blue :P)
posted by sonofsamiam at 6:49 AM on January 17, 2001

With all due respect tiaka and Buttercup, I don't think the American electoral system is "simply the best process going." There are so many problems with it, actually, that it might be the worst in the developed world. In fact, looking at the process from the outside, the USA looks a lot more like Peru than Canada: a supreme court that votes along partisan lines; the critical vote being counted under the control of one of the candidates' brother and his appointees; an electoral college that is at best 18th century semi-democratic; and an electoral process that is so badly funded that it is using circa-1975 equipment that doesn't work very well.

I am no great fan of Gore, but even I would say that he was defrauded. Bush is no more a legitimate president of the United States than Fujimora was in Peru.
posted by tranquileye at 7:13 AM on January 17, 2001

Upheaval now!
posted by hijinx at 7:40 AM on January 17, 2001

I'm probably digging my own grave here but what the hell its looking like a slow day. the 'system' did work as designed and is not flawed for the purpose to which it was set in place. By this I mean that it is not set up to elect the president via the popular vote of the country, but rather by the state's votes. In this regard, the system worked as it always had. even the mess after election day was really only about the candidates pursuing legal avenues available to them. I'm not a fan of either candidate. I think the difference between the two is about hairline-thin. to me the real problem with the system is that we were left with a choice between Bore and Gush to begin with. Had Gore eventually prevailed in court, would he be any more legit? if so, very marginally IMHO. Should we consider changing the 'system'? yes, considering the mess it caused this time around and our current ability to process information.
posted by srw12 at 7:55 AM on January 17, 2001

I agree srw12...The system as designed did its job. Now, lets overhaul the outdated process. The system was what was needed WHEN it was created. But now it is not what best reflects the needs and desires of the country. Our citizens (for the most part) are supposedly more educated and because of technology we can "get to know" our candidates better for ourselves. So, and here's where I may be digging MY own grave, why can't we now trust ourselves and make it an election process that really takes the people's wishes into consideration instead of just apeasing them/us by letting us think we have some say in the matter?
posted by Princess Buttercup at 8:04 AM on January 17, 2001

Had Gore eventually prevailed in court, would he be any more legit?

Both candidates' camps worked so hard (especially in Florida) to manipulate the system in their favor that any resemblance between the outcome and the alleged "will of the people" would have been purely coincidental in either case.
posted by harmful at 8:14 AM on January 17, 2001

If the goal of the system is to elect a president whose legitimacy is beyond question, it has to be judged as a catastrophic failure.
posted by rcade at 8:15 AM on January 17, 2001

PB... I remember one of the talking heads on the networks after the election saying the real tragedy in all this is that we are the most technologically advanced country in the world and most of us, myself included, voted by punching a hole in cardboard. Along those same lines, I agree that with our current abilities, we should be electing the president by popular vote. the only thing that troubles me about that proposition is the maps I've seen of county by county breakdowns of election results (a URL escapes me at the moment). I'm worried about what it means that Gore can get more popular votes and really only win in big city counties. overall, yes its time for a tune-up. but I don't see any point in vilifying Dubya for coming out ahead at the end of the mess. hasn't every second generation president won this way?
posted by srw12 at 8:22 AM on January 17, 2001

rcade, is there such a system that could possibly exist in the real world? isn't it really more about the perception of legitimacy?
posted by srw12 at 8:31 AM on January 17, 2001

"I don't see any point in vilifying Dubya for coming out ahead at the end of the mess"

I agree. There are much better reasons to vilify the man.

While I think that the election process is now tainted, I personally am only joining this protest because I think Bush is bad for the country. Very bad.

I can find many other reasons for "vilifying Dubya", and I think we should be looking to matters where we can still effect change.

The popular vote is over. Now we need to rally to protect the environment, save abortion rights, and stand watch over the puppet of big business that is moving into the White House.
posted by y6y6y6 at 8:37 AM on January 17, 2001

Fair enough srw12!! :-)
posted by Princess Buttercup at 8:37 AM on January 17, 2001

It seems to me that a major reason this past election is still so bitterly contested is that the margin of victory is significantly smaller than the margin of error of the vote count. (I wish I could remember what NPR pundit referred to it as "America's first quantum election", in reference to Heisenberg.) I believe we can (and should) update our voting systems to reduce this uncertainty as much as possible; however, no system will ever be good enough to eliminate it completely. There will always remain the possibility for the margin of victory to be so small as to disappear within the noise. Perhaps addressing exactly how the government should handle such a situation is at least as important as trying to reduce its likelihood.
posted by harmful at 8:51 AM on January 17, 2001

The point of "the system" is to permit changes in power without armed upheaval. The US undergoes a scheduled political coup every 4 or 8 years without anyone shooting anyone.

If the events of November and December had happened in Peru (as someone mentioned) supporters of the two candidates would have been fighting in the streets. Nothing remotely like that happened in the US in 2000.

