Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Russia and Bush v. Gore

The House Republicans have put out their statement on Trump and collusion.

I could have told you what they were going to say on November 9, 2016.  With that in mind, it's time to reminisce about Bush v. Gore.  Remember Bush v. Gore?  In the 2000 election, it all came down to Florida.  Shut up about the "popular vote."  How many times do I have to tell you?  There's no such thing as "the popular vote."  The issue in Bush v. Gore was the set of vote tallies in a handful of counties in Florida.  Gore wanted them recounted using a specific standard.  He wasn't asking for a full statewide recount, though, and that weakened his case significantly when trying to pose the matter as an "equal protection" issue.

Anyway, in a famous 5-4 decision, the Supreme Court halted the recounts and ruled that the state was to certify the results declaring Bush the winner of Florida's electoral votes, ruling against Gore's request for county-specific recounts, but what made the ruling so famous was its naked cowardice.  Here's how you can tell that Justices don't have any confidence in the substantive argument they are making:  they tell you they don't want it to be used as precedent in any future case.  That's what the majority did.  They just halted the recount, let Dubya's brother and his hack of a Sec. State declare him the winner, and told everyone that they knew their reasoning was so flimsy it should never be used again lest it be used to hurt a candidate they didn't want to hurt in the future.  Bull-fucking-shit.

Irony:  going ahead with Gore's recount still would have led to a Bush victory!  You missed that part, in all likelihood.  A statewide recount, under another standard, might have given Gore the victory, and a stronger legal case, but Gore was an idiot.  And we don't let idiots into the White House...  Right?

The bigger issue, really, was the butterfly ballot in Palm Beach County, designed by Theresa LePore (a Democrat!).  The ballot was stupidly structured, and made careless people think they were voting for Gore when they were actually voting for Pat Buchanan.  That cost Gore the state, and the Presidency.  Period.

I get twitchy about political analogies, but here's one.  Imagine a marathon.  One guy is clearly ahead, and clearly about to put his foot over the finishing line first.  Then, a window air conditioning unit falls right in front of him, and the incident lets the other guy, clearly behind, get a victory.  What do you do?  Keep in mind that, given the distance, there was no fucking way the other guy was going to win, sans air conditioner fall.

The political system basically just declared Bush the winner.

How did the Republican Party address it?  They stopped talking about it.  Why?  Because George W. Bush didn't care how he won.  He just cared that he won.  He had no hang-ups about the bullshit "popular vote," the Supreme Court's controversial ruling, the butterfly ballot, or any of that.  He was President.  That's it.  Done deal.

Contrast that with Trump.  Why is the House still denying, not just collusion, but the idea that Russia was helping Trump at all?  Trump's ego.  Trump doesn't only care that he won-- he cares how he won.  In fact, that's the only thing that matters to him.  To Trump, a presidential election is not an event involving 100+ million people.  It is a one-on-one contest involving precisely two people.  Trump defeats his enemy.  Period.  To acknowledge a role for anyone else is to detract from Trump's victory, and hence bruise his ego, and so he continues to deny that Russia was even involved, leading to that ridiculous spectacle of the House putting out a report denying that Russia even wanted to help Trump, with Tom Rooney wondering how that conclusion wound up in the report.

It wound up in the report because the purpose of the report was not just to declare Trump blameless, but to fluff him.  Stormy is otherwise occupied.

Had this been handled the way the party dealt with Bush v. Gore, the party would have said, "what's past is past, let's deal with Russia and move on, but Trump is President now."  It would have been possible to acknowledge Russia's actions, and even their intent, and still say that there is no way to undo it, but the challenge is figuring out the next step.  But, that would have required a President whose goal is to be President rather than just win presidential elections and have his ego fluffed.

Imagine Trump in 2000...

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