When a “W” is not a “W”

James Roper, Michigan State University

Without a healthy public dialogue, democracy cannot reflect the will of the people. They may have the right to vote, but they will not be in a position to make informed choices. In our mass media culture, that healthy dialogue must be reflected in the electorate’s daily news and commentary. I suggest the crisis of confidence created by the Florida presidential vote was resolved in the minds of many voters by the Bush group’s use of an analogy between the presidential election and a sport or game. That analogy was offered repeatedly to the news media by Bush’s associates––especially James Baker, Bush’s primary spokesperson; and the media dutifully related it to the American people, who, it appears, either found it persuasive or could not envision an alternative way to conceptualize the matter.[1]

I want to make very clear, however, that the main thrust of this paper is not to prove definitively that the analogy between the election and a sport or game determined the outcome of the Florida election.[2]Although I believe that the analogy did play a major role in resolving the crisis, my arguments in this paper do not depend on this supposition. I propose to show that the public dialogue about the election, embodied in the media, described the Florida election crisis as analogous to a sport or game––specifically, the public dialogue suggested that the Florida election shared with modern sports their supposed fairness and the usual finality of any modern sporting contest. More important, I argue that this way of characterizing the matter misrepresents the fundamental character of the democratic institution of electing our president; and that this distortion leads the supposed “winner” of such a contest to assume power and authority that are not warranted by the process.

Shortly before the Supreme Court effectively declared George W. Bush president of the United States, and on many other occasions, Bush confidant James Baker said that you cannot change the rules of the game after it has been played.[3]As innocent as this remark sounds, it signaled a rhetorical strategy for framing the debate about the apparent irregularities in Florida’s presidential vote. That strategy drew an analogy between the presidential election and a sport or game. Baker and other Bush supporters told the media and the public that the election was like a game. They thereby implied that, just as games and sports are thought to embody the virtue of fairness, the analogical parallel between such activities and the election justified the claim that the election, too, was fair.[4]In addition, the analogy suggested that, just as sports and games generally have a clear beginning and end, which are typically discernable by examining when the event is scheduled to be played, so the Florida presidential election was completed when the polls closed and the ballots were initially tabulated.[5]Since Bush seemed to be ahead at that point, further wrangling was seen as sour grapes––the same sort of improper behavior as contesting the outcome of a sporting event after it has been played. After all, Baker and other Bush supporters intimated, a win is a win––or, as this familiar mantra is sometimes rephrased, a “W” is a “W”.[6]

Baker’s remark is not the only evidence that Bush supporters succeeded in framing the public debate about the election in terms of what I call the rhetoric of sports/games. Commentators spoke of Bush or Gore “winning”, rather than being elected, referred to the Gore or Bush “teams”, and suggested that people should not be “sore losers”.[7]Of special significance is the idea that Gore should not have tried to “win” the election by winning Florida, where Bush had the “home field advantage”. Analysts referred to Republicans and Democrats as if they were the “fans” of two football teams––overriding the established principle that a citizen’s most important obligation is to the truth and the integrity of the political process.[8]

Critics of my position will point out that even Gore supporters made use of the analogy between the election and a sport or game. They might contend that the rhetoric of sports/games was not a Bush strategy, as I maintain; but rather that it is a pervasive feature of our culture. After all, even Gore’s lawyers framed their arguments in these terms. During the court proceedings over whether there should be a manual recount, for example, Gore’s lawyers accused Bush’s attorneys of trying to “run out the clock”[9]; and in his argument before the U.S. Supreme Court, Gore attorney Lawrence Tribe told the Justices that what the Gore campaign was seeking was not a reversal of the [game’s] outcome but, rather, a sort of “instant replay” of the finish.[10]But these arguments came at the end of the process, just before Bush was declared president. I find no evidence that Gore and his allies introduced this way of describing the election; rather, I suggest Bush strategists’ success in framing the election as analogous to a game or sport created a media environment that scarcely recognized any other way of describing the Florida crisis. In a last ditch attempt to turn the tide of the debate, Gore’s people consciously used the sports/games rhetoric.

