The Ohio players

Just because this post is about the stolen election of 2004 doesn't (necessarily) mean that you should skip it

If you're like me--and for your sake, I hope you're not--you've treated the stories about Ohio's election skullduggery as you would a party-crasher with SARS: You feel just terrible about the whole thing, but that doesn't mean you want to get anywhere near it. Florida, you say, was stolen outright back in 2000. The election of 2004, by contrast, was just carted away by a gang of goons wearing the uniforms of authority and operating at the far frontier of the law.

The body politic is corrupt, the argument goes, and we're represented corruptly. Another way of saying it is that our government is legitimately illegitimate.

Though it may seem like an exercise in self-abuse (and, um, not the fun kind of self-abuse), reading the January 5 report from Rep. John Conyers (D-MI) may change your mind. "Preserving Democracy: What Went Wrong in Ohio" lays out a long and credible list of ballot box offenses--voting-machine shortages, voting-roll purges, intimidation, spoiled and uncounted ballots--that could have added up to tens or hundreds of thousands of votes for John Kerry.

Believing this stuff will surely relegate you outright to the political fringes--but then the mainstream these days doesn't seem like such a desirable place to be.


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