A Double Standard?

Posted By Elgin Hushbeck

Chelan County Judge Rules Legal Challenge of Governor’s Election Can Move Forward. (Article here)

Despite the evidence of voter fraud in Washington State, I do not support dragging it out the situation in any further.  

As I have written before, the Democrats have shown quite a contrast with Republicans in this area. (Democrats Challenge Election of Bush ) As such I would hate to see the Republicans adopt the Democratic strategy. Still there is a difference.  In the cases I cited, the Republicans accepted the initial vote, even despite strong evidence of significant voter fraud so as to avoid a long dragged out process. In Washington the Democrats faced with close loss didn’t. They sought to drag it out as long as it takes to win. In Washington State the Republicans won the initial vote, they won the earlier recounts. It took a less reliable hand count, with special counting rules in heavily Democratic districts that were not applied to other districts to allow the Democrat to get a majority.

This is one of the problems, Republicans generally tend to play by the rules. Democrats put their ideology and wining ahead of the rules. Thus if the law gets in the way of what they want, the law is unfair or wrong, and they can usually find a Liberal Judge to set the law aside for them, as they did with Torricelli in New Jersey, and tried to do in Florida four years ago.

In this case it is not a double standard to say that politicians should accept the initial vote with perhaps one recount, and should not enter in to long unending recounts and challenges, on the one hand, yet support continuing a contest once the other side has already started it. This is because there is a higher principle, i.e., that both sides play by the same rules.

Still, while not a double standard, there is a problem and it is the reason that I do not support continuing the process in Washington, for if Republicans begin to play by the same rules as the democrats then we really would have problems. Every close election would be dragged into court for months, with very serious consequences for democracy. This by the way was one of the reasons, both parties enacted laws limiting recounts, placing time limits, etc, which Democrats have recently sought to overturn or get around in the courts, in the name of “Every vote must be counted” or just plain winning.

But in any event Washington State is a good example of the problems with such long and contested procedures, and demonstrates the wisdom of politicians like Nixon, Thune and Ashcroft. Once started, these contested elections just go back and forth with the democratic process being the real looser.  It would be far more productive to focus on the problems with voting that allowed fraud in the first place and to seek reforms to the process that will prevent them in the future.

Some reading on the problems of the Roman Republic and what caused its downfall into dictatorship is instructive here. . It was a long process taking about 100 years from the Gracchi brothers to Julius Caesar. But one of the problems was the win at all cost, and to hell with the rules approach displayed by many Democrats today. A good place to start would be the recent book by Tom Holland “Rubicon” though its focus is mostly on the last 50 years of the Republic 


Feb 21st, 2005

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