But suppose the critics are right, and the sports/games rhetoric was not introduced by Bush’s advisors. Suppose thinking in terms of sports and games is so pervasive in our culture that something like a presidential election is typically characterized in such terms. Even if this were true, Gore supporters could still have successfully argued their candidate’s position in terms of the analogy with sports and games. In short, even if we characterize the election as a sort of game or sport, Gore could still have shown that the Florida election was not “fair”, and that it was not “over”. Undoubtedly this is what Gore’s lawyers were trying to do when they spoke of “instant replays” and “running out the clock,” but there are much more persuasive ways to counter the Bush groups’ arguments, as represented in the mass media.

To show how Gore might have exposed the logic of the Bush camp’s implied analogical argument and might even have used this argumentative structure to derive conclusions that contradicted those suggested by Bush’s advisors, I examine the basic composition of the analogical argument that the Florida election was fair and complete in virtue of its close parallel with some kind of game or sport:[11]

  1. The Florida presidential election has p1, 2, … and n1, 2, ….
    2. Sports and games have p1, 2, … and n6, 7, ….
    3. Sports and games have p and q (fairness and finality). It follows that the Florida presidential election has p and q (fairness and finality).The first premise claims that the Florida presidential election has certain properties p1, 2, … and n1, 2, …. The second premise states that the analogical parallels, sports and games, also have the properties p1, 2, …; but have properties n6, 7, …, rather than n1, 2, …. Consistent with standard analyses of analogical arguments, we call “p1, 2, …” the positive analogy. It follows that “p1, 2, …”represent the characteristics that the Florida election shares with sports and games. Since no two things are completely alike, however, we also note the negative analogy, represented by “n1, 2, …”and “n6, 7, …”. These are properties that the election does not share with sports and games. Both the ratio between the positive and negative analogies and the relative importance of the characteristics they include are crucial to evaluating any analogical argument. Should the positive analogy encompass a number of particularly relevant properties and the negative analogy consist largely of characteristics that are marginally applicable, for example, we probably would consider the argument strong. Since there is clearly no contradiction in supposing the conclusion of such an argument to be the opposite of what is originally presented, marking the argument as “strong” signals inductive, rather than deductive, force. In short, certifying such an argument would mean that, if its premises should be true, its conclusion would probably be true as well.

I contend that the implicit analogy between the Florida presidential election and a sport or game breaks down, in spite of being widely appealed to in the national media. But the broad appeal of this analogy in the national dialogue suggests there must be a number of positive analogies that are at least superficially persuasive. What are some of these apparently shared characteristics? According to Thomas R. Dye et. al.’s popular introductory political science text, “[m]odern democracies are built around the machinery of free popular elections,” including our presidential election.[12]In the context of the Florida presidential election––the primary subject matter of the above (schematic) analogical argument––some of the relevant characteristics usually attributed to our presidential elections might be: (1) A goal––electing a president (and vice president); (2) Rules, specifically laws, that govern the election of the president; (3) Typically just two candidates who have a serious chance of being elected, given our “two-party system”; (4) Officialswho oversee the election to make sure that it proceeds in accordance with the rules (laws); (5) Containment in time and, to a certain extent, space, in the sense that the election takes place on a specific day and at specific “polling places” around the country; and (6) Free access, as stated in the above quotation, in the sense that people do not have to pay a fee to vote.

Most of these characteristics are apparently reflected in, for example, modern professional sports––the type of “sport or game” most often cited by the media when drawing the analogy. Sports have a goal––winning some sort of game. There are rules that are enforced by referees and other officials. The major professional sports, football, basketball, and baseball, all have two teams or players who compete to determine a victor. Moreover, these games take place at specific places, dates, and times. The last characteristic I mentioned above is more problematic. Major sports are certainly not free in the sense that there is no price for admission to the game; nor is it clear that they do not discriminate, at least on the basis of talent, in playing the game. So (1) through (5) might, prima facie, be thought part of the positive analogy between presidential elections and, for example, major sports; while (6) seems to be part of the negative analogy. There are deeper comparisons we can make between the presidential election and major sports, but these properties reflect the sorts of similarities many with an elementary knowledge of civics might find appealing; and they are, therefore, most relevant to our examination. To proceed with the analysis, I ask you to imagine these properties applied to the 2000 Florida presidential election.Prima facie, in the case of the Florida election, the positive analogy outweighs the negative analogy and the analogical argument to the conclusion that the Florida presidential election is fair and final (over) appears to be supported.

