Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Election Process Broken

Election Process Broken

"Let it be said: Our border can be secured; the illegal aliens can be sent home; the magnets that draw them here can be turned off. This crisis can be resolved if the courage and will are there. Unfortunately, we have a government that does not seem to care and probable nominees neither of whom is committed in his heart to doing it.

Given the manifest will of the people that this invasion from the south be halted and rolled back, the 2008 election is shaping up as yet further confirmation that American democracy is a fraud."

Well, fraud implies intent, and I'm not sure I'm willing to go there.

We clearly have a system that produces surprising results during the primaries while the general election is almost always forecast accurately well in advance.

Oh for the smoke filled rooms!

Should any of this surprise us? Have you noticed that we have a primary system that in no way resembles our general election? Each party does their own thing, states vote at different times, rendering the latter ones almost meaningless, which in turn leads to earlier primaries each year. The Dems allow delegate votes to be split, the Reps use winner-take-all. (Update: and I forgot to mention that some states like Texas allow cross over voting and some say that now that the Republican nomination is more or less settled, Republicans might vote for the Democrat that they think is easier to beat. This is being given as one explanation for yesterday's results in Texas, at least and maybe Ohio too).

It has become less and less clear to me how this is better than just letting party higher-ups select the nominee in a big room somewhere. If average people are going to feel they didn't have a say in the matter anyway, why not at least do the thing as cheaply as possible?

And then there are those election machines (no, not the ones in Chicago and New York, I'm referring to the mechanical variety). We had a system that pretty much worked for years, until one day in November of 2000 when Al Gore (peace be upon him) sitting in a limousine somewhere, couldn't make up his mind whether to concede the election to George Bush or not. He waffled a bit, and we've been waffling a lot over how to run elections ever since. Eight years and several questionable elections later, many states are dumping the expensive electronic retrofitted laptops that replaced the paper-driven mechanical voting machines and replacing them with... paper-driven mechanical voting machines. Thank you Al Gore (PBUH), I hope your ego has been adequately salved by the intervening Nobel Prizes, Academy Awards, and that odd Miss America title you received as consolation prizes.

It has now become a standard operating procedure to question the outcome of each election based on one or two close states, and to find something inappropriate about their process that could only be explained by some sort of underhanded tampering. Everyone (especially the losers, and especially if they are Democrats) get all worked up for a month or two and then forget all about it. Never mind that there are election irregularities all over the place that don't even get reported, because it is the nature of people who do these things to cover up as many mistakes as possible.

What do you want to bet that this election will be no different?

Never ascribe to malice, that which can be explained by incompetence. (Update: But... looking at that picture above, one can't help but think that if there was a vast conspiracy of some sort to elect another big-government, no-change President, things could not possibly be going better than they are now.)

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