Open Thread on The Day After

Although I don't consider it over, I do consider the 2004 Presidential race quite demoralizing. For so many people to have worked so hard to have it be this close really makes you want to give up on national politics.

But the great thing is that we can look at the good outcome of our local races and many of our state races and be reminded of how much more impact we can make at the local level. This is what this website is all about.

Imagine if just a fraction of the energy that Orange County poured into the presidential races was directed toward the municipal election next fall. We could have a grassroots revolution on our hands! Let's take all the lessons we learned this year about community organizing and put them to work here at home where we can really make a difference.

Consider this an open thread to discuss whatever is on your mind today about local, state, and national elections this year... or next.



At this point I'm so pissed off with many things that occurred surrounding this election year. I've never considered myself to be all that political of a person, but I'm definately feeling the need to become more involved after this year.

1. Media Coverage: Does the media even pay attention to how stupid it comes off to start naming people as winners during elections when only a small percentage of precincts have reported in. Just report the numbers until all precincts have reported year I'm going to the movies on election night just so I'm not even tempted to look at results until the next day.

2. 11 state pass bans on Gay Marriage. I realize that I already don't have a popular view concerning marriage since I don't actually believe in marriage and think we should just eliminate the legal distinction for everyone. However, it would still be nice to have the option...or at the very least have civil unions. Now it is going to be up to the court system to deam these states amendments as unconstitutional.

3. At 12:36 WRAL is reporting that Kerry has conceded the election to Bush. I can't even explain how discouraged I am to have to deal with Bush for another four years.

There is a lot more that I could go into but my brain just froze up at the thought of 4 more years of Bush.

This past weekend I went to Ohio where I tried to help Kerry/Edwards win what was a critical state for the campaign. Being there, and seeing the results has left me with the following.

There are two things I think the Democratic needs to do now to ensure that they can win elections in the future.

1. Reassert class identity in the party. Unions were what made the Democrats strong, and the Democrats returned the favor by abandoning them for soccer moms and their ilk who end up voting Republican anyway. Without class consciousness, the Democrats cannot win.

2. Stand up to the " liberal" media. In Ohio, I overheard a conversation at a coffeeshop where one person suggested that pedophilia was the next wave among the Hollywood/liberal elite. This is what people think of the Democrats now. Democrats have to stand up to the culture industry's relentless commodification of everything and everyone, or they face defeat every time. On a talk radio station in Ohio I heard a woman say: " Our number one enemy is terrorism. Our number two enemy is the liberal media." We can't be that media.

Democrats lost this election because Republicans said that "moral values" (read: anti-gay, anti-choice policies) trumped the economy and even terrorism as their number one priority. This is dangerous for our democracy, and it is the responsibility of all of us to do what we can to make this shift.




What is wrong with the Dem party right now is that it allowed itself to be taken over by the likes of Howard Dean, Michael Moore, (Soros), and other hate mongering types.

Americans don't vote against candidates, they vote for candidates. That was completely forgotton in the hate filled approach the Democratic party allowed, and encouraged.

Stuff like this: will not lift your party, it will flush it down the toilet.


I don't want to be devisive in anyway, and realize that there is a lot of frustration out there. As a moderate, unaffiliated voter myself, most of us in this category have a problem with the far right and far left viewpoints; we think better in shades of gray. There seems to be little room for compromise, and whether the news comes from the "right-wing" media or "left-wing" media (depending who one talks to), most media reporting and political discourse today is wrapped up in sound bites.

I remain very proud of our Country, and most (not all, Democratic and Republican) of its leaders. We have so many positive attributes.

And finally, I agree with Ruby. We must be engaged in the local political process.

I disagree with Martin, in what appears to be the statement that we need to widen the gap (politically) among classes. If anyone looks at the USA map as to how States voted, it is aweful to see all blue at the edges of the northeast and west, with all red in the middle. Whatever the Republican party did this time around, it resonated with a notable majority of the population, and the States.

Now, we can react by believing that the other is wrong, or see what our commonalities are, blue and red. I prefer the later.

Sounds like bad preaching, I know. But it is the way I feel.

Todd, please. Your web site is full of hate. "PC Crowd, Kiss My Ass!"

The Dems lost because Kerry was not a good leader.

Myself, I don't want or need a leader.

I have to agree with the criticisms of the media. There were hundreds of ways in which the media gave subtle yet clear endorsements in the presidential race (number of photo shots showing hundreds of adoring supporters vs individual candidate only shots). We don't understand the power the media has to help make and/or perpetuate messages, and yet it was the primary communication tool in making one of our country's most important decisions. We should all be vigilant about upcoming decisions to further deregulate ownership regulations.

