Election 2012

How a Bitter Election Will End

When the votes are counted, the winner will be gracious and the loser will be conciliatory.


Last month, a New York Times story noted "an extraordinary event" in the former Soviet republic of Georgia. President Mikheil Saakashvili, whose human rights record is not exactly the gold standard, "conceded defeat in parliamentary elections," saying gamely that "democracy works in this way."

It was outwardly unremarkable but without precedent. The human rights organization Freedom House pointed out that in Georgia, "this election marks the first time power has changed hands to a rival party through democratic means and diverts from the authoritarian trend witnessed in many of its former Soviet neighbors."

Any country can hold an election. Any country can even hold a free and fair election. Those steps are important, but they don't mean much if a third one is absent. Those in power, when they lose, must peacefully surrender power to those who won.

Many countries have yet to achieve these minimal requirements. In its 2012 survey of the world, Freedom House says that out of 195 nations, only 117 qualify as electoral democracies.

China is not one of them. The biggest country on Earth is about to undergo a leadership transition, but a highly constrained one. President Hu Jintao is making way for a successor, Xi Jinping, but the Communist Party, which has held power since 1949, will maintain control.

There is no authentic opposition party. In fact, a Kunming man was recently sentenced to eight years in prison for trying to establish one. When a president's term ends, the only question is which Communist functionary will replace him. Ordinary people have no say.

Also missing the democratic trend is Russia, where Vladimir Putin was returned to the presidency in a March election that had the trappings of democracy without the substance. "The ultimate winner of the election was never in doubt," complained international observers.

In many places, presidents serve as long as they want and are removed only through coups or revolutions. You think America is bitterly divided? Not compared to Syria or Libya or Sudan.

In historical terms, change through violence is the norm. Our avoidance of it is the exception. What we fight with mass rallies and Super PAC ads, they fight with guns.

American political campaigns are often strident, vitriolic and hateful affairs. They exploit our divisions and intensify our disagreements. They force us to listen to all sorts of allegations that insult our intelligence, week after week, chasing us wherever we might flee. They reflect, and fuel, a polarization that sometimes looks fatal.

But Americans rarely resort to violence, unless you count vandalizing yard signs. Our campaigns eventually end, and when they do, a few people cry foul or demand recounts. But the vast majority accepts the result and gets back to other business.

It happened in 2008, even though many people thought Barack Obama was constitutionally ineligible for his alleged Kenyan birth. It happened in 2000, when Democrats thought George W. Bush, who lost the popular vote, had stolen Florida with the connivance of the Supreme Court.

It's happened through war and depression, with the notable exception of 1860, when Abraham Lincoln's victory moved Southern states to violent revolt. Half of America may detest the winner of a presidential election—but they accept him as the winner.

The first time we saw a peaceful transfer of power from one party to another was in 1800, when the winner was Thomas Jefferson. His Federalist opponents portrayed him as an atheist and a radical who would bring horrific consequences: "Murder, robbery, rape, adultery, and incest will be openly taught and practiced, the air will be rent with the cries of distress, the soil will be soaked with blood, and the nation black with crimes."

Because of a bizarre deadlock in the Electoral College, the election ended up in the House of Representatives, which went through 36 votes before Jefferson finally prevailed. Defeated President John Adams did not contest the outcome. He left office angry, but he left.

When the votes are counted after Tuesday's election, the winner will be gracious and the loser will be conciliatory. After a year and a half of fierce ideological and partisan disputation that sometimes seemed certain to tear us asunder, Americans will accept the outcome, happily or not.

An ordinary event? Yes, and all the more extraordinary for that.

NEXT: Spit It Out

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  1. Steve, your proglodyte friends are making legal actions stage 2 of elections.

    1. Voter suppression is very legal. Rick Scott in Florida is doing a great job of it. Lines are 6-8 hours long in the Tampa area for early voting as he cuts back the available days of prior years.

      1. How about we go back to having a voting day and entirely get rid of this early voting bullshit.

        1. Many precincts don’t have the capacity. Why is it so important to prevent some people from voting?

          1. And here comes shreeky back with two unsupported assertions. I’ve sort of missed seeing his special brand of idiocy while I was dealing with Sandy’s aftermath.

