Tuesday, October 30, 2012

The Built-In Excuse Is Now In Place

So how long do you think it will be before both Presidential campaigns claim Hurricane Sandy has "unfairly tainted the election"?  Honestly, it was the first thing that came to my mind as scenes of the damage caused by the storm starting showing up on TV and the internet last night.

Sure, everybody is playing nice right now--turning their campaign offices into donation collection centers (because it's so much easier to go to the Romney-Ryan or Obama For America office than it is to go to the Red Cross office another block down).  Both sides have even postponed events "out of concern for the hurricane victims".  (Although it should be pointed out, overseeing disaster relief efforts is part of President Obama's job--as opposed to making fundraising calls and leading rallies in battleground states.  Although handling international crises like the attack on the Benghazi Embassy are part of his job too--but Vegas was calling that night).  But you know there are strategists working overtime now trying to find anyway possible to use the storm to their advantage.

I think it will start as early as today with mayors and governors in heavily Democratic areas saying they will do "everything they can to make sure people can vote next Tuesday--but obviously, we can't make any guarantees".  That will immediately set off the alarm bells at Democratic National Headquarters and at MSNBC--where hours of programming will be spent on how the storm has "disenfranchised millions" and how that "threatens the legitimacy of this election".

Next will come the absurd demands for last-minute changes in election procedures that have not been reviewed by any legal experts or elected officials.  Evacuees should be allowed to vote at whatever place they are next Tuesday...absentee ballots should be provided to all displaced voters and counted no matter how long after the election they are returned...and the ultimate, this entire election should be delayed a week, a month, two months, a year--however long it takes to "get everything back to normal again".  When these requests are denied, the lawsuits will begin, followed by the requests for injunctions, the appeals, requests for further injunctions, etc, etc, etc.

Of course, when Election Day itself comes, we will be subjected to the endless stories of the handful of people who "didn't get to vote" because they don't have a house, or a car, or the subway wasn't running that day, or their polling place was damaged and they didn't know where the new location was, or the ballot machines were damaged and nobody got to vote in their neighborhood, or Tuesday was the only day they could meet with the insurance guy or the FEMA guy or the contractor.

And if President Obama loses--because let's be honest here, Sandy hit a lot of "Blue States"--historians will rush to their computers to chronicle how the Election of 2012 was decided not by ideas or values or concerns about crushing Federal Deficits and creation of a Nanny State--but rather by a natural disaster that kept people away from the polls.  If Mitt Romney loses, well that was just the will of the people.

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