I agree, Ruby, we can really make a difference here at home if we direct similar energies to the elections in 2005! Important issues face us in Orange County that impact our lives very directly. Those that aren't aware of what affects us directly here should start paying attention to local politics by reading this website :), reading the local newspapers, listening to the radio, etc. Then people should decide what issues are important to them and look at the candidates in the upcoming 2005 Election Year with a more educated view of things. I.E. Be an Educated, Motivated Voter! We should ask ourselves what we would like to see differently in our town. I would love to see the turnout for next year's election like we did in this one.

At least Kerry won't have to deal with the consequences of Bush's 4 years of bad decisions. The enormous mess he's made is all his now. I look forward to 4 more years of scandals and, if we're very lucky, a reluctant impeachment in 2-3 years or maybe some indictments before then. Tom Delay is still in the firing line, as far as I know... I can't say I'll miss Tom Daschle, maybe we'll get a new minority leader (like Durbin, Biden or Obama?) who will be a little more inspiring. There's no point in whining & moaning... did the right get all weepy when Clinton won? No, they kept right on campaigning.

I don't think that the divide in America needs to be widened. In fact, I think the opposite. If Bush reads this election as a mandate for his social agenda, we're headed for a civil war in the next four years, and it won't be pretty.

Bush won 51 percent of the population. Those "red" states in the middle are important, but much of the land there is empty, both because it's hard to live there and because Republican agricultural policies (deregulation, mergers) have put the family farm out of business. I lived in Greybull, Wyoming, a town of 2000 people in the Big Horn Basin, for a few years. I recently returned, and found that several people I know there have been devastated by meth and alcohol addiction, job less and a sense that their town, like all the towns around them, is slowly dying. These states are hurting, and anyone who lives there won't tell you otherwise.

This divide doesn't have to be here. Read Thomas Frank's "What's the Matter WIth Kansas?" The reactionary pro-life movement has only been around for a few decades, yet they have single-handedly managed to remove the class issue from people's political decision-making. People are mortgaging their houses, losing their health care, working two jobs--all to fight against this imagined enemy they call "liberalism." In exchange for this support, the vigilance of which was clear yesterday, the Republican party makes their lives worse, but because they feel so disaffected they continue to vote for them anyway.

We have to do something about this. What Frank calls the "backlash" is powerful indeed, but it can be overcome if we figure out what drives someone to give up their life for a cause that will have little to no effect on their daily lives. Only then will it be possible for Democrats to win elections.

It's also such a bummer to read national liberals in blue states accusing us of being backwards and illiterate. I'm sick of reading about how entrenched I am in the Bible Belt. That's just not how life is here in southern Orange, and I get sick of the stereotypes people are willing to believe.

Ultimately, the precentage that Bush won by in NC is only a few more than what he lost by in some blue states--yet we're automatically all Bible thumpers and they're automatically all enformed citizens. Gag.

I think it's a real shame and a sign of our lose of values that less than 1/3 of the 80,000+ people downtown for Halloween weren't in costume!

I demand that our local officals enforce the spirit of Halloween! Gawkers are freeloaders at best and criminals, according to our police, at worst.

[we are talking the day after Halloween, aren't we?]

People increasingly are showing up to the annual Halloween bash without a costume.

This year, about two-thirds of the crowd fit that description, Jarvies said.

The armed robbery suspects were not in costume, nor was the person arrested for carrying a concealed handgun.

"It's almost like if you're in a costume, you're there to have a good time and not to get involved with negative situations," Jarvies said.

I have two, no three, comments.

First, I was in the half of the democrats
that voted for Kerry not because I was
enamored by him, but rather because I
think the methods of Bush are a
disaster. I remember a Kerry party
at Laurin's home a few months ago
to which Kerry made a
30-minute conference phone call. It was
all negative against Bush.
But negative anger is not
enough to win an election -- there must
be a positive leader with vision, and the Dems did not put one up against Bush.

Second, the growth of faith-based
decisions is not new. Mark Chilton
will remember in the 1990s when all
the churches came to the town for
special use permits to build new,
quite large, churches. Formal religion
grew like crazy and we now see some
of these results, good and bad.

The time of dogma, such
as "The earth is the center of the
universe and the sun revolves around
the earth and it is so because I say it
is and I'm the pope" ended 400 years
ago. Some of it seems to be coming
back. I hope that Bush or Cheney doesn't
have a relative who contracts a disease
for which stem cell research could
present a cure.

