Beyond the Supreme Court: 6 Ways Al Gore Can Still Become the 43rd President
by Bob Fertik
On December 12, the Supreme Court delivered a mortal blow to our Democracy. Even though American elections have been decided by hand counts since the very beginning of our Nation, the Supreme Court ruled for the first time that hand counts violated our Constitution.
Of course, this decision was absurd on its face. It only discredited the narrow Republican majority of the Supreme Court, which violated its two sacred conservative principles – original intent and federalism – to reach its illegitimate decision.
But even as the media pressures Gore to yield to this travesty of justice, Al Gore can still legitimately become the 43rd President, consistent with the will of the majority of Americans – and Floridians – who voted on Election Day.
There are at least 6 ways that Al Gore could become President.
1. George Bush can concede for the good of the nation. There has been tremendous pressure on Al Gore to concede, despite his winning the popular vote by over 337,000 votes. But what about George W. Bush? It is bad enough that Bush intends to assume the Presidency despite losing the popular vote. But it is immoral that Bush should claim a narrow victory in the Electoral College on the basis of a sorely disputed victory in Florida. The moral weight of the nation should fall upon George W. Bush to gracefully concede the election to the candidate with the stronger moral claim to victory, namely Al Gore.
2. Al Gore can still win Florida. Remember Seminole and Martin Counties? Yes, the Democrats lost in the Florida courts. But the plaintiffs can bring the suit all the way to the Supreme Court using an even stronger equal protection amendment claim than Bush used in Bush v. Gore. But this time, Al Gore should add his voice to the lawsuit, rather than watching from the sidelines.
3. The 32 Electors from Texas can be disqualified. Remember the 12th Amendment challenges to the 32 Electors from Texas? Lower courts have ruled that Dick Cheney became an "inhabitant" of Wyoming simply by dropping in for a day to get a voter registration card. But this case is on appeal to the Supreme Court, and it only takes four Justices to agree to hear the case – Breyer, Ginsburg, Souter, and Stevens. Once again, Al Gore should join this case, rather than stand aside.
4. A Democratic state legislature can nullify Florida. Remember the Special Session of the Florida Legislature to choose Electors? The Republicans rounded up numerous Constitutional scholars to argue that it was perfectly legal for state legislatures to override the will of the voters of their state. Well, Democrats can play that game too. Democrats control the legislatures of eight states that voted for Bush: Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, Tennessee, and West Virginia. If any ONE of these states switches its electors to Gore, then Gore wins – regardless of Florida and the Supreme Court. We have started a petition to these legislators at http://www.petitiononline.com/ddc11/petition.html
5. Three Republican Electors can switch to Gore. The Electoral College is comprised of people, not machines. These people have consciences. In the majority of states, Electors are not bound by law to vote for the candidate to whom they were pledged. If there was a groundswell of opinion against a stolen election, it is not impossible to imagine 3 Republican electors (out of 271) doing the right thing. There is even a website to help lobby Electors at VoteWithAmerica.com
6. Republican Members of Congress can switch parties, or simply vote with the Democrats to refuse to count Florida's 25 Electors. During the impeachment, a number of Republicans in Congress refused to go along with Tom DeLay and Trent Lott. In the House, seven Republicans voted against two of the three counts: Michael Castle (DE), Phil English (PA-21), Amo Houghton (NY-31), Peter King (NY-3), Connie Morella (MD-8), Chris Shays (CT-4), and Mark Souder (IN-4). If five of the seven switch, the Democrats would control the House. In the Senate, five Republicans voted against both counts: John Chafee (RI – recently replaced by his son, Lincoln), Susan Collins (ME), Jim Jeffords (VT), Olympia Snowe (ME), and Arlen Specter (PA). It would take only one switch to give Democrats control of the Senate.
Al Gore has been the underdog from the beginning of the campaign. But he fought back from a 20-point deficit with determination and honor. Gore should continue fighting until he wins - not for himself, but for the good of the Nation and our now-endangered democracy.