On that basis, the system is an overwhelming success; it's only failed once (1860) in over 200 years.

Everything else is minor details.
posted by Steven Den Beste at 8:52 AM on January 17, 2001

On Comparative Government: the Swiss don't really have a president. They seem to do well enough. Their new constitution is also worth a read.

But no matter how well the Constitution is written, it's only as good as it's practised.
posted by holgate at 8:56 AM on January 17, 2001

Okay! Enough already! We get it! A lot of people are vocal about not liking Bush! They call him dumb, a moron, and worse. And I'm not disagreeing. I was just as upset as you for the whole election problem, and the fact that Gore lost.

But folks, he's our President, at least, will be before the month is over. Quit complaining and use your effort for something useful. If you really don't like the election system, write to Congressmen to get it changed. Or support McCain's campaign finance reform. We've got 4 years with the guy. We have to work WITHIN the system to make changes now.

If you think he's dumb, that's great; he'll be more easily convinced of your ideas. Make your efforts constructive. Calling him a moron won't stop his administration from removing taxes on the rich, drilling in Alaska, or making school vouchers a reality. Act!
posted by gramcracker at 9:11 AM on January 17, 2001

Steven, there are similarities between what happened in the last US election and what happened in Peru, where the supreme court handed the election to Fujimora. There were protests (like the US), but no coup (like the US). How is the US supreme court decision about the law when they split along partisan lines?

I know it's hard for Americans to realize that (1) what happened in Florida is not that dissimilar to what happens in other "less democratic" counties all the time and (2) the US election system is not the best in the world. In what way is it better than the German, French, Canadian, or Swedish systems? Specifics, please.
posted by tranquileye at 9:42 AM on January 17, 2001

As for "our election system being the best," Canada has us whipped. Now, granted, their recent federal election has a nation-wide standard. I don't know what their local elections are like, but there was little to no hoohaw about vote counts or the legitamacy of the government. (If you think Chretien was being an opportunist in calling the election in the first place, that's a different debate.)

Should there be a national standard for ballots and election practices? I think so. Does a federal standard supercede state and local rights? Probably. I'm not a fan of the big, bad government coming and stomping all over the place, but, in matters of the local system breaking down, *someone* has to step in and get things rolling again (though we all know that person should be aramaic, who would introduce a brutal and repressive regime immediately, but, hey, at least the buses will run on time).

Right now, there's a lot of talk in my town about the Justice Department's consent decree regarding the LAPD. After listening to the Chief of Police bumble in front of a live audience last night, I think the feds need to step in. After reading Katherine Harris's buck passing bullshit in front of the Civil Rights Commission in Tallahassee, I think someone needs to whip some election process ass in Florida. And, again, I think we should look to our neighbors in the north who have an election system that beats the pants off of ours by a long shot.


What we were talking about again? Oh, yeah. Protest. Write your reps, raise some some, do something useful. I think sites like this are wankery, unless you're really bringing in the eyeballs, and this is a protest movement that needs to bring in the eyeballs of Joe and Jane Middle America, the people who actually voted for ol' Gee Dubya.
posted by RakDaddy at 9:52 AM on January 17, 2001

Hell. That's "raise some hell." Not "raise some some."

Nader, Nader, Nader!
posted by RakDaddy at 9:53 AM on January 17, 2001

Wankery indeed. Will anyone take some yahoo's rant on his website seriously, unless they already hold his views.
posted by sonofsamiam at 9:57 AM on January 17, 2001

rcade, is there such a system that could possibly exist in the real world?

The U.S. hasn't botched an election like this in more than a century, so I'd argue that our system was legitimate for many years.

Because Florida's system of collecting, counting, and recounting votes is a complete joke, and the courts made no effort to fairly address the situation, Bush won by an arbitrary margin achieved by wildly disparate counting methods in Florida's counties. Gore could easily have won the same way, and it would be equally illegitimate.

When we judge this election as a success because there was no armed insurrection in the streets, I think Americans should be holding our elections officials to a higher standard.
posted by rcade at 10:08 AM on January 17, 2001

heh. "America -- no violent coups for over 200 years and counting!"
posted by sonofsamiam at 10:11 AM on January 17, 2001

I swear this will be my last post on the subject.

The fact that an election hasn't been "botched" in so long doesn't mean to say the system has been legitimate for all this time. All it says is that the mistakes haven't been so public or significant until now. As one political season passes into another the system gets more and more outdated. Maybe all it will take is the standardization of ballot casting/counting. If thats what will do the trick then lets do it.

I'm not calling Bush a moron. I don't think that of him at all. However, I don't agree that the majority of his views and/or agendas will be the best things for OUR nation.

And that is all for me on this thread folks!!!
posted by Princess Buttercup at 10:19 AM on January 17, 2001

Sam, there was a violent coup between 1861 and 1865. But we've been without them for 135 years, which is still pretty darned good.

