The Plank

Who's Changing Their Standards?

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National Review editor Rich Lowry has an absurd column today arguing that Democrats have abandoned their "count every vote" principles over the Florida Democratic primary. Lowry argues:

Back in 2000, Democrats were contemptuous of rules and technicalities about how ballots had to be marked and the process for recounts. All that mattered was the popular will. And the biggest ultimate obstacle to it was the Electoral College, which kept Al Gore from the White House in this “stolen election.”

Well, the Democrats’ attachment to the unadulterated popular will has gone the way of the hanging chad. Suddenly, Democrats are sticklers for rules.

This is silly. No serious person was claiming in 2000 that Al Gore should be given the presidency solely because he won the popular vote. The argument was that he really won the electoral college vote, and that a proper hand-counting of Florida's ballots -- which was allowed by Florida law -- would at least potentially produce that outcome. Gore's popular vote win gave his cause some added moral weight, but nobody would have argued that he should have been made president if he had lost Florida by 100,000 votes.

--Jonathan Chait

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