I want a president who is smarter
than I am....................

Christian, I don't hate anyone. I love you guys on this site. If folks like you did not exist, folks like me would have nothing to blog about. Tonight y'all gave me plenty!

Read about how electronic voting didn't go so smoothly:
(Check out especially the "rundown of problems" link there.)

Or about how the machine company's CEO vowed to get Ohio for Bush, and refused to allow public scrutiny of his software:

Especially with the A.P. story mentioned above, call me skeptical about these machines.

On eVoting. I have a little on that in my blog
eVoting can be done right as it is an Australia for example but just now it's done wrongly in the USA. Jeff mentions and links to the Diebold CEO story above. The story is even on the Diebold company site! (link on my blog).

Oh Todd, Did you get those protest photos from here?:

Seems funny how the same pictures can provoke such different captions. Care to talk?

What have an argument when you can solve a problem?

After reading how the Australian system works, I find it even more distressing that states in the US permitted these private companies with conservative agendas to run the elections. I will never consider a system valid that doesn't provide a paper trail and is run by private interests who are able to avoid public scrutiny by claiming trade secrets. Our elections are too important to leave up to privatization.

Even if there were problems with polling, the fact that the numbers were so much in favor of Kerry in some places where he lost, I will forever think the Republicans stole another election.

Another reference for those concerned about vote counting:

The Ultimate Felony Against Democracy

I originally posted about eVoting because I think open technology means no question about who wins. Now only a few days later the dark side of closed systems is being brought to light.
I don't know about the folks at commondreams but I do know that the folks at WISH-TV in Indianapolis and the folks in New Bern, NC have done a good and fair start on showing the problems that occured in their areas.

More on my blog (hate to do that ;->)

Follow the Australian lead and remove all doubt!

And the CEO of Diebold is the least of the problems with the systems. Look at the former CEO of his bigger competitor -- Senator Hagel who is considering a run for President.

Amazingly I agree with you, Jack. But it doesn't change the fact that Republicans cheat like hell and display no visible scruples about it. So much for "values!"

Nobody tell Ellie that Jack reads Slate.

The folks at Slashdot have a discussion and reports from Johns Hopkins Computer Science professor Avi Rubin, who has posted his experience as an election judge on his website

Slashdot story and discussion:

Avi's report:

Avi's report was written while the outcome of the election was still very much up in the air.

My own concern is for fair open and auditable voting. eVoting can be done that way, but for now in the USA it's not. That should be changed.

Some of you may be interested in this re-visualization of (national) election data. There are some very interesting maps here that show the dispersion of Republican/Democratic votes using different statistical techniques. (This is not the purple states maps some may have seen.)


There's something about the purple maps that are confusing to me. Maybe I'm missing something.

Does the purple represent only counties where a slim majority voted Republican? If so, it seems there should be a fourth color representing counties where Kerry won by a slim majority (probably not that many).

Also, where's Hawaii and Alaska? The affect of these two states may be minimal, but they should be included.

Donna-- These maps are looking at the distribution of votes rather than at winners. The news media have presented all the elections as either red/blue--a candidate either wins or loses. That's why the Repubs can claim a mandate, because the average person looks at the red/blue map and sees the majority of the country is red. But the distribution of the population and the fact that all votes should count, call for a different statistical analysis. The country is split. Nuance matters.

I imagine Hawaii and Alaska are omitted the graphics program couldn't accommodate non-contiguous areas.


I understand that the maps are looking at the distribution of votes. I understand that the cartograms show that the country was more or less evenly split.

The purple area represents percentages of voters. What does that mean? The authors say that the red is skewed because their are a lot of counties where a slim majority voted Republican.

My question is: Couldn't the counties where a slim majority voted Democratic also be skewed? What exactly does the purple areas represent? To me, the authors aren't clear about this. They also need to explain what a slim majority is (2,5, 10%?) and how they came up with it.

I'm not trying to start anything. I'm always wary of statistics that are manipulated to a satisfying result, whether they are red or blue.

I know someone who has a MS in statistics. He didn't go to Princeton, but perhaps he can help me sort this out.

"The authors say that the red is skewed because their are a lot of counties where a slim majority voted Republican." This comment is in reference to the red/blue cartogram. The map with the purple is proposed as a better solution. If you look closely, there are shades of purple: the red purples are majority Repub areas and the blue purples are majority Dem areas. I've read the supporting documents for this article and the methodology and the statistics seem sound to me.

OK. I get it now. Thanks for the clarification.