In light of our structural analysis, however, the central Bush analogical argument is severely weakened or refuted if the parallel between the Florida election and sports and games has been misinterpreted or misunderstood in some central and crucial way. I contend that this is exactly what happened when Bush officials implied we should treat the confusing Palm Beach County ballot, and the resulting claim that thousands were denied their right to vote, as if it were a “bad call” in a sporting event. The critical importance of the Palm Beach County dispute entails that Bush’s advisors had to maintain that the positive analogy between the election and a sport or game included a parallel between what happened in Palm Beach County and a questionable call in, say, a major league baseball game.[13]If this parallel broke down, it would throw serious doubt on the conclusion that the Florida vote was fair and that the electoral process was properly completed. If this parallel failed to hold, the idea that the election proceeded according to established rules, uniformly enforced, would also be cast into question; and a major aspect of the positive analogy––the dependence on uniform rules and laws governing the election––would be open to question, at least with regard to the Palm Beach County vote. This disanalogy would significantly weaken the analogical argument to the conclusion that the election was fair and complete. Disputed calls may decide a game, Bush advisors intimated; but, if the rules have been followed, serious people will “move on” and regard the matter finished. To continue to argue the point, perhaps in the courts, is akin to arguing with the referees after a game is over. Such behavior shows the same sort of sour grapes we attribute to others we label “sore losers”.[14]Unfortunately for an advocate of this approach, this analysis amounts to comparing apples and oranges; hence, the positive analogy between the Florida presidential vote and a sport or game does break down in a crucial way, as I argue below.

When the third game of the World Series was played at Candlestick Park, CA, in 1989, and the game could not proceed because of an earthquake, the game was rescheduled. What had happened was nota bad call; rather the playing field itself malfunctioned.[15]That is an apt  description of what happened in the Palm Beach County vote––assuming, for the sake of argument, that the sport/game analogy is appropriate. A confusing, arguably illegal, ballot apparently deprived many of their vote. It doesn’t matter that a Democrat had examined the ballot. That individual was, in effect, part of the broken playing field. Bush officials admitted as much when they urged that we “follow the rules”.[16]“The rules” were in doubt here, as they were at Candlestick Park, in 1989. That’s what happens when the playing field malfunctions. “The result” Bush officials said the analogy confirms to be fair is simply the Florida vote without reference to the approximately 19,000 Palm Beach County ballots (mostly “overvotes”[17]) that were thrown out and the roughly 3,400 that were awarded to Buchanan, who denied they were his. Bush officials countered that a large number of ballots were also thrown out in ’96. But the fact that the playing field also malfunctioned in ’96 doesn’t make it acceptable to overlook its malfunctioning this time, when it mattered. It follows that, even if we grant that there is a prima facie analogy between the Florida election and a sport or game, even if we grant the validity of this basic approach, the argument that the Florida election procedure was fair and complete breaks down because the relative strength of the positive analogy has been strongly overstated in light of the “broken playing field” analysis. The significance of the Palm Beach County result entailed Bush proponents could not allow this result to become an issue. This result, by itself, was sufficient to turn the outcome of the Florida vote in Gore’s direction. Only by maintaining the fiction of a sort of “bad call” in the Palm Beach result could Bush associates argue to the media, by analogy, that the election was fair and complete.

I think it is clear that Palm Beach County is much more like a broken playing field than a disputed decision by a referee. In short, someone who rejects this interpretation has the burden of proof. It follows that, even if we accept the general approach of regarding the election as analogous to a game or sport, the conclusion that it was fair and final does not follow because a critical part of the positive analogy has been misinterpreted. Only if the Palm Beach County vote were to be handled in a way consistent with what happened at Candlestick Park, in 1989, when the World Series game was rescheduled, would it make sense to conclude the election was fair and the electoral process complete.[18]Otherwise, the positive analogy breaks down, and there is no appropriate parallel in this centrally important respect. In this case, Bush’s only recourse is to assume what he is trying to prove––that the Palm Beach County result was akin to a bad call. Philosophers, of course, have a name for such behavior. We call it begging the question, or reasoning in a circle. Such behavior is like trying to fly by lifting your heels off the ground with your hands. It doesn’t work.