            1. I finally figured out why he and his proggie friends are so snarly – despite a chance of winning. I recall Dimitri Shastakovich describing the end of one of his symphonies that seemed triumphant and happy but he really wanted to convey “it is as if someone is beating you with a stick and saying ‘your business is rejoicing! your business is rejoicing!’ And you, shaky, rise and march away muttering ‘my business is rejoicing! my business is rejoicing!’.

              1. I am not a progressive. I am a liberal. I know the literal meanings are lost on conservatives though.

                Extra points for the Shostakovich story though. The cultural police of the USSR influenced Prokofiev too.

                1. and we are not conservatives. We are libertarians. I know the literal meanings are lost on progressives liberals idiots though.

                  1. You are not a libertarian if you support Romney.

                    Some of you don’t, of course.

                    1. You are not a libertarian if you support Romney.

                      But, but, Tulpa sez that voting for Romney isn’t supporting Romney. Voting for Romney just means you don’t oppose him as much as you oppose Obama. Between Shreek and Tulpa I don’t know what to believe anymore.

                    2. You are not a libertarian if you support Romney.

                      And you’re not a liberal if you support Obama.

                      Just a useful idiot for the fascists.

                2. I don’t think the word “liberal” means what you are following in practice.

                  Is your business rejoicing?

                  /NKVD off

              2. OT: LTC John, from a discussion 2 days ago, I wanted to ask you if you really thought that there are ESL teachers out there making 100,000 a year.

                If so, could you please send my CV to their workplace?

                1. I’ve read that many teachers in urban district have total compensation over 100k /yr and ESL teachers get a bonus over base pay.

                  So the claim is hardly outrageous.

                  1. I was in the field for about 10 years before I moved to teaching at the university level. Part of my job now is to train said ESL teachers.

                    First, he said elementary school, of which I am skeptical. The only ESL teachers out there making 100,000 are also administrators and they probably also have a Ed.D or Ph.D.

                    Then again, California is another world and they use Monopoly money over there.

                    1. A large part of teacher’s compensation is gold plated health insurance that runs over 20k/yr and contributions to pension plans that are worth 20k/yr+.

                      And yes CA is another world.

                      We have hundreds of prison guards who were paid well over 100k last year. Not administrators or even supervisors but guards.

                      And my favorite is police chiefs that “retire” with mid six figure pensions and then promptly get a job as a police chief a couple of towns down the road.

                2. You need to be over here and find the idiotic and wealthy Chicago suburbs – then style yourself not only ESL, but “diversity yada yada yada” and “multicultral thisnthat” you can target the district(s) being sued by Hispanic activists (ie. U-46, the second largest district in IL). Cha-Ching!

                  1. That was for Valorous Quadroon.

                    1. I thought he was an octoroon.

                    2. Nope, Quad.

                  2. You need to be over here and find the idiotic and wealthy Chicago suburbs – then style yourself not only ESL, but “diversity yada yada yada” and “multicultral thisnthat”

                    Ok, so administration/department heads….makes more sense.

                    While I am qualified for said jobs….never in a million years. Not that I make a bad living as an Asst. Prof., though…

                    1. Oh Meritorious Octaroon – you can still make a killing in the right districts here in northern IL, in the classroom. Just wrap yourself in the right credentialed flag and CHARGE! Try an arc between say, Arlington Heights, Inverness and Barrington to Deerfield, Skokie, Buffalo Grove, etc.

                      We’ll get you serving in one of the cash flush districts in those ‘burbs yet!

          2. Does it take effort to look this stupid, or does it come naturally?

            I suspect the answer is ‘yes’.

        2. Shouldn’t early voters get a chance to change their votes before the final day? Might be costly, but if we’re accepting the initial costs of early voting, this one idea seems reasonable to me.

          1. Heck, Caleb, what’s magic about *early* voting?

            Surely we have the technology to allow any voter to change its vote right up to, say, the nominal closing of its polling place.

            1. I guess it could be manageable so long as it’s computerized. But you’re going to get server drag if millions of people change their votes at the last minute.

      2. Rick Scott in Florida is doing a great job of it.

        Yet there’s been a record turnout.

        Maybe he hasn’t done a great job of it.


        1. Florida is a high growth state, dumbass. Why did Scott cut back the number of voting days?

          Answer that.

