Friday, August 19, 2005
Krugman on recent elections
In his recent book "Steal This Vote" - a very judicious work, despite its title - Andrew Gumbel, a U.S. correspondent for the British newspaper The Independent, provides the best overview I've seen of the 2000 Florida vote. And he documents the simple truth: "Al Gore won the 2000 presidential election."
Two different news media consortiums reviewed Florida's ballots; both found that a full manual recount would have given the election to Mr. Gore....the whitewash of what happened in Florida in 2000 showed that election-tampering carries no penalty, and political operatives have acted accordingly. For example, in 2002 the Republican Party in New Hampshire hired a company to jam Democratic and union phone banks on Election Day.
And what about 2004?
There have been two Democratic reports on Ohio in 2004, one commissioned by Representative John Conyers Jr., the other by the Democratic National Committee...
The D.N.C. report...suggest that many potential Kerry votes were suppressed...
The Conyers report goes further, highlighting the blatant partisanship of election officials. In particular, the behavior of Ohio's secretary of state, Kenneth Blackwell - who supervised the election while serving as co-chairman of the Bush-Cheney campaign in Ohio - makes Ms. Harris's actions in 2000 seem mild by comparison...
...But what about the future?
Our current political leaders would suffer greatly if either house of Congress changed hands in 2006, or if the presidency changed hands in 2008. The lids would come off all the simmering scandals, from the selling of the Iraq war to profiteering by politically connected companies. The Republicans will be strongly tempted to make sure that they win those elections by any means necessary. And everything we've seen suggests that they will give in to that temptation.
For a more in-depth look at the Ohio '04 election, see the August 2005 issue of Harper's for Mark Crispin Miller's essay None Dare Call It Stolen, Ohio, the election, and Americas servile press.