There is a second serious problem with comparing the election with sports and games in order to imbue it with fairness and finality. This is especially true if what we really have in mind are “big time” sporting events––professional football, major league baseball, etc. The problem here is that the fairness of these very games has been repeatedly questioned, and not only by “sore losers”. Here are some of the issues that bring into question the fairness of major sporting events: Forcing players to play even when they are injured, coaching violent techniques designed to injure or intimidate the opposition, taking steroids and other performance enhancing drugs, using equipment that fails to satisfy the rules of the sport in question, and the fact that players and coaches are known to gamble on games in which they participate or at least have a stake. Certainly not all professional sports figures are guilty of such behavior, but such things occur more frequently than most sports fans like to admit. Where large amounts of money are at stake, fairness is always going to require careful policing and regulation. There is nothing inherently fair about professional and big time college sports. To use an analogy with such activities to prove some other activity is fair, again, begs the question. Whether truly amateur sports (if there are any left) have such inherent fairness is open to question; but there is no question about professional athletics.

I have maintained that the analogical argument suggested by Bush advisors like James Baker fails even if we grant, for the sake of argument, the basic idea that the election may be analogous to games or (especially major) sports in certain respects. I contend, however, that the presidential election is not at all like a game; rather, it is one of our most important democratic institutions. As such, it has its own unique logic. We are so accustomed to thinking in terms of games and sports that it is hard for us not to think in these terms; but we must try. Traditionally, characteristics like fairness and finality are attributed to games by virtue of their clearly defined goals, which must typically be achieved within the constraints of very specific rules. Moreover, these games take place in front of audiences and officials who are able to enforce the rules in a more uniform way than is usual with social norms and laws, leading to very clear cut determinations of winners and losers. Those who seek to apply the game analogy to presidential elections argue that if a presidential election is like a sport or game––if it meets the minimal criteria of a sport or game––it possesses the same fairness and finality as games. Fairness and finality are the sport/game characteristics I have focused on in most of this paper, but there are others––especially characteristics associated with the outcome of a game: winning and losing. The problem is that applying these characteristics of sports and games to a presidential election distorts the democratic process, as the remainder of the paper illustrates.

The goal of the election is to elect the president––not to “win”. This implies the election is an occasion for citizens––all who care to participate––to cast their votes; and the purpose of the vote count is to determine, as accurately as we can, how many votes each candidate received. Fairness is not something we can import into the procedure by an ill-considered comparison with sports and games. Fairness in a democratic election is not about being even handed to the candidates; rather, it mandates justice for the electorate and the American people, who are, to use Baker’s words to a different purpose, “neither Republicans nor Democrats” but citizens of what was once considered the world’s greatest democracy.[19]This view is supported by the Dye et. al. claim that elections are free because we want to encourage maximum participation of the electorate. Dye et. al. elaborate: “The rights and interests of a person are secure only to the extent that he [or she] is able to protect them actively, and the interest of the community is best promoted by the maximum participation of its citizens.”[20]Some advocates of amateur sports have spoken of large scale participation, but the major media companies who broadcast professional sporting events are certainly not advocating broad based participation. They are encouraging us to sit on our couches and watch the professionals.

How does it alter our perception of the presidential election if we view it as a democratic institution, and not as a game or sport? It alters our perception in several very important ways. If we abandon the game model, there are no “instant replays” in this democratic institution; but there are remedies which seek to maximize the participation of Americans whose intentions usually can be ascertained. The idea that the rules of the game cannot be changed after it is played misses this major point: the many strange occurrences in the Florida election amount to a breakdown of our procedure for electing the president––a practice many consider one of our most important democratic institutions––not a glitch in some game or sporting event.

It follows that, in contesting the outcome as he did, Gore was not a “sore loser”. Whatever his actual motivations, from a political perspective, Gore and his allies were attempting to have more votes counted. If they were focusing on the votes they thought might be most likely to help Gore that was unfortunate; but the time frame issue pressed in court by Bush and his advisors, and reinforced by some Florida officials and by the U.S. Supreme Court, placed severe constraints on what could be done. Again, we were not dealing with a sporting event in which everyone understands the role of, and the vaunted integrity of, “the clock”.

