A crazy British plot to help Kerry.

Who's winning, who's losing, and why.
Nov. 4 2004 8:04 PM

"Dear Limey Assholes ..."

A crazy British plot to swing Ohio to Kerry—and how it backfired.

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Consider this: stay out of American electoral politics. Unless you would like a company of US Navy Seals—Republican to a man—to descend upon the offices of the Guardian, bag the lot of you, and transport you to Guantanamo Bay, where you can share quarters with some lonely Taliban shepherd boys.

One said simply: "Please be advised that I have forwarded this to the CIA and FBI."

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Even the director of Clark County's board of elections got into the debate. She was widely quoted as saying: "The American Revolution was fought for a reason."

The Guardian editor responsible for the project, Ian Katz, finally wrote a piece on Oct. 21 crying uncle. He noted, among other things, that the paper had decided not to send the winners of the letter-writing contest to Clark County during election week, because it "would be bound to prolong the media brouhaha." (The Guardian did not exactly endear itself to Americans after it canceled Operation Clark County, either. Click here for its other deft election stunt.

Katz also said he knew all along that the letter-writing project could backfire. So, did it? Almost certainly, yes. In 2000, Al Gore won Clark County by 324 votes. And since Ralph Nader received 1,347 votes, we can assume Gore's margin would have been larger without Nader on the ballot. On Tuesday George Bush won Clark County by 1,620 votes.

The most significant stat here is how Clark County compares to the other 15 Ohio counties won by Gore in 2000. Kerry won every Gore county in Ohio except Clark. He even increased Gore's winning margin in 12 of the 16. Nowhere among the Gore counties did more votes move from the blue to the red column than in Clark. The Guardian's Katz was quoted as saying it would be "self-aggrandizing" to claim Operation Clark County affected the election. Don't be so modest, Ian.