05 January 2009
At Last: The Al Franken Decade?
A long time ago, Al Franken predicted that, in sharp contrast to the "Me Decade" of the 1970s, the 1980s would come to be known as the "Al Franken Decade." People would make lifestyle decisions or other important choices based on how they would affect "me, Al Franken." Over the intervening years, Franken has had to adjust the scope of his prediction, but now it looks somewhat likely that, in one state out of fifty, and for six years at least, the principles of Al Franken will prevail. The mandated recount of the Minnesota senatorial vote has placed him in the lead by a slightly larger margin than that by which he trailed incumbent Norm Coleman on Election Day, with an independent candidate still trailing badly. Coleman's Republican supporters smell a rat, and their concern is understandable when confronted by margins so thin. Who knows whether a second recount could reverse the outcome again? Minnesota has punch-card voting, and Mr. Right has shown me some internet photos of the contested ballots. Some were contested by Coleman, some by Franken, and all were a mess. Why anyone prefers punch-cards to old-school voting machines (as in New York State) eludes my understanding. Now, of course, Franken's people are pressuring Coleman to play the good sport, but if state law allows Coleman any right to appeal or challenge, I see no reason why he shouldn't take advantage when the margin's so small. Since it was a three-candidate election and none of them got a majority, the ideal solution would be a mano-a-mano runoff, but this will probably be an election decided by law in the form of judges rather than by fact by the unambiguous will of the people.