If misery loves company, I'm feeling right at home. Most of us seem to be shuddering at the spectre of the next 4 years-BUT unless we remain focused on the nat'l picture, we have a bigger problem facing us. The 2010 census will again re-apportion congressional seats, equallinga re-apportionment of each state's electoral college votes. I am not holding my breath in anticipation of ridding ourselves of the insanity of the electoral college. With population trends going the way they are, you can bet that the "red states" will pick up votes that the "blue states" lose, thereby doubling the spread.

Are my eyes deceiving me? I just checked the state BOE for election results and as of today at 5:00 pm, Erskine Bowles is leading the Senate race.

At 6:30 the vote count was updated again and Bowles went from 1,771,000 votes to 1,620,000. Burr's totals hasn't really changed. If the counties are still submitting counts, how can a candidates total votes decrease?

Terri, my guess is that it's an evil Republican plot... or has something to do with the voting machine errors in some counties. Here's some info copied from (unabashedly left)

In Craven County, North Carolina, a software error on the electronic voting machines awarded Bush 11,283 extra votes. "The Elections Systems and Software equipment," according to this report, "had downloaded voting information from nine of the county's 26 precincts and as the absentee ballots were added, the precinct totals were added a second time. An override, like those occurring when one attempts to save a computer file that already exists, is supposed to prevent double counting, but did not function correctly."

In Carteret County, North Carolina, "More than 4,500 votes may be lost in one North Carolina county because officials believed a computer that stored ballots electronically could hold more data than it did. Local officials said UniLect Corp., the maker of the county's electronic voting system, told them that each storage unit could handle 10,500 votes, but the limit was actually 3,005 votes. Officials said 3,005 early votes were stored, but 4,530 were lost."
I've wondered what would happen if a candidate was shown to win after s/he conceded...

That's my assumption too Joan! :) Here's a complete list of all the reported voting irregularities in NC:

Maybe I read too many mysteries, but I still think it's odd that at 5:30 today Bowles was up by 30,000+ votes and 45 minutes later he was down by 100,000. It looks like the BOE is updating their numbers every 30 minutes. Except for that brief period, nothing much has changed on the senate race.

Comment on Martin's 11/3 posting -


You promote Thomas Frank's book, "What's the Matter With Kansas?" I'm neither a conservative nor a Republican, but by sighting Frank's book, you may be illustrating the problem contributing to this country's divide with the Democratic Party. A recent column in US News included the following advice to Democrats:

"The other thing the Democrats might do is to acquire a copy of Thomas Frank's book "What's the Matter With Kansas?" and then IGNORE everything he says. Frank seems to be saying that voters are ignorant to vote on social issues"... Frank has no understanding of why cultural issues are important to so Many Americans. The fact is that the Democrats are unlikely to win the presidency again until they do something about the cultural divide."

Not my comments, but someone else's views which counter your thought that Frank has the answer in his writings.

In case you haven't heard, the Green's candidate, Mr. Cobb, is asking for a formal recount in Ohio. This will make sure that there's an accurate count of the regularly cast ballots and the absentee ballots. Additionally, it's expected that a more fair and rigorous count of the extent provisional ballots will be performed. Finally, the nearly 100,000 'spoiled' ballots (cast primarily in 'suppressed' Kerry-supporting precincts), will be assessed for the first time.

Sure, this might not change the outcome of the vote one way or the other, but it will ensure that Edward's Nov. 2nd night promise of "every vote counted, every vote counts" will be fulfilled.

The Cobb campaign needs $10 per precinct and there's 11,000 precincts in Ohio. Funds are being raised here for the effort.

Thanks for posting that Will. I donated to cover the cost for a couple of precincts. Who here couldn't spare at least ten dollars to know the truth?

Here's a more direct link to this cause:

Christian Stallberg, who founded the local Computer Professional for Social Responsibility chapter, sends this announcement:

Is Your Vote Counted?
Panel Presentation and Community Speak-Out on the Question of Voter
Wednesday, December 8, 2004 7-9pm
Chapel Hill Town Hall, 306 North Columbia St.

Introduction by Joyce McCloy, Founder, NC Coalition for Verified Voting

David Price, US Congressman: 4th District

David Allen, Systems Engineer, publisher and tech consultant "Black Box Voting:
Ballot Tampering in the 21st Century"

Justin Moore, Computer Scientist, member National Committee for Voting Integrity

Lewis Pitts, Legal Aid Attorney, Advocates for Children's Services

Moderator, Christian Stalberg, founder, RTP Chapter of Computer
Professionals for Social Responsibility

(downloadable flier for printing available at


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