asks for a clarification:
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.
While some networks might be more hesitant than they have in the past, Im
sure theyll all declare a winner; theres no ratings in agnosticism.
Im convinced that a "significant" number of people will
expect election-night results to be overturned; Bush v. Gore
exposed too many previously-unexamined flaws in our election regularity, and every
report since then has indicated that its just gotten worse. Add
this to widespread perception of both parties engaging in "dirty tricks,"
and youve got an electorate ready to (dis)believe
More than a few suits will certainly be filed; Im sure both parties targeted
likely districts long ago (Any Democrats hiring paralegals/legal
in King/Snohomish Counties?). Further disillusionment
with the Electoral College
will just be a bonus.
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.
Of course the cost of litigation limits its employment, but Im sure the
parties have come to consider it a "cost of doing business" and
will spend the money where it will have the greatest effect. What has
changed is the public perception of the propriety of post-election litigation.
Im a bit startled by the version of events of the 2000 election
implied by the characterization, "the Dems
do[ing] it again."
It takes a pretty blinkered perspective to conclude that the 2000 election
would have acceptably sorted itself out had the Democrats not committed the
breach of submitting it to litigation. Im not aware of anyone
outside the Republican base who believes that, and Im not aware of anyone
inside the Republican base who would let (the perception of) hypocrisy prevent
them from engaging in similar litigation where they thought they would benefit
from it. As lamentable as it may be, we have "defined
[electoral] deviancy down."
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".
Sounds like whistling past the graveyard (vote) to me.
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