The bottom line is this. In many other States, including Michigan, where I live, there are very clear criteria for what a vote is––and these criteria are uniform throughout the State in question. In the event a hand count is required, in Michigan, for example, there are clear criteria for how to count votes on which the “chad” is still attached but is “hanging”, etc. Florida does not have such a uniform code. Instead, Florida refers to “the intent of the voter”, which can be interpreted differently in different counties, and regularly is.[21]Bush and his “team” were not being denied their rightful “win” by Gore’s attempts at such voter vindication; rather it was the Bush group who fought to stop any examination of an electoral process that had clearly misfired––and done so on the watch of the brother of their candidate––who clearly stood in potential conflict of interest.[22]The idea that Gore was doomed because he was on George W. Bush’s “home field” makes as little sense in this connection as saying that Republicans and Democrats are locked into their roles of supporting one candidate or the other. There were mistakes on both sides, but the failure to allow votes to be hand counted––after all the other oddities of the Florida presidential vote––is not consistent with our democratic institution of electing the president according to a just and fair procedure––a procedure stressing maximum participation.

Recasting the election as a democratic institution, rather than a sport or a game, also implies analysts should have looked carefully at the Florida exit polls, even though they were called into serious question. Some people have even suggested the exit polls might have been right in declaring Gore the winner. My point is that these polls provided one additional source of insight into the intent of Florida’s voters. In the arguments over whether the votes should be carefully hand counted, the Bush group and their allies repeatedly stressed that there was no indication that such a recount would yield a different result than that already produced by the counting machines, which James Baker said were “neither Republicans nor Democrats”.[23]The polls might have provided one such indication that a different result was at least possible––particularly any exit polling data from Palm Beach County. I have been able to find no information that isolates such results. In this area, where there were thousands of discarded overvotes and appalling confusion over the butterfly ballot, exit polling data, no matter how limited, might have thrown light on a difficult situation. The American people should have had access to these polls. I suggest these exit polls were ignored not only because they were called into question by some analysts, but also because we were regarding the election as a game that had been played, not as a democratic institution. The point was to do everything possible to make sure one’s candidate won and that the matter was quickly resolved, not to determine who was elected president.

This point is supported by the recently released results of the so-called “consortium” of major media outlets. The consortium’s examination of Florida ballots suggests the election was too close to call; but the consortium ignored the thousands of overvotes Gore almost certainly received in Palm Beach and Duval Counties, where confusing ballots led many to invalidate them by marking their ballots in two places. The consortium believed these votes could not reasonably be counted because the voters had violated the election rules.[24]This is an excellent example of why it is a bad idea to think of the presidential election as a game. Suppose the goal had been to determine which candidate had more of the Florida electorate attempt to vote for him? Gore would have been elected. In a game, what actually happened would make perfect sense. You have to follow the rules or you are not playing the game; and when the game is “over,” it is inappropriate to keep challenging the outcome. In an election, construed as a democratic institution, the goal should have been to ascertain the will of those who went to the polls, not to discover who was “playing the game” correctly under extremely puzzling circumstances and in the designated time period.

Because of the distortion of regarding the election as a sport or game, instead of as a democratic institution, we are led to another misrepresentation that is arguably more serious than who won the presidency. I have titled this paper, “When a ‘W’ is not a ‘W’.” Whoever was declared president in the aftermath of this very contested election, the mandate of the American people was clear. With Gore winning the popular vote decisively and Bush supposedly eking out a victory in Florida to inch ahead in the Electoral College and become president, the American people were obviously very closely divided. Whoever was declared president needed to respect that close division and move toward the political center. Instead, George W. Bush has only paid lip service to the sort of compromise and bi-partisanship indicated by the outcome of this presidential election.[25]The justification for such behavior seems to be that “A ‘W’ is a ‘W’”––that even anugly win, even an incredibly close win––is still a win. It is not a tie, and the winner receives all the privileges of victory.[26]If we renounce the sport/game model of the presidential election, however, the claim that “a win is a win” no longer has the same force. In fact, if the goal is to recognize the voices of the electorate, a win surely is not a “W” in this case.

The clear obligation of whoever assumed the mantle of president was to bring the nation together. To the extent that Bush has attempted to do this, he has attempted to bring us together “on the right”––as have many members of his own party. In effect, George W. Bush echoes the lyrics of an old Jim Croce song, “If you’re going my way, I’ll go with you.”[27]If this becomes the norm in U.S. politics, it will no longer be possible to be in the minority and have any impact on our society. Political “losers” will become the “Rodney Dangerfields” of our political landscape.[28]They will get no respect. This is, of course, the essence of dictatorship. Power is not shared; and electoral procedures eventually become meaningless gestures.

