That scenario would have thrown the election right back to Florida, just like 2000, where eventually the US Supreme Court selected a president. So far, we haven't heard a single Democratic leader in the state (are there any?) raise a peep of protest at the near train wreck. It is Thursday morning. Florida still hasn't declared.
The worst of it: the press documented how the Republican legislature and Gov. Rick Scott conspired to suppress the vote, diminishing chances of an Obama victory. The lengthy ballot wasn't inadvertent. It was loaded with right-wing, extremist measures on purpose: to make it more difficult to process ballots from people who have a hard time reading English. Hispanics and African Americans.
This isn't speculation. The intent of voter suppression is fully briefed in acrimonious litigation between state GOP officials and the former head of the state Republican Party, Jim Greer. As noted by Politico this morning, "... exit polls showed the same share of African Americans turned out as four years ago, something that GOP turnout models did not anticipate."
Gov. Rick Scott could have authorized and expanded early voting. The early voting lines in Miami-Dade were extraordinarily long. Mayor Carlos Gimenez, a Republican, could have insisted on a competent response to what was clearly heading to an election day logjam that would hold for days beyond the closing of polls. The absentee and provisional ballots are still being counted by hand, one by one. That is a strategy, not a mistake. "We didn't think they'd turn out more of their base than they did in 2008, but they smoked us," one Romney operative told Politico. "It's unbelievable that they turned out more from the African American community than in 2008. Somehow they got 'em to vote."
It is excruciating to imagine the entire nation could now be hostage to Miami's incompetence and GOP radicals, again.
We are at Thursday morning. The nation would be in an uproar, waiting for Florida. Again. Had that happened, GOP operatives; Jeb! Bush, Rick Scott, Marco Rubio and the legions of GOP lobbyists and attorneys who infest the state capitol like fleas on a dog would be racing to the TV cameras.
This scenario occurred to me instantly, in that brief, extraordinary moment after three networks had projected Ohio for Obama and on Fox News, Karl Rove anchored the news desk and exposed his plan to an audience of millions: Fox needed to stonewall, reject the professional analysis of its own election experts, and delay projecting Ohio. Fair and balanced? This was not a "Hail Mary Pass" by a political quarterback who had cost his investors billions and the nation, trillions. You couldn't fit this guy's balls in a Boeing Dreamliner.
The New York Times raised the question more delicately: "What role was Karl Rove playing when he heatedly contradicted Fox News?"
To the Times, Rove offers the excuse that "the ghosts of 2000 prompted him to act." Those weren't ghosts. Rove was setting up Florida and the federal judiciary, where he has leverage through judges he personally vetted during the Bush terms, to put Mitt Romney in the White House.
A lengthy ballot -- stacked with ridiculous measures stuffed by right-wing GOP legislators, confusion, inadequate voting equipment -- caused outrageous and lengthy delays. But those waits of up to six hours are nothing compared to the controlled experiment of botching a presidential election in order to prevail through post-election chaos.
According to the Miami Herald, "Deputy Elections Supervisor Christina White insisted Wednesday morning that an unusually long ballot and high voter turnout, which was 64 percent, was to blame, not a lack of resources. “Its not that there were any problems or glitches,” White told reporters. "It’s about volume and paper left to be processed,"
The result is a disgrace, but in its fundamental respects mirrors the government-designed-to-fail that we document at Eye On Miami. The anger should be directed where it belongs: at incumbent legislators and county officials that Floridians dumbly return to office one election cycle after another.
How many of those standing in long lines even know the names of their state representatives and state senators? Or why, in November 2000, then mayor of Miami-Dade County Alex Penelas took a flight to Spain "on personal business" instead of staying with the ship, at the elections department, where GOP operatives helicoptered in from Washington DC successfully disrupted the recount?
So there it is: thank you, Ohio, because you have shown the nation the real political face of Florida.