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Finding the Margin of Victory

David Lytel

Judging from what Democrats on the Internet have been saying to one another in the last several days George W. Bush is the new Nixon. He is the man who should not be president. Worse, few of us can see why anyone – let alone millions of Americans – believe that he’s up to the job.

But Bush is in a better position in mid-October than any Republican presidential candidate in a dozen years. Why?

In the simplest terms it is because Bush has learned to mask Republican policy objectives behind gauzy, unspecific babble and get away with it. He is opposed to effective gun control, but will not say so. He is opposed to measures to address and correct environmental damage, but he will not say so. He is opposed to ensuring that homosexuals cannot be attacked and intimidated with impunity, but he will not say so. Downturns in the prospects of Texas oilmen provoke him to use taxpayer funds to protect them while poor children without healthcare are left to fend for themselves, but he will not say so.

And the news media dispatches truth squads to analyze whether or not Gore has stumbled on inconsequential details of anecdotes he uses to illustrate urgent public priorities that must be addressed. How can this be?

Richard Nixon was turned away from the presidency forty years ago by the slimmest of margins. Only a single vote difference in each of the nation’s voting machines would have changed the outcome. Like it or not, that is the margin we are likely to be dealing with this time as well.

It would be great if we could support Democratic candidates by spending a few more minutes a day behind our computers. But it is far more effective to turn the machine off and find our local party and candidate committees and spend a few evenings between now and the election making telephone calls. If you can take the day off, get a task from your local Democratic committee on election day so you can help get out the Democratic vote.

There are really only a few actions left we can take to make sure we do not have to suffer through George II’s on-the-job-training. Find your local Democratic committee and make some calls or knock on some doors. The people who need help being reminded to vote are not on the Internet, but they are out there in the world. And we need to find them.