Man Without Qualities

Tuesday, October 19, 2004

The Case For Waiver?

It is no secret that since 2000 some Democrats have overtly argued, and some senior Democrats have implied, that President Bush is somehow an "illegitimate" President because he received a smaller share of the popular vote than did Al Gore. Mr. Gore's popular vote harvest has also been used as the basis of serious arguments that members of the Electoral College should have voted for him notwithstanding the state-by-state numbers (although Mr. Gore personally repudiated that particular argument). Other Gore partisans argued or suggested that a candidate garnering a smaller share of the popular vote is morally - if not legally - "illegitimate."

Now the Washington Post reports that in 2004, in the view of its analyst, there is a substantial chance that John Kerry may receive a majority of the Electoral College vote but a smaller share of the popular vote than George Bush:

The Post tracking poll shows Bush leading Kerry 50 to 47 percent. Independent Ralph Nader continues to barely register nationally, getting 2 percent of the hypothetical vote. But the survey suggests that Kerry continues to claim a large lead in key battleground states. In these 13 states, Kerry held a 53 percent to 43 percent advantage among likely voters.

Last night, former White House Counsel Jack Quinn appeared on Fox News advancing the same argument and possibility. This possibility raises a question:

Is Senator Kerry going to declare that if he loses the popular vote but wins an Electoral College majority, that he will waive his right to assume the presidency in favor of Mr. Bush?

Isn't such a declaration and result a simple corollary of the past four years of Democratic whining? If Senator Kerry won't make such a declaration, shouldn't all the Democrats who have done the whining insist that he do so?

Don't hold your breath.

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