If terrorists wiped out a Republican-heavy district, would Kerry win...?
Have Scary Election Scenarios Increased...?
By NANCY BENAC, Associated Press Writer
WASHINGTON - Despite all the vows of "never again" after the Florida fiasco of 2000, the scary scenarios for Election Day 2004 seem only to have increased: A tie vote in the Electoral College (news - web sites). A terrorist strike on Election Day. A disputed outcome in a critical state.
(Expurgated Here - Ben Franklin)
The notion of a split decision between the popular vote and the Electoral College tally, which seemed rather unlikely before 2000, now is almost old hat. Mann, for his part, hopes that if this election splits the opposite way from 2000 — with Bush winning the popular vote and Kerry the electoral count — it might ignite a movement to junk the Electoral College altogether.
The idea got some traction after the 2000 vote, but lost momentum when small states raised objections and got sidelined altogether when priorities shifted after the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.
Those attacks, meanwhile, have given rise to a whole new catalog of nightmare scenarios associated with terrorism. The notion was reinforced when 191 people in Madrid were killed in terrorist bombings last March just three days before Spain's elections.
Most people have forgotten, if they ever knew it, that 9/11 was a local election day in New York City. Gov. George Pataki postponed the balloting for two weeks.
It would be a far more complicated matter to postpone presidential voting in all or part of the nation.
AEI scholars John Fortier and Norman Ornstein have written a paper for Election Law Journal on the implications of a terrorist attack any time between the presidential primaries and Inauguration Day. They find troubling gaps in the procedures for handling such situations, and say the federal government, national political parties and the states all have work to do.
For example, they write, if a terrorist attack at the Inauguration killed the new president and vice president as well as top members of Congress, the line of succession would lead to the Cabinet, but the new president's Cabinet wouldn't have been nominated yet and the old president's team could well have resigned as of noon on Jan. 20. Their proposed fix: have the out-going president nominate one or more members of the incoming president's Cabinet in advance, so Congress could confirm them a few hours ahead of the Inauguration. Then one of those people could be sent away to ensure someone was safe.
Fortier and Ornstein scold those who say that even exploring the possibilities of an election-related attack could heighten the risk of one happening.
"Dismissal of these problems or failure to think about this is irresponsible," they write. "Scenarios we would have dismissed a few years ago as the stuff of Tom Clancy novels are all too real."
"To announce that there must be no criticism of the President, or that we are to stand by the President, right or wrong, is not only unpatriotic and servile, but is morally treasonable to the American public. Nothing but the truth should be spoken about him or any one else. But it is even more important to tell the truth, pleasant or unpleasant, about him than about any one else." - Theodore Roosevelt