          1. Voter suppression results in record turnouts?

            Maybe more voters should be suppressed into turning out at the polls.


          2. He did it because he hates progressives who call themselves liberals.

            Although there is a chance that he only did it because he couldn’t find enough Republicans to staff the voting locations AND stand outside to make sure no Democrats got it. Which probably explains why out of the 4.4 million early vote the Dems are ahead about about 160,000.

            1. Not enough. Dems work on Tuesdays. Republicans tend to be on entitlement programs or playing golf that day.

              1. Uh, right, what was I thinking? I guess you got me there.

              2. Dems work on Tuesdays.

                Is that the only day that they can file their welfare claims?

              3. Doesn’t that kind of ruin the narrative that Republicans are for the evil rich and hate welfare recipients?

                Shit I hate it when I accidentally cross my talking points.

          3. maybe he did it because early voting carries a cost and the state has only so much money. Maybe he did it because he knows people will figure out a way to abuse any system. Maybe he thinks election day, with its myriad precincts, is not that big a hassle compared to funneling everyone into a single location for early voting.

            1. maybe he did it because early voting carries a cost and the state has only so much money.

              I haven’t done an ounce of research, but that would be my guess. It’s also possible that previous years of early voting had such short lines that he thought closing a few of them wouldn’t be a big deal. Kind of like how Target doesn’t always have every single register open.

              Of course, leftists being leftists tend to run with the notion that however much government largesse we had before was the exactly correctly perfectly scientifically calculated amount, so we can not possibly make do with any less, and if you think we can then you are a racist sexist bigot.

          4. Why did Scott cut back the number of voting days?

            Fewer early voting days = voter supression!!

            Herpity derpity doo!!

          5. Because he knows government money isn’t limitless?

      3. I live in Tampa. I voted early. No line at all when I went.

        1. That’s unpossible!

  2. But the vast majority accepts the result and gets back to other business.

    The more the two major parties resemble each other, the easier this will continue to be for people.

    1. shhhh, you’re harshing Steve’s mellow!

  3. His Federalist opponents portrayed him as an atheist and a radical who would bring horrific consequences:

    Jefferson’s opponents today:

    Paul Ryan told a group of evangelicals Sunday night that President Obama has put America on a path that compromises the “Judeo-Christian, western-civilization values that made us such a great and exceptional nation in the first place,” NBC News reports.

    1. John Adams’ opponents today:

      “Joe Biden told a group of college students Sunday night that President Romney would likely enslave most females between the ages of 13 and 50 and put them into ‘birth camps’ where they would be forced to be continually impregnated and then forced to carry those pregnancies to term. The products of these “presidencies”* would likely be put to work for Romney’s corporate friends for no pay and no benefits,” Huffpo reports.

      *we can only assume that he meant ‘pregnancies’

      1. Will you conservatives make women wear rape harnesses to facilitate breeding?

        I see a market opportunity.

        1. Chris Matthews, is that you?

          1. Except in shreeky’s case it’s his butt that gets a thrill up it.

        2. Raping a woman is about the only way you’d ever get laid outside of a Japanese sex-bot, you stupid goon.

        3. no harness – camps! Rape Camps!

          I’ve already helped to design the first models which will be greatly improved once we work out the kinks.

          1. This seems like a case where you wouldn’t necessarily want to work out the “kinks.”

  4. Any country can hold an election.

    “See, you know how to take the reservation. You just don’t know how to hold the reservation. And that’s really the most important part of the reservation, the holding. Anyone can just take them.”

      1. Still makes me laugh!

    1. I must have missed that one, but when I read it I knew it was either Seinfeld or Albert Brooks.

  5. I am no fan of Obama by any means but one thing is certain, if Romneys mouth is moving, he is lying.


    1. But not for long. Fifteen minutes later he’ll change his mind.

    2. What’s neat is you can switch the names around and it’s still true. Good job, anon-bot!

      1. you can’t fool me, that’s not the real anonbot – there’s only one spelling mistake and no chirpy “LOL!”.

        1. I’m no fan of tagtann by any means but one thing is certain, if limposimpos mouth is moving, he is lying?

          1. LEAVE LIMPOSIMPO ALONE!!!1!

            1. I always knew you were in the tank for limposimpo.

              1. I chose sides after the great LimpoSimpo v Wingfoo throw down.

      2. What’s neat is you can switch the names around and it’s still true.

        In the august words of Ice Cube: Everythang’s Corrupt.

