Sincere Concern for Democracy and its Antithesis
The lawyers the Democratic Party paid to observe the ballot counting all went away after the results were released at eight last night, but it took the volunteer Republican observers some time to figure this out because they were so busy observing the process and so used to the opposition being thin on the ground. The central thing to keep in mind about this is that the most optimistic Republican in the building only dreamed of getting 33% of the Multnomah County vote in his wildest flight of fancy. There never was a serious race to win in the Portland Metro area; there was only a contest to put in a respectable showing. The observers from the Republican Party were there to make sure that an honest election functioned. The lawyers from the Democratic Party were there to impose the form of an open election was observed. Once the initial results were released, it appears the process became irrelevant to them.
The Republicans in Multnomah County total about 89,000 of the 429,000 registered voters, slightly less than 21% of the electorate. President Bush got 27% of the county's votes in the initial results last night
, not enough help to carry the state, but a respectable performance in this bluest of blue regions this side of Berkeley. The funny part about all this is that four years ago
Nader pulled more than 5% of the county vote and Bush got about 21% here. The Republican candidate got a smaller percentage when Nader was in the race in Multnomah County. That has just got to suck a whole lot for some people.
Kerry just conceded and one can only hope that this loss will show the fundamental vacuity of injunctive interference in the electoral process. Playing pettiness games with the Democratic lawyers was a tedious and pointless activity that I hope will not be repeated in four years. The willingness of Democratic money sources to continue to shovel funds down rat holes in pursuit of non-existent rewards remains to be seen. The willingness of vastly outnumbered Republican supporters to show up and put in long hours to help keep things honest appears undiminished. Last night the Republicans had no problem producing as many polite, orderly, and intelligent observers as they needed to observe every aspect of the process. These were mostly just folks who wanted to keep things honest in a profoundly partisan county. The failure of the Democrats to keep anybody in the building after the initial results were released was the best indicator of their sincerity.
A brief note of congratulations to John Kauffman Director of Elections for Multnomah County and his superlative staff who have worked long hours in conditions made horrible by the interference of litigators without an abiding interest in the honest exercise of democracy. These people did their best to maintain their dignity and integrity under terrible stress. Last night, long after the litigious opportunists had departed the building and the last (drunk) procrastinator had staggered through the door to vote, he and his exhausted staff were still working hard to keep democracy functioning.