Do As I Say
We live in a republic, not a democracy. We elect representatives to make our laws for us so we can get on with more immediate issues, such as following professional sports. As a general rule, therefore, initiatives should be considered attempts by special interest groups to hijack the legislature, and referenda should be considered attempts by craven legislators to delegate their job duties to amateurs, all at the taxpayers expense. I dont know what the fuck an "Advisory Measure" is, but it sounds like a publicly-financed opinion poll. Absent extreme overriding concerns, therefore, the dutiful citizen should vote NO on all initiatives, referenda, and ballot measures.
Black As The Devil, Sweet As A Stolen Kiss
Margin of Litigation, cont'd
What is your actual prediction on this topic? That the networks won't announce a winner? That there will be enough uncertainty that a significant number of people expect the election-night results to be overturned? Or just that some lawsuits will be filed and a few will hem and haw a bit? Or are you talking about just non-specific further disillusionment with the electoral college?
The last two seem likely, the first two not so much.
The systematic obstacle to litigating as many results as possible is that there is a financial cost. And some amount of public ridicule, which will vary with perceptions of legitimacy. I think the cost of doing so twice in a row will be high enough that it's unlikely for the Dems to do it again unless they're pretty sure they'll win. The Patricians may try it, hoping the "turnabout's fair play" defense outweighs the hypocrisy of doing so after screaming about losers who try to l[itig]ate elections.
I think it'll (continue to) be fairly uncommon for there to be a serious amount of uncertainty regarding the next president beyond election night. If I were to wager, I'd go as high as 5:1 against, if we could come up with some working definition of "serious uncertainty".
Margin of Litigation
The first reason to engage in such tactics is that the Bushies wont let themselves be bound by delicate notions of honesty or ethics. In the more than 20 years I have been observing politics, the Republicans have only grown more shameless, while Democrats have occasionally experimented with "taking the high road." Ask Michael Dukakis and Paul Tsongas how that worked out. The American electorate has had plenty of opportunities to reward politicians who abjure pandering, negative ads, and propaganda, and it has consistently failed to do so. Instead of employing campaign tactics for an electorate I would like to have, I would rather target the electorate we actually have.
The other reason to circulate draft rumors is that, while objectively false, they evoke emotional responses that correspond to a deeper truth. The Bush Administration has repeatedly denied a need for the draft, but the most plausible scenario for a return of the draft would almost certainly be an ad hoc decision forced on the Administration well past the point of prudence. Raising the issue of the draft focuses public attention on this failing of the Bush Administration in a way that is as accurate as it is effective: the government of George W. Bush is typified by incompetence and zealotry, and when its policies fail, rather than acknowledge reality its first response is to try to obscure its error by squandering American prestige, treasure, and blood.
The Recreational Is Political
One of Holbos commenters strikes home with the comparison to science fiction. Can one read The Moon is a Harsh Mistress at least once every two years throughout adulthood and still support the Welfare Queen Party? Why, yes.