The infamous butterfly ballot

  • from the Sun-Sentinel
  • The infamous butterfly ballot

2000: I went to bed thinking Gore had lost, woke up and nobody knew, and then it wound up in the courts. That was a nasty election. It wasn’t just that Gore won the popular vote and Bush won the White House. It was that everyone with half a mind—Republicans included—knew Gore should have carried Florida too and didn’t only because of a half-assed ballot design in Palm Beach County. It’s possible to be magnanimous in victory and the same in defeat, but being handed a prize you don’t deserve brings out the worst in just about everybody. We’re still suffering from 2000.

1988: Michael Dukakis, a death penalty opponent, is asked in a debate, “Governor, if Kitty Dukakis were raped and murdered, would you favor an irrevocable death penalty for the killer?” Dukakis replies, “No, I don’t . . .” and explains why with all the ardor of a tailor reciting suit sizes. His campaign crashes and burns. It was a completely fair unfair question. What would have been wrong with an answer that began “I would want to kill him myself, slowly, over hot coals . . . . But I don’t want this to be a country where justice is the same as vengeance”? Any question is fair that reveals a candidate lacks a presidential range of emotions.