Thursday, December 30, 2004

"How 'bout a revote?"

Cripes, is anyone surprised? Christine Gregoire asked for a recount in the narrow Washington gubernatorial race. Supporters of Republican candidate Dino Rossi, who lead by a few hundred votes before the recount, groused openly about this, saying that the votes were in and we should usher Rossi to Olympia and call it a day. The Gregoire campaign pushed for the recount, which turned up a number of votes that had been called into question—many of which were provisional ballots cast by poll workers who knew they wouldn’t have time to make it to the polls on Election Day. A judge allowed that these be counted. Were these ballots legitimate? Well, if you note that one of the ballots belonged to the head of the Washington State Democratic Party, it’s tough to assume that we’re talking about fraud. (Honestly: would the head of any political party likely be an illegitimate voter?)

So now that the recounts have shown Gregoire winning by 129 votes, Rossi is throwing the only thing he’s got left in his depleted arsenal: he wants a revote. How disappointing for Rossi—the Republican tactic of stonewalling and dismissing recounts that worked so well for them during the 2000 presidential race and the 2002 Alabama gubernatorial race has failed them in Washington state this year. Now Rossi, officially a loser, is calling for the fairest resolution to such a situation, only after every other venue of his grasping to his narrow lead has failed him. Hell, I felt a revote was only appropriate in Florida in 2000, but the Republicans just rolled over it. I’m okay with a revote in Washington right now, too, but that possibility was wiped out by Rossi’s clutching. Had he called for a revote right after the election I might not call Mr. Rossi disingenuous about this, but now he just looks like a sour-grapes sore loser.

One thing that would serve America well would be if we could somehow not marginalize the loser in political races. If the loser could still have some measure of authority—if only among his or her own supporters, or perhaps through minority status in government—then this alienation of large parts of the population wouldn’t happen after each election, particularly the close ones. Further, more people would feel inclined to participate in the electoral process. If your candidate would have minority status in government even after losing an election, you’d still feel your vote for a loser was actually making a difference.

I don’t know how this would work, exactly, but less minority disenfranchisement would serve a democracy better. Think back to 1993, when the Democrats controlled the White House and both houses of Congress. The Republicans did all they could to block any and all bill that the Democrats (and President Clinton especially) brought up. Had the minority Republicans had more of a voice, they wouldn’t have spent the past ten years gumming up government and tearing down public utilities like schools and Social Security.

This post originally appeared here.


At Thursday, December 30, 2004 at 10:54:00 AM EST, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I enjoyed your site. I lateralled over from Zogby. I've been watching the Wa. State gubernatorial race fairly closely. It's my home state and where I hope to return if I ever get off this TX. island. What's happening there doesn't hold a candle to Texas. Check out the Texas Observer- you won't believe what happens in good ole Texas politics. "Weeall it ain't for sissies" is the common comeback to any criticism. I just can't figure out who it IS for.
See you at Zogby,
The misusage of language is so common in the Lege (“I’m just filled with humidity”) that no one was surprised by the Gibber’s response to the English teacher who came up to him to complain about his syntax. “That’s not my sin tax, lady, I’m against all taxes,” he protested.


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