Beware the Decided Voter!

Beware the Decided Voter!

Beware the Decided Voter!

Recent posts from our readers forum.
Oct. 26 2000 3:00 AM

Beware the Decided Voter!

Subject: Arafat—Risk Your Neck or Retire

Re:
" Assessment: Yasser Arafat"

From:
Daniel Simon

Date:
Oct 22  8:35 p.m. PT

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David Plotz writes, "Arafat doesn't know how to change the Palestine popular will: He only knows how to reflect it." Arafat has never even tried to change the Palestine popular will. He has done nothing to prepare his people for any compromise whatsoever, and, unlike Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak, has not publicly acknowledged the fact that the only alternative to compromise is endless violence. I am sure Arafat's deficiency in this area stems at least in part from the death threats he would be sure to face. But if he is afraid of death, then he's in the wrong job. Israeli and Egyptian leaders died for peace, and Barak certainly faces threats on his life from Israeli extremists who also apparently would choose endless violence over a compromise that might lead to a resolution of the conflict.

If Arafat values his life more than a serious commitment to negotiations that might bring a lasting if uneasy peace, then he should never have entered into peace talks in the first place. As long as he continues to maintain his inconsistent position of peace without compromise, the cycle of violence will continue and the Palestinians will continue to suffer. Arafat needs to fish or cut bait; and if he's not willing to make the choice, then he should step aside for someone who will.

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Subject: No Fundamental Election Debate—As It Should Be



Re:
" Readme: A Fundamental Debate? 'Fraid Not"



From:
Douglas R. Hughes



Date:
Oct 17  4:14 a.m. PT

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The reality is that the so-called fundamental debate Michael Kinsley finds lacking in the election happens every day in smaller ways. All across America people choose not to become Amish, move to vegan communes, or join racist militia groups—i.e., remove themselves from American society. The fundamental debate happens when all Americans happily take part in the current form of government. No mass exodus to Canada or the Norse countries for their (supposedly) wonderful health care.

To decry a lack of fundamental debate misses the point (and seems a bit haughty to me). America has voted with their feet—as well as with their magazine purchases, TV-watching habits, and ambitions—to contain the scope of argument in the current election to a very small arena. Within that arena, Messrs. Bush and Gore are on opposite sides, but yes, it is a small arena, as it should be.

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Subject: States' Rights Aren't Passé



Re:
" Hey, Wait a Minute: Dead President-Elect"



From:
Deepak Malhotra



Date:
Oct 23  2:55 p.m. PT

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Akhil Reed Amar suggests that the possibility of a candidate losing the popular vote but winning the majority of electoral votes is in some way a flaw in our current system. "When [this] does [happen]," Amar writes, "will the loser/winner [of the presidency] have the requisite democratic legitimacy at home and abroad? If not, why are we waiting for this tire to blow rather than acting, via constitutional amendment, to fix the system before it crashes?"

Wait a minute. The rule that electoral votes determine the presidency exists because the Framers wanted to balance the needs of the individual with the needs of each state. If Amar suggests a change in the election of the president—that it should be based on popular votes—then he should be equally willing to make Senate representation proportional to population. It is likely that there would be a lot of opposition to this idea by those concerned with states' rights. Such opposition seems reasonable.

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Subject: Decided Voters Are Party Hacks



Re:
" Chatterbox: The Witless Undecided Voter"



From:
C. Rome



Date:
Oct 18  9:25 a.m. PT

The task of the voter is not to make the pollster/pundit's job easy—it is to vote and elect people to representative office. There is no undecided voter: only those that vote and those that do not vote. What matters is the final vote count and how it affects the Electoral College computations.

And given the candidate choices this campaign I would not publicly boast that I had speedily and eagerly decided my vote. Someone might get the impression that this kind of person was perhaps a party man or impatient with others that did not think and act exactly as he did.

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