It's not completely clear the extent to which the US Government has the power to control the exact way in which elections are run. WRT senate/house elections, Article 1, Section 4, clause 1 says that the legislatures of the states control that, but grants Congress power of override.

For presidential elections, however, the US Government has no power at all. Article 2, section 1, clause 2 clearly gives control over that to the state legislatures. This is not overridden by the 12th amendment (which rewrote most of that clause). Also, the 10th amendment (states rights) would apply. Which means that the only way the US Government can even use coercion is with money: "Do it our way and we'll give you lots of money to help in the conversion. Do it any other way and you'll pay for it yourself."

There clearly can't be binding standards at the Federal level except to the extent required to enforce voting rights. Clearly the mechanisms used to collect votes don't directly infringe voting rights as such (although the way in which they're used might, such as having ballots run out in some precincts but not in others).
posted by Steven Den Beste at 10:34 AM on January 17, 2001

Actually, now that I think of it, since every Presidential election also includes elections for House seats, and since Congress is granted the ability to control that if they choose to use it, in actual practice Congress could pass binding standards on House and Senate elections which in practice would apply equally to the Presidential election. And in this what I was referring to is the mechanisms used to collect the votes (e.g. paper ballots versus electronic versus mechanical, exact form of each, etc.).

More fundamental changes, e.g. elimination of the Electoral college, would require amending the constitution, and if 13 states refuse to ratify it wouldn't pass. I believe we had that discussion last fall: the current system gives disproportionate influence to low-population states, and enough of them would object that there's no chance of this happening. Wyoming/North Dakota won't want the top 8 states to control everything (which is what would happen). Direct election of the President would give California alone more power than the bottom 15 states combined.
posted by Steven Den Beste at 10:41 AM on January 17, 2001

All it says is that the mistakes haven't been so public or significant until now.

(warning: extended metaphor alert.)

Exactly. You can cope with the odd rattle and clunk from your car's engine, as long as it keeps running without any apparent drop in performance. Then, one day, smoke starts pouring from under the bonnet, and you think to yourself: "oh, that's what I was hearing."

If you attend to those rattles, you don't need to strip out the engine. This time, the vehicle of government packed up big-style and had to be towed home by the Supreme Court. It's times like this that you overhaul things. In short, amend the bloody constitution.
posted by holgate at 10:48 AM on January 17, 2001

[SDB] Direct election of the President would give California alone more power than the bottom 15 states combined.

California has 54 electoral votes. The bottom 15 states (including DC, that is)--WY, VT, SD, RI, ND, NH, NV, MT, ME, ID, HI, DC, DE, AK, and one of (UT, WV, NM, NB)--have 53 electoral votes, so the situation still stands (as long as you count DC, anyway--if you don't, the bottom 15 states combined have one more electoral vote than California).

Anyway, the problem isn't the electoral college, it's the winner-take-all system. In huge states like California, even a tiny majority of the popular vote means a huge portion of the electoral vote goes to one candidate. If states all apportioned electoral votes based on the ratio of the popular vote, then we'd have a fair system. We could even have avoided the Florida debacle (maybe).
posted by daveadams at 11:24 AM on January 17, 2001

Oops, sorry, 'NB' should be 'NE.'
posted by daveadams at 11:25 AM on January 17, 2001

If states all apportioned electoral votes based on the ratio of the popular vote, then we'd have a fair system. We could even have avoided the Florida debacle (maybe).

If this had been the case, Bush would have won the Electoral vote by a much wider margin, since he would have split Michigan, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, California, and Florida roughly even. Smaller states, which Bush won handily for the most part, have fewer electoral votes to split, and Bush would have picked up electoral votes there on a roughly a 2-1 basis.
posted by mikewas at 1:25 PM on January 17, 2001

That may be true, but it's not really a proportional popular vote system if one candidate gets a disproportionate number of electoral votes simply because he won small states.

If states abandon winner-take-all, they would probably go to the Nebraska model, where you get one electoral vote for every House district you win in the state, and the statewide winner gets the remaining two electoral votes.

In that case, the two statewide electoral votes probably win it for Bush. But those two votes per state are a big part of the reason why the Electoral College is not reflective of the national popular vote.
posted by rcade at 10:49 PM on January 17, 2001

Argh! S'more? The electoral college takes into account population centers. Almost all of Gore's votes in the last election were in the biggest cities (can't find a map right now...) If there were no electoral college, the intrests of those in rural areas would not be represented.
When a team wins the pennant, do they win by total number of points won over the season, or by total number of games won? That's coz the number of games they won is more reflective of the team's overall ability, their ability to adapt to different situations.
posted by sonofsamiam at 7:04 AM on January 18, 2001

Almost all of Gore's votes in the last election were in the biggest cities (can't find a map right now...)

You're not going to find a map that shows that. It isn't factually accurate by a longshot.
posted by rcade at 9:52 AM on January 18, 2001

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