Thursday, March 13, 2008

My 2008 Primaries Gift to Senator John McCain

Not that the GOP smear machine has ever needed any help fabricating an issueless warpath to DNC shortcomings, but there is a blaringly obvious silver bullet in the news I’ve yet to see anyone capitalize upon. If I don’t talk about it I am going to burst and rarified Funk & Wagnalls colloquialisms are going to spill out over my hardwood floor. I hate mopping. So, Senator McCain, this is my gift to you.

As we forge ahead in veritable disgust that the outcome of an election might once again come down to a Florida court decision or its doppelganger chez Michigan, this time the decision as to who would indeed be the Democratic nominee, it is only natural to look back at 2000 and dream of sawing the whole peninsula off like Bugs Bunny. “South America, take it away!” My persistent migraine still swims with hanging chads, butterfly ballots, voter fraud, spoiled ballots, hot-ass Broward County, and a particularly disturbing image of Pat Buchanan looking accidentally sexy to voters. In that swarm of post-election answerlessness, the avalanche of particulars raised over weeks and over the year to follow was enough make me want to ride a Diebold machine over Niagara Falls…the Canadian side. Somehow, there were so many scraps of a demolished process to consider, no one sticks out in our minds as useful today. Or does one?

Am I the only one who remembers the embarrassment we were showing the world? How many times did they insert into the news broadcasts the opinions du jour from the common folk on the streets of Paris or expatriates working in the far Pacific rim? We were the laughing stock of the global political landscape. We knew it too. More than once the proceedings called for a more rapid decision making process, not only because the American people deserved it, but reportedly because we looked to the world like we had no idea what the hell we were doing. Him Big Chief Democracy, Broken Noggin. To this day I mildly suspect that Gore threw the extended fight so that his country might save face, and no other reason.

Well, for the Democratic Party, doesn’t a similar embarrassment apply now? Sure they were within their rights to punish state bodies when those states had broken party rules. Sure the candidates were reasonable to sign agreements regarding what would be zero seated delegates from those states. Now, barely a couple months later, months in which the race has proven too close to call, places like Florida and the campaigns themselves want to revisit the defunct primaries to hedge bets. It seems as if the Democratic Party doesn’t know how to run a primary in much the same way the U.S. seemed not to know how to count votes in an election. All party conventions should now hand out dunce caps.

All John McCain has to realize for an early and applicable snipe is that the Democrats as a group now look bad either way. If the candidates honor their signed agreements, as worthy as that might sound, they are in effect saying they hold with the idea of discounting people’s votes. If instead they keep with the belief that every vote should count, an ideal we hold dear, not only will they cost those states millions of dollars to rerun primaries, but they also look like hypocrites for going back on their signed, documented agreements. Hypocrite or anti-voter? Whom would you elect? Bracketed in this simple way, McCain could have his first one-two punch, still with additional room to portray Democrats as not knowing how to run their own primary. How can they run a country?

My personal solution to the disenfranchised Florida and Michigan Democratic Primaries lies in New Mexico. Remember when the 2000 election tally was still close and the media started running down the “what happens in the event of a tie” possibilities, state by state? Well, New Mexico’s contingency had something to do with five card stud, drawing straws, or a game of high card being the deciding factor. Seriously, that was the law. As history repeats itself, the news just yesterday ran the story about a game of stud poker in New Mexico that decided its elected Estancia Town Trustee. No wonder illegals want in!

Well, there’s our answer. The Florida and Michigan Democratic Primaries have to be declared ties. Surely each state has its own legislated tie-breaker, a legit’ one they should have already budgeted for or a silly one that involves something like monkeys ripping into cupcakes. Yes, we are not talking about tie votes, but there is more than one way to look at a tie. We could backwardly argue that zero delegates or zero outcome for each candidate in these states constitutes a tie. We could even go a more philosophical route and claim that despite the number of votes, New Mexico voters legally voted to play that hand of stud while despite the number of voters in Florida, Floridians essentially voted in hopes of effectuating some ridiculous tie-breaker when they were told votes wouldn’t count. In any case, I am positive that a documented election tie-breaker would save millions, eliminate fraud, and at least in that academically philosophical sense count votes toward an outcome.

Should the DNC take my advice, however, Senator John McCain is going to get a great soundbite. It’ll be speechifying akin to, “Do you want your President elected or decided by rock, paper scissors?”

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