Huckabee v. McCain v. Washington

So, in Washington State, the caucus was called for McCain before all the votes were counted – 13% of the vote remained uncounted, despite only 1.8% separating the two candidates. The race was called for McCain by the state party chair Luke Esser, based essentially on his certainty that the state would go McCain’s way. You can read a little more about it here.

The interesting thing to me is that Huckabee had beaten McCain in two contests earlier in the day. Kansas was his in a landslide, and got more votes in Louisiana. Then, Washington is called for McCain. Imagine if Huckabee had beaten McCain in all three states? What would the headline that night have been? What were the headlines for Obama?

Instead, this is the kind of thing that gets posted on CNN:

McCain gets mixed message; Dems deadlocked after contests

Republican voters in Louisiana and Kansas told John McCain they weren’t ready to support him. Washington state, however, backed the Republican front-runner Saturday over former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, according to state party officials.”

Instead of “Weekend Blowout” or “Huckabee Sweeps McCain,” it’s “McCain Gets Mixed Message.” That’s what people see – it’s not momentum for Huckabee – momentum that appears, by rights, to be his – two states and one that’s extraordinarily close, it should be more “McCain on the Run” than anything else. But because the state chair called the race, unreasonably, for McCain, that’s now the status quo, and Huckabee has to overturn what people will accept as a general truth.

This is EXACTLY what happened in 2000 – by framing Bush as the victor, the media tilted the election in his favor. Instead of Bush being unjustly installed by the Supreme Court in a contested election that was both obviously defective and too close to call, they called Bush the victor, handing him the de facto victory. Once he was crowned, Gore had to work to overturn the “valid” result of Bush’s victory, instead of the genuinely neutral or Gore-favored *REALITY*.

So, it’s interesting to me that McCain’s people, or the GOP in general are not only above stealing elections from their opponents, but from people within their own party. Talk about being fundamentally corrupt. Sure, you can lay the blame at the feet of Luke Esser, the guy who called it, but you have to also lay the blame at the feet of McCain, the entire GOP, and anyone even remotely involved in the election who isn’t *insisting* that the votes be properly counted.

I’d hate to have Huckabee as the nominee, simply because that would mean we’d have some (however remote) chance of having that nutcase as President. I despise McCain’s party-line obsequiousness as well – I’d rather have a rancid piece of cheese in office than either of those morons. But I suppose it’s interesting, seeing again how powerful framing can be – all you need to do is announce the victor in an authoritative manner, and people will immediately adjust to that victory being the status quo. Essentially, the Dems need to learn to put that out there right away – announce victory, however tenuous, as early and loudly as possible. Presume you have won, and in many ways, that’s all you need to do.

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