Sunday, November 4, 2012
The Day After the Election: Excuses
Come the day after the election there is a fantasy many of us have that the losing side in the presidential race will tell the winning side that it was a hard fought and close campaign but that the winner won fair and square. Unfortunately that will not occur, especially in light of all the pre-election litigation and legal posturing.
Assuming Obama wins, I suspect the argument Republicans make is that the election stolen. Assume Obama wins close races in Wisconsin and Pennsylvania, Republicans claim that were it not for a court suspending or invalidating voter ID in those states Romney would have won. Obama’s victory was a product of fraud. In Ohio the message will be that the courts allowed too many provisional ballots and therefore fraud occurred, and in Florida they will argue that relaxation of some of the restrictions on voter registration and early voting will be the cause of ineligibles voting. A few will also point to how mediocre a candidate Romney was, but the big issue will be fraud.
Conversely, on the slight chance that Romney wins, the cry will be that voter suppression across these states is the reason for the loss. A few will point to how mediocre a candidate Obama was, but the big issue will be voter suppression.
I am suspecting these talking points are already being cued up by members of this listserv and the two parties in anticipation of efforts to justify litigation, delegitimize the winner, and prepare us for the fact that on November 7, we will be less than two years away from the next elections.
Tocqueville got it right: “There is hardly a political question in the United States which does not sooner or later turn into a judicial one. Consequently the language of everyday party-political controversy has to be borrowed from legal phraseology and conceptions.”