The Truth About the Election of 2004

At this rate, we’ll never know who didn’t win the election of 2004. The theories about why the vote came out the way it did, or didn’t, and the way it couldn’t have come out the way it did or did not, in fact, come out (if it came out at all), have gotten so confusing that John Kerry might just as well capitulate immediately and go home as wait to see who really won the election. Oh right, I forgot. But let us examine the facts in the case and see if we can cut through the loose ends this Gordian knot of tangled skeins and tie the thing up in a neat bow.

First, we have the big picture. This is the best place to start, unless you prefer the small picture first, but someone has to set the rules (also, Double Nelsons are forbidden in women’s wrestling). The situation is this: in the 2004 presidential election there were two major candidates, plus George Bush. Bush won the popular vote, and the electoral vote is his, too, unless somebody gets really nutty down at the college where they do their electing. Pretty good for only his second try.

But before the election, there was a lot of concern (among everyone except Democratic party officials) that the Republican-owned electronic voting machines might turn out to be untrustworthy. Most of these machines dispensed no physical receipt to indicate in what manner the individual vote had been recorded. Republican voting machine executives explained that the technology just wasn’t feasible-after all, paper receipts had been tried on ATM machines, and failed. So many folks went into the election worried that they weren’t going to win, even if they won. The other, different pre-election concern was that John Kerry spent the vital summer campaign months standing behind a tree with his hands over his eyes, counting to 100. Only late in October did he holler “ready or not, here I come”, by which time everybody was playing touch football and ignored his cries of “allez-allez aix-enfoiré” (he could never just say “ollie ollie oxen free” like us common folk).

Now we zero in on the events of November 2nd, 2004, when the voting occurred. The usual shenanigans pertained; ‘the black vote’ was once again oxymoronic, and every conceivable mechanism to suppress or distort the vote was employed nationwide. The Democrats just didn’t put their hearts into it, though, and so Republicans were able to quash, squash, bash, dash, and trash millions of votes in those sectors of the population least likely to choose their candidate (thinkers). Gash, too. I just thought of that. None of this vote-rigging behavior was especially novel, although it occurred on an unusually large scale. But it is surprising that Democratic officials weren’t somewhat more alert to the situation, given that the same thing happened four years earlier. But you know how it is with them. They just want to get spanked. Slash, too, and mash. Hash?

We see that things were looking a little rigged by November 2nd (known as ‘Nov. 2nd’ or ‘Fat Mildred’ to experts). Thus the Republican party diminished the natural Democratic majority even more than Kerry was able to. This increased the possibility that Bush could at least come in second, assuming Nader didn’t show too well in the Midwest. Exit polls suggested, early in the evening, that nature was taking its course and Bush would join his father in the pantheon of one-term wonders. But something happened in the wee hours: the exit polls all became wrong at once, and Bush rocketed ahead to a microscopic but detectable victory. Here’s where the small picture takes over, because nobody knows what really went on after that. Suffice it to say (and it doesn’t) that there were hundreds of thousands of individual glitches in the electronic voting systems that all swung the tallies in Bush’s favor. Hey, it could happen. A myriad of websites sprang up denouncing Bush’s magical good fortune, thus ensuring the Internet’s natural enemy, the Mass Media, would stand behind the ‘official’ results even if Santa Claus won (he got more votes than Nader, in fact).

So there we have it: the vote was not exactly stolen so much as it was fiddled. It’s probably too late to un-fiddle the outcome now, but if the Democrats can learn one lesson from the election of 2004, it is that now would be a good time to start un-fiddling the outcome of the election of 2008.

BEN TRIPP can be reached at

His book, ‘Square In The Nuts’, has been held up at the printers by thugs but will be released as soon as hostage negotiations conclude.

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