I do not suggest that George W. Bush is not president. In raising questions about the way the election was decided, I am not suggesting that we should change presidents in the way that, for example, a professional football team might change quarterbacks if the designated hurler fails to win games or if the way he was selected is called into question. I support the institution of the Presidency, in a way that would be inappropriate if we were discussing a professional football team’s quarterback. There is no such thing as the institution of the quarterback.[29]This is a further manifestation of the impropriety of comparing our political institutions to sports or games. We should not sweep the problematic nature of last year’s presidential election aside in an attempt to assure continuity and stability. In reexamining how we decided the election, we are not revising that decision. Nor can we mandate that George W. Bush bring us together in the center, as I suggest would be a more plausible interpretation of the election than the one Bush and his advisors seem to have chosen. The goal is to assure the integrity of the procedures we use in supporting one of our most important democratic institutions by examining conditions that may contribute to such an ambiguous result––in particular, by exposing the inappropriate use of the rhetoric of sports/games in arguing the matter in the media and presenting it to the American people.

Bush supporters might try to counter the arguments of this paper by arguing that there were many irregularities in last year’s presidential election––irregularities in States other than Florida. At the time of the election, many argued that Bush’s aids should have contested other electoral results if they believed they were incorrect. I focus on the Florida result because that became the key to the election. I have argued that an analogy between the election and a sport or game was used by Bush associates––especially his spokesperson James Baker––and the media to frame the public debate about the Florida presidential election. I have not gone further and contended that this use of the rhetoric of sports/games determined the outcome of the election. I have argued that describing a presidential election in terms of this analogy misrepresents the fundamental character of one of our most important democratic institutions. E. J. Dion, commenting on the Supreme Court’s decision in favor of Bush, elaborates on this theme:

Bush, with help from the nation’s highest court, was allowed to run out the clock in what is not supposed to be a game. This court majority has handed Bush the presidency in a way that can only make an excruciating job even more difficult. Robert A. Nisbet wrote long ago about the difference between “power” and “authority.” Power, he said, is “based upon force.” Authority is “based ultimately upon the consent of those under it.” In a democracy, we recognize the authority even of leaders with whom we disagree because we accept the legitimacy of the process that got them there. Bush now has power. He will have to earn authority.[30]
To conclude: Justice is the most important virtue of what is arguably our most important political institution––the election of our president. Justice requires that we not deny citizens their votes because their balloting procedure has malfunctioned or because we are unwilling to do elaborate hand recounts. If we allow our electoral process to be regarded as a kind of game, as I argued (and as E. J. Dion apparently concurs) we did, we not only jeopardize the president’s moral legitimacy, we also risk losing our ability to govern ourselves. This is especially true if the norm in such cases is: A “W” is a “W”. Some worry one of the candidates will have “sour grapes” over the outcome of the election; I worry we will reap “the grapes of wrath” because of what has been done to our most important democratic institution.



[1]Robert Scheer, “Wait Till Next Season Despite Gore’s Fumbles, Democrats Will Be Back,” editorial, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette 7 Dec. 2000, Sooner ed.: A31. Note: I cite only those sources required to support particular points; but I have examined a very large volume of print and electronic media discussing the election which refers to the analogy discussed in this paper. I have located only one such source, by E. J. Dion, quoted at the end of this paper, that is openly critical of the comparison between the election and a game.

[2]As a philosopher of social science, I am not even sure what such a “definitive proof” would involve. I have, however, now constructed the rudiments of an argument to the effect that the United States Supreme Court’s decision in Bush v. Gore only makes sense if the election were regarded as a game. Paper-in-progress.

[3]Loren Mell, letter, The Seattle Times 29 Nov. 2000, fourth ed.: A11.

[4]Felicity Barringer, “Counting the Vote: The Reaction,” The New York Times 24 Nov. 2000, late ed.: 42.


[5]It was, of course, understood that absentee and military ballots would have to be counted; but it was assumed that these were already “cast” and “in the mail” when the election “ended.”

[6]Doug Smith, “Bucks Win Ugly over Sick Sixers,” The Toronto Star 27 May 2001, Sunday first ed.: Sports.

