Man Without Qualities

Tuesday, October 29, 2002

UPDATE: Does Jean Carnahan = Walter Mondale?

The astute folks at the Note report:

Thanks in part to GOP efforts and to some clearer thinking that this is NOT the same as the Carnahan situation, the mainstream press has ratcheted back from its "Coleman doesn't have a chance" CW of the first few days.

Now, most opinions have the race where we have always thought it should be, and where almost all of our sources agree it is: Mondale is somewhat favored to win, but who really knows?

"Mondale will bring more than a bulging resume to the race. He'll have Wellstone's legendary grassroots network of 15,000 volunteers, as well as an ideology that tacks close to the late senator's." LINK

"Clearer thinking" is it?

Actually, if the race is as close as the published polls suggest, it is hard to see how Mondale can win if the already-cast absentee Wellstone votes are simply to be discarded - which is what Minnesota law seems to require. Absentee voters can go to the polls on election day and cast a substitute ballot in person, which is the only sure solution that Minnesota officials have identified so far. But this procedure doesn't seem likely to make up the difference, or even a good part of it.

It is worth recalling that in Missouri in 2000, Mel Carnahan's name appeared on the ballot - not Jean Carnahan's. She was later appointed by the governor. So this absentee ballot issue did not create a problem for the Democrats in Missouri. This is yet another way in which it is not true that Mondale = Carnahan.

Also, Larry Sabato recalls: In mid-October 2000, Governor Mel Carnahan (D-MO) was killed in a plane crash during his close race for Senate with incumbent Republican John Ashcroft. Some pundits immediately declared Ashcroft elected, not understanding the intense wave of sympathy that would engulf the Show Me state.

Those pundits who declared Ashcroft elected were not stupid. The emotional confusion that descended on Missouri at that time was unusual. There is no reason to presume Minnesota will succumb to the same nonsense - although the Democrats are working hard to bring that about and it might work.

What else can they do? You can't blame a guy for trying.

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