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November 22, 2000     The Arlington Times
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November 22, 2000

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November 22, 2000 OPINION The Arlington Times/The Man/sville Globe or- B3 On the Left by Robert Scheer enjoy the ride, democracy is OK On the Right by William F. BuckleyJr. Unmarried women behind the crisis George W. Bush spokesman James Baker III termed the fight over the Florida vote recount "a black mark on ORr democracy," he couldn't 'have been ~. At the time he said it on Sunday, Bush Florida by a mere 288 votes, and of recount, required by Florida law, is federal judge Anyway, since tumult and a bad mix? Never t history has the dis- so many fright- and of con- What's wrong with a bit of electoral chaos and rancor? with a bit and rancor? debate over is just the this cmmtrv be outraged if their votes were -- the Founding Fathers fought lectured the world about the impor- and we cannot get away e inlperfections of our own system. as to require international .~ investigation under U.N. controversial enough to fully An election that once threatened has turned into a is now more interesting than reali- Indeed, it is reality- F. Kennedy eked out a suspi- M. Nixon in 1960 has so caught up the electoral process. People realize we had an electoral college on it. But instead of celebrating an are finally excited about, dri- for this and futur~ genera- Vote counts, the pundits are beside despair. They love every moment of bosure for themselves, while of the danger to our system. Their What is being demonstrated is Works: Recounts, court challenges, are a healthy response to an call. hold out two depressing the people will lose faith l~rocess and the other that whoever wins the election will be weakened for lack of a mandate. As to the former, the electoral process has never seemed more vital; some who voted for Ralph Nader may be second-guessing their choices, and states such as Florida and Oregon with primi- tive voting systems will no doubt come into the modern age. But apathy has been routed, and next time around, the presi- dential vote count will be the highest ever. True, the candidate who finally wins will be weakened. He should be. An election this close hardly provides the win- ner with a compelling mandate, particularly if it is Bush, who may win the Electoral College majority while A1 Gore is declared the winner of the popular vote. If that turns out to be the case, Bush ought to tread with caution. Compromise is good when not only the presi- dent is without a mandate but so, too, the House and the Senate because of their razor-thin out- comes. The country has come through eight incred- ibly prosperous and relatively peaceful years, so why the rush to march down some new uncharted course? Later for privatizing Social Security, a huge tax cut for the super-rich and a $160-billion missile defense system - three mad components of the core Republican program. As for the Democrats, with or without Gore as president, it will be the season for nothing more ambitious than damage control. With Gore, the main weapon of reason would not be bold new programs that Congress would ignore, but rather the threat of a veto to stop Republican mischief. Without Gore, the responsibility will fall on the Democratic minority in both branches of Congress to engage in a principled holding action preparing for a congressional majority in 2002. ..... Odds are,tjaat Bush will be the president pre- siding over a nation that, by a clear margin in the popular vote, rejected him for Gore. If Bush wins the office, his challenge will be to prove that the moderate face he presented during the election is truly his. If it isn't, and he attempts to be a hero to the right wing of his party, he will wreck the GOP. Clearly, future political power resides with the vibrant big cities and modern suburbs, the sophis- ticated hot spots of the new economy, which went for Gore, and not the backwater rural outposts that turned out to be Bush country largely because men remain obsessed with their guns. have heard of pure scientists? They are the originators of such pure thoughts that eventuate, a generation later, into such lifesaving practical products as atom bombs and lightbulbs and penicillin. The counter- parts of pure scientists are those journalists whose deadline comes in after the finding of the circuit court judge's ruling that the Florida secretary of state acted reasonably in declaring closed the ~,ote counting, but before the Florida Supreme Court affirms or overturns that decision. What do we do? The tocsin sounds for women brave hearts, for the pure political analysts to resume meditation over the demographic voter breakdown of Election Day, Nov. 7. The focus today is on unmarried women. They voted for Gore overwhelmingly (63 percent to 32 percent). The vote by married women was virtually tied (Gore 48, Bush 49). Now the great polarization didn't happen overnight. Four years ago, Clinton got 62 percent of the unmarried women to 28 percent for Dole. The quick assumption that unmarried women were scared to death on election Tuesday by the high- pitched Gore predictions that a Bush victory would mean destitution at Social Security time doesn't stand up, unless we pure analysts are willing to say that the fear of dispossession began four years ago and stayed there to frighten unmarried women. The drama, as you will have surmised, goes back to antecedent quadrennials. In 1992, Clinton vs. President Bush came in 53 percent to 31 per- cent. Perot got 15 percent. We can't know for sure from whom he took those votes, but if we apply them proportionately, we see that the unmarried women had already swung to the Democratic can- didate. And so we move back, this time by two presi- dential elections. In 1984, the vote was virtually tied: 49 percent for Reagan, 50 for Mondale. And in 1,988, the slippage had begun: 42 for Vice President Bush, 57 for Gov. Dukakis. What is going on? Several contributing factors are volunteered. The first is that the GOP is associated with the right to life, and single women are most covetous of the dominion over reproductive rights, as the right to abort is most generally referred to. The was tied. assumption here is that married women care less about choice, but this isn't manifestly so: The mar- ried woman who finds herself pregnant and already has other children to raise will often opt for an abortion, and this group makes up about one-third of abortions performed. Where then do we look for this near 2-to-1 disparity in the current vote of unmarried women? The figures reveal that 90 percent of black Americans They voted for Gore voted for Gore. The mere application of that advantage overwhelmingly. The contributes to the unmarried- women Democratic figure. But vote h..1 married blacks are only 10 percent of the voters, which means that 90 percent of the plurality has to be otherwise accounted for. Then ask: Isn't it possible that unmarried women find themselves, in the absence of a husband, relying on some- body else to help with the usual social anxieties? Health care and Social Security predominantly, but also, for a considerable number, education? Single mothers procreate a great many children, and these need to be educated. The impression given by modern Democrats is that it is they who hold out a hand to aid the dis- advantaged at every level: somebody there at the hospital at time of birth, somebody at the school- house to teach the kids, somebody to give them drugs as required, somebody to look after her in her old age. What's his name? Not Daddy. It's Uncle Sam. Does this reasoning apply to widows? They are "unmarried women." But it is likelier that they will have been provided for by their dead hus- bands, and trained to rely less on government than on personal resources. The GOP can't reasonably be expected to pro- mote a campaign to get husbands for unmarried women. But short of that, Republicans have to come up with something. It isn't as easy as to reverse its position on abortion: Reagan did just fine simultaneously (a) opposing abortion, and (b) attracting the backing of unmarried women. At the least, future Republican strategists could openly address the question. They try to appeal to Jewish voters by cosseting Israel, to Catholic voters by church/state rescue missions, blacks by civil-rights militancy, Hispanics by social hospitality. The unmarried woman can selectively be singled out for attention at least to the point of acknowledging that she exists, and ought to adopt the GOP for her otherwise childless household. ,ll i j , L MORE FUZZY MATH Monday. Nov. 27 1 p.m. Movie: "Clear and PIr sent Danger" Harrison Ford Wednesday. Nov. 22 2p.m. A variety of music with Gary Lee Hood 4> Wednesday. Nov. 29 :: .: 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. : : ii::, MARYSVILLE GREATEST COOKIE CONTEST Grand Prize and Division winners. Rules and entry form available at the center. Everyone welcome to come and cheer the winners and taste the resultsl 4~i 9:00~5:00 Pinochle 7 ;i!~i:iiii i ~:1%//:!i /