[7]Joseph H. Brown, “’Sore Loser’ Could Have Fit Either Side,” The Tampa Tribune 17 Dec. 2000, final ed.: 6.

[8]Jill Lawrence, “Election Night’s Story: Too Close to Call,” USA Today 8 Nov. 2000, first Chase ed.: 3A.

[9]David Lightman, “U.S. Bench: Holding the Key to the Presidency,” The Hartfort Courant 1 Dec. 2000, Sports final ed.: A1.

[10]Andrew Sullivan, “The Mounting of a Legal Insurrection,” Sunday Times [London] 10 Dec. 2000: Overseas news.

[11]I am not suggesting that Bush or his advisors ever laid this argument out in the precise way I do here. As I said earlier in the paper, I believe Bush’s associates “implied” something like this argument in their discussions with the media, and thereby with the American people. Nor, to emphasize another earlier point, do I contend that this argument necessarily “resolved” the Florida electoral crisis, and so determined the election. I maintain that this argument reflects the way debate about the election was framed in the mass media, with encouragement from the Bush camp.

[12]I am not suggesting that Bush or his advisors ever laid this argument out in the precise way I do here. As I said earlier in the paper, I believe Bush’s associates “implied” something like this argument in their discussions with the media, and thereby with the American people. Nor, to emphasize another earlier point, do I contend that this argument necessarily “resolved” the Florida electoral crisis, and so determined the election. I maintain that this argument reflects the way debate about the election was framed in the mass media, with encouragement from the Bush camp.

[13]Howard Troxler, “Bad Calls, Fumbles No Excuse for Final Score,” St. Petersburg Times 10 Nov. 2000, South Pinellas ed.: 1B.

[14]Brown 6.

[15]Mike Kupper, “Aftermath: Baseball Ponders Whether the World Series Should Continue,”

Los Angeles Times 18 Oct. 1989, home ed.: C7.

[16]Mell A11.

[17]Troxler 1B.

[18]I said “consistent with.” I am merely suggesting that some sort of remedy “consistent with” the sort of thing done in the Candlestick Park case is suggested by the situation in Palm Beach County. I am not advocating a specific remedy; though I believe simply urging that “the rules” be “followed” ignores the special character of the situation.

[19]Barringer 42.

[20]Dye et. al. 50.

[21]Michigan Information and Research Service, Inc., Capitol Capsule, (Issue 227, Vol. XVIII) 27 Nov. 2000: 1. 22 Howard Fineman, “Unsettled Scores,” Newsweek 17 September 2001: 26-28.

[22]Rupert Cornwall, “U.S. Election Special: Bush Fails to Block New Florida Recount,” The Independent (London) 12 Nov. 2000: 20.

[23]David Corn, “Bush and the Butterflies.” The Nation. 3 Dec. 2001: 5-7.

[24]Smith Sports.

[25]Jim Croce, Photographs and Memories: His Greatest Hits (New York: Blendingwell Music, Inc., 1974) 33-34.

[26]“Canadians Give NBA Basketball No Respect,” The Toronto Star 4 May 2001, first ed.: Sports.

[27]I thank my friend, Mr. David Zin, for suggesting this way of explaining this point and for some general help and encouragement with this paper.

[28]E.J. Dion, “And the Clock Ran Down,” The Denver Post 14 December 2000, 2D ed.: B-11. My italics. E. J. Dion is a Washington Post columnist and a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution.

[29]I thank my friend, Mr. David Zin, for suggesting this way of explaining this point and for some

general help and encouragement with this paper.

[30]E.J. Dion, “And the Clock Ran Down,” The Denver Post 14 December 2000, 2D ed.: B-11. My italics. E. J. Dion is a Washington Post columnist and a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution.

Works Cited

Barringer, Felicity. “Counting the Vote: The Reaction.” The New York Times 24 Nov. 2000, late ed.: 42.

Brown, Joseph H. “‘Sore Loser’ Could Have Fit Either Side.” The Tampa Tribune 17 Dec. 2000, final ed.: 6.

“Canadians Give NBA Basketball No Respect.” The Toronto Star 4 May 2001, first ed.: Sports.

Corn, David. “Bush and the Butterflies.” The Nation 3 Dec. 2001: 5-7.

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