Jewish World Review Dec. 6, 2000 / 10 Kislev, 5761
There also remain lawsuits brought by Democratic activists in Seminole and Martin counties; these beg the courts to throw out close to 25,000 absentee ballots on the grounds that election officials allowed Republicans to add voter identification numbers to a few thousand of the ballots. But in these challenges, no one is alleging fraud or anything close to it; the information the Republicans added was correct, Democrats had access to the same information and the Republicans' actions in no way manipulated the vote. It would be remarkably radical for the courts to disenfranchise tens of thousands of voters on the strength of this.
Even if the state Supreme Court overturns Judge Sauls and rules in favor of Gore, and even if the Democrats win the Seminole and Martin cases, Gore still will have no real chance of gaining the White House. This is so for two reasons: First, either of these rulings would be appealed and the odds are that Gore would lose the appeals. The U.S. Supreme Court signaled in its unanimous ruling Monday that it is watching the Florida Supreme Court for any signs of overreaching.
Second, there is not enough time to recount the ballots before the Dec. 12 deadline for Florida to choose its electors for the electoral college vote on Dec. 18. And Florida's Republican legislators, who control both houses, have made clear that they will choose the electors themselves rather than miss the Dec. 12 date. These electors would support Bush. The choice might then ultimately come before the House of Representatives, but here again, the numbers mean victory for Bush.
Since Gore ultimately cannot win, it is reckless and selfish of him to continue a fight that can only promise further wreckage. Rather than force this back into the U.S. Supreme Court or, far worse, into Congress, he should withdraw his pointless appeal and concede now. He should also publicly ask the Democrats waging the Seminole and Martin challenges to abandon their cases; he should remind them that he has based his challenge entirely on a call for counting every vote, and that he could not, in conscience, take the presidency on the strength of dis-counting some 25,000 votes.
But if Gore was the sort of man to do something of that nature, we wouldn't be where we are in the first place. So what, realistically, should he do?
He should tell his people, now, to stop employing the count-every-vote rhetoric, which argues, to tremendously destructive effect, that a Bush victory is illegitimate because potentially verdict-altering Gore votes were ignored. The assertion that the Gore effort was simply about making sure every vote was counted was always embarrassingly false. The votes were counted twice by machine, and Gore's efforts to hand count them were confined only to Democratic counties where Democratic-controlled canvassing boards might be expected to "find" some hundreds of Gore votes among thousands of dubious ballots. What is more, Democrats have, when it has suited them, as in Seminole and Martin counties and as with military ballots, sought to win through rejecting Republican votes.
What is more still, the so-called "uncounted" votes of Miami-Dade County are not uncounted; these are most likely ballots in which voters punched holes in other races but chose not to cast votes in the presidential contest. This happens, especially when you have candidates as uninspiring as Gore and Bush. As Gore must know, the tiny percentage of the vote that was "uncounted" in Miami-Dade is entirely in line with the percentage in past elections and with the national percentage in this election.
Gore should, when he finally accepts his loss, acknowledge that there was as full and as fair a count in Florida as could be achieved, and that he lost this count fully and fairly. He should publicly speak against the idea, already bruited by Democrats, of private parties employing Florida's sunshine laws to once again recount the Florida vote and determine who "really" won Florida, in an obvious effort to further delegitimize Bush's presidency.
As far as can be reasonably determined, George Bush really won Florida, and he really won the election, and it is past time for Al Gore to face
11/29/00: BURN THAT VILLAGE!