News from the Votemaster
Don, I'd like you to meet George Allen. George, I'd like you to meet Don Imus. You have a lot in common. You both said something Bad and now your career is over.
I think this is a good moment to step back and see where we are. America has come a long, long way since 1948, when Strom Thurmond could run for President as a Dixiecrat under the slogan "Segregation Forever," or even since 1962 when Bobby Kennedy and 25 armed federal marshalls forced Gov. Ross Barnett out of the schoolhouse door to allow an African-American student, James Meredith, to enroll at the University of Mississippi. Now when a public personality utters a word or short phrase that some people might perceive as racist, he's dead meat. These events show up one of the great strengths of America--it's ability to change--to go from racism as government policy to zero tolerance for even a whiff of racism in only two generations. For comparison, consider that the Sunnis and Shiites disagree about events that happened well over 1000 years ago and are still at each other's throats today.
But this new "one strike and you're out" rule, combined with front-loaded primaries could be a receipe for disaster. Suppose each party's nominee is known the day after superduper Tuesday (Feb. 5, 2008). The campaign will go on for 9 months after that. That's plenty of time for one of the candidates to say something Bad. It could be in any one of several areas. It could be about gender (against Hillary), race (agains Obama), religion (against Romney), age (against McCain), ethnicity (against Richardson), health (McCain, Giuliani, and Fred Thompson have all had cancer), or something else. In the past, there was time to recover during the primaries and if one candidate fell, the party could nominate a different one. If the nominees are set in stone by Feb. 6 there is no recovery.
The media tends to go into a frenzy when something like this happens. In Allen's case, there were always suspicions that he was a secret racist, what with a confederate flag and a noose in his Senate office, so the media played gotcha with him. In Imus' case, he has been spewing racist, sexist, anti-Semitic hate for decades in public, so this was merely the straw that broke the camel's back. But if one of the nominees has a genuine slip of the tongue and says something Bad and the media makes a federal case of it, it could be a rough campaign. These front-loaded primaries could lead to an unpleasant situation with one party demanding that the other party's nominee drop out of the race. Let's hope for the best.
This page is the prototype for 2008. The data and map will refer to previous elections until serious polls begin in 2008. The blog will be updated when there is interesting news about the 2008 races.Preview of the 2008 races: President Senate House
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This map shows the current Senate. Put your mouse on a state for more information.
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-- The Votemaster