      3. If you spell his name backwards, you have a machine gun wielding insect.

  6. with the notable exception of 1860, when Abraham Lincoln’s victory moved Southern states to violent revolt.

    I thought the true cause of the Civil War was circumcision.

      1. what role did the Great Weed Drought of 1859 play then?

        1. That was the true cause of the Pig War, actually.

          1. The Pig War, so called because it was triggered by the shooting of a pig, is also called the Pig Episode, the Pig and Potato War, the San Juan Boundary Dispute or the Northwestern Boundary Dispute. With no human casualties, this dispute was a bloodless conflict.


            1. Why would anyone go to war over a dead cop? That makes no sense.

              1. icwutudidthar

    1. Circumsecession?

    2. Nah, it was circumsecession.

      1. That word seems a little circumsuspicious.

        1. In circumspect, it seems a perfectly cromulent word to me.

          1. We don’t need to be subjected to your circumlocution.

            1. I merely cut a circumscribed conclusion.

              1. Now you’re just engaging in a little circumvention.

                1. Your evidence is circumstantial at best.

                  1. That’s because I’m not trying to circumnavigate the whole conversation.

  7. Frankly, I hope you are wrong. Mark me as a grouch, but I would love to see a Democrat defeat followed by a lot of noise over ‘vote fraud’ and a demand for investigation. Any halfway honest investigation would uncover a systematic network of Democrat vote fraud, and a lot of annoying Leftie twits would face Federal charges. There are just enough Democrat idiots out there who have heard the Democrat version of the 2000 election, and believe it, that this might happen.

    In fact, I expect that the Democrats, if they have any goddamned sense (which is a question), will keep their mouths shut. And the bigger the post election silence (if Jug Ears loses) the surer I will be that massive Democrat vote fraud happened.

    1. shadiness is already underway in a couple of South FL counties where elections supervisors believe themselves above state law. If someone can walk an absentee ballot into the office and fill it out on the spot, why can’t that person just show up on election day?

      1. But…But.. Early Voting.

        You can’t expect democrat voters to sober up on a Tuesday.

    2. I said this exact same thing to a liberal acquaintance and she came completely unglued.
      She literally got red-faced, bug-eyed and spit flecked me while she yelled and stabbed her finger at me. I thought she was going to hit me.

      After a solid minute of angry denials she got quiet long enough for me to mutter ” Hit a nerve huh?”.
      She started getting cranked up again so I just walked off.

      1. I think a lot of Liberals are absolutely SURE that Bush stole the 2000 election in Florida because that’s what they would have done. No wonder they’re touch on the subject.

        1. The Democrats not only would have stolen the election the deliberately tried to.

          The “recounts” in Palm Beach and Broward counties were blatant attempts to turn unmarked ballots into votes for Gore.

          It’s funny that the only counties that had a problem getting accurate vote counts the only ones that had problems were the ones where Democrats were in charge of the voting machinery.

      2. When they get upset it’s like they’re inflicted with a brain virus.

    3. The adjectival form of Democrat is “Democratic” you moron.

      Most of the stories coming out of this election are Republicans trying to fuck with the franchise, either through passing laws meant to suppress the vote or by individuals committing voter fraud, sometimes paid staffers of Republican operations.

      Why don’t you do a little research on who is actually trying to corrupt the election before you parrot Republican lies?

      1. The adjectival form of Democrat is “Democratagogic” you moron.

        You really should proofread before you click “submit”.

  8. It’s a bitter battle, true enough.

  9. OT: Afghanistan 1980, Syria 2012…we always choose the bestest side to support!

    1. We need an Eastasia with which to always have been at war.

      1. Fuck me; I split the infinitive.

      2. You fell victim to one of the classic blunders – The most famous of which is “never get involved in a land war in Asia” – but only slightly less well-known is this: “Never go against a Sicilian when death is on the line”!

  10. I’m sure that Democrats will cede the election to Romney if he wins the popular vote but Obama wins the EC.

    After all, it’s the popular vote that matters to principled liberal progressives. Right?

