The Case of the Ohio Recount

In the whodunit over who won it, the true villain is slipping away

There is a way, though it will take some heavy lifting—a lot of heavy lifting. Representative Jesse Jackson Jr. has pointed out that Congress doesn't even have the power to establish a nationally uniform system of voting—everything in the Constitution concerning presidential elections is mediated through the states, which is why every state (and within every state, every county) runs elections its own way. He's proposed a constitutional amendment to right the wrong. Passing it is a daunting prospect, no doubt. But as strategy, it also has the makings of brilliance. Let the Republicans try to fight it. Put them on record as against the right to vote. Let them defend the process as it exists—where a figure like Blackwell can simultaneously be the captain of one of the teams and the game's chief referee.

Then Americans will know where the Republicans stand.

Recount 'em up: Ballot gazing in Cincinnati on December 15
photo: Lauren Heaton/Yellow Springs News
Recount 'em up: Ballot gazing in Cincinnati on December 15

Standing behind Jackson's constitutional amendment would be a better application of progressive energies than the frenzied attempt every fourth December to chase down the horses after the barn door is closed. We should be working on political campaigns also—working on winning the next time around by wide enough margins to put the need for any kind of recount out of play. The Republicans lost a presidential election in 1992, remember. They didn't waste their time trying to take it back. They took back Congress, instead. We've got 22 more months to try to do that ourselves. It's December of 2004. Do you know who your congressional candidate for '06 is?

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