A major terrorist attack on the eve of the election would perfectly suit Roves strategy of energizing the Republican base and depressing turnout. Just as it took years for the political mainstream to question Bushs competence in possibly preventing 9/11, the immediate aftermath of another atrocity would preclude public consideration that it might demonstrate Bushs unfitness to be President. Bushs constituency consists solely of: 1) Apocalyptic Christians, 2) people who believe Bush has been and will continue to be a good "war president," and 3) people who viscerally loathe Democrats and/or Kerry (Bush also has the support of the plutocrats, but they dont vote with ballotsthey voted with their checkbooks months ago). In the event that the U.S. is attacked close to the election, it is in Bushs interest to ensure that the election goes forward; the first two groups of Bushs base are the least likely to be deterred from going to the polls. Rather than attempt to win swing voters, Rove would rather they not vote at all, whether out of apathy, disgust, or fear.
This, of course, is the reason the report was publicized; no one who is offended by the thought of postponing elections was planning to vote for Bush anyway, but planting the mere possibility in the public consciousness takes the FUD strategy to the next step. Expect an orange October and a histrionic World Series.
One unforeseen benefit of this meme is that it allows me to
return to my other hobbyhorse, the dire need for electoral reform in this country,
all the more appalling in light of what we should have learned from the 2000
election. Despite such (arguably) more plausible circumstances for suspension
of elections as the Civil War and potential nuclear attack, the United States has
never truly acknowledged the fragility of this fundamental institution of
democracy. Any serious plan for delaying a national election would necessarily
invite discussion of what I originally thought was a necessary response to the
2000 election fiasco (in addition to the thunderingly obvious reform of abolishing the
Electoral College): federalizing presidential elections. In the wake
however, Ive decided that the last thing the presidential election needs is a
Teresa Nielsen Hayden has further questions
as an exercise for the
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