Our Fragile Democracy

* Yes, Broward County and “Flori-duh” are back in the news cycle. Let us (re) count the ways. Were we talking an “undervote” tabulation error or just bad ballot design and careless voters? If the latter, how does any voter walk away without having voted for one of the two highest-profile races in the state that have major national implications? Hanging chads and all those Pat Buchanan votes in 2000 made more sense.

* The popular vote. Remember that? We know all too well that it’s not enough to elect a president. How ironic that the Supreme Court, which will oversee any future challenges to voting restrictions, includes four justices–FOUR out of nine–appointed by Republican presidents who lost the popular vote.

* According to the (nonpartisan) Center for Responsive Politics, at least $4.7 billion was spent on the mid-term election. That would make it the costliest congressional election in U.S. history. And given the level of partisan rancor and White House fear-mongering, the costs to America are much higher than that.

* It was interesting, but hardly surprising, to see how different networks handled crawl teases for the breaking news that Jeff Sessions was out as attorney general. CNN and MSNBC alternately characterized the departure as “fired” and “forced out.” The Fox crawl said Sessions had “resigned.”

* Not that it would matter to this White House, but it’s hardly irrelevant to remember that nearly a quarter of the 1918 U.S. draftees into World War I were immigrants.

* Remember Ralph Nader? Too bad his anti-establishment news-making didn’t end with his pioneering, auto-safety expose “Unsafe at Any Speed.” But, no, his no-chance, third-party candidacy in 2000 enabled George W. Bush to carry Florida and ultimately win the White House and impose Dick Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld on the rest of the world. Nader never indicated regret. Worse yet, he would later provide a conscience-salving rationale for those, who because they sat out the 2016 election, helped secure the presidency for the dangerously unprepared Donald Trump. Nader voted for neither Trump nor Hillary Clinton. “They’re not alike, but they’re both terrible,” he publicly stated. As if both were unqualified, existential threats to this county and this globe. Alas, it wasn’t “Unsafe at Any Election.” It was the latest political nadir.

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