    Haaaaaaaaa ha ha ha ha!

    Principled liberal progressives! That was good!

    I’ll be here all week.

    1. I hear that both sides have hordes of lawyers on standby. Anyone wanna take bets on whether or not we’ll still be arguing this mess on Thanksgiving?

      1. Sheesh, Tim, we’ll still be arguing this mess on Thanksgiving *2013*.

      2. I hope not, I’d like to see my bet settled before I go on vacation.

  11. Hopefully the Election Will End in a shower of bitter tears on MSNBC.

    1. A Romney landslide would demolish any remaining credibility of the MSM in general.

      1. And Nate Silver and the Intrade retards.

  12. http://www.politico.com/news/s…..83298.html

    Speaking of the election, this is a very underreported story. It looks like the Dems are going to at best pick up less than five house seats and might lose just as many. Pelosi was given a billion dollars and Paul Ryan and his evil plans to destroy medicare and she will accomplish absolutely nothing. Just savior that schadenfreude for a moment.

    Beyond that, It is difficult to see how Obama wins while staying even or losing seats in the House. Republicans won in places they hadn’t won in decades in 2010. For Obama to win but Dems lose in the House would mean people are ticket splitting and voting R in the House races but Obama for President. Possible but doubtful. It would be one thing if Obama had worked with the Congress the last two years and been a successful President. Then people would ticket split as a way of saying they like things as they are. But he didn’t. It seems pretty unlikely that there are many people out there who are happy with the government as constituted. Some of that is Republican redictricting after the Census. But not all of it. If the Dems were going to come close to retaking the House, then I could believe it was all redistricting. But that is not what is going to happen. That instead is a pretty good sign the electorate looks a lot more like 2008 than 2010.

    1. The Republicans are going to sweep everything and usher in a new golden age of prosperity. HOORAH!

      1. Top. Men.

        Besides… GO TEAM!

      2. I know there is a thick coat of dust on things, but how is having the elephants wsweep everything going to make us wealthier..? Oh, wait, I see what you meant!

        1. The Republicans will sweep in (with a small majority in the Senate). They will then immediately set about squandering the next 2 years. A movement will rise up to purge the GOP of “Rino’s”.

          1. Maybe they’ll start hanging tea bags from their rear view mirrors…

      3. Go fuck yourself Sparky. I said nothing beyond what looks like will happen tommorow. If you think something different, tell us what it is. If you don’t and just are not smart enough to think of anything to say, then shut the fuck up.

        What do you care who wins tommorow anyway? Are you going to be sad if the Democrats lose?

        1. John, you know what they say about people who get overly defensive? Seriously, do you? Because I don’t, but I’m sure there must be something.

          For your second question, I don’t care who wins tomorrow. I’ll be sad no matter who wins or loses.

          1. Obamney or Robama. We’re screwed either way.

        2. Does someone constantly follow you around dumping sand in your panties or something?

    2. Gotta love the alt-text. 🙂

    3. Woodward’s new book on Obama is the best he has written since the Bob Casey one back in the mid 80’s. The stubbornness and unwillingness to see anything except on his own terms and how a given negotiation is advantageous to his political ends really underscores his failure and its source.

    4. John, I think you meant it the other way: that the electorate now looks a lot more like 2010 than 2008. That’s my feeling as well. Since the 2010 Democrat wipeout, are Democrats more popular? Is Obama? I don’t think so.

  13. Also: I am actually a bit nervous about riots if Obama loses. More than a few people have threatened to do so on Twitter, and I have no doubt that many more are thinking about it.

    1. That’s a very legitimate concern. Too many people have bought into the totally unsupported meme of the Democratic party being the good guys standing up to evil. George Lucas compared Obama to a Jedi. It’s unfortunate that Lucas forgot that he wrote the line, “Politicians are not to be trusted.” And the people who buy into the notion that Obama=Jedi look as stupid as Jar Jar Binks.

      Also, the thought of people rioting over this reminded me of the riot in the San Francisco financial district on Earth Day many years ago. I couldn’t help but laugh at the stupidity of these rioters as many of them had jackets and backpacks made of artificial fibers.

    2. Progressives are always threatening riots, lynchings, and mass exodus.

      Yet they just sit there and whine when it comes time to act.

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