Home » Uncategorized » For God’s Sake, Let Us Sit Upon the Ground And Tell Sad Stories of The Death of Kings

For God’s Sake, Let Us Sit Upon the Ground And Tell Sad Stories of The Death of Kings

Here are a few thoughts on the election, offered up as I process my grief.

1. Um, you do know that there are actual ballots remaining to be counted, right?

One of my frustrations with media treatment of elections is the insatiable need for everyone to know RIGHT NOW exactly what has happened. As things stand, at this very moment, the tally of the election has not been completed, and will not be completed until after the end of the “cure period” for provisional voters who voted without sufficient I.D.

But it was unseemly (to the point of malpractice) for national news outlets to pull the sheet over the Texas body politic and call the time of death WHILE VOTERS WERE STILL IN LINE. There were huge long lines in Tarrant, Dallas, Harris, Travis, and Bexar counties, and many polling places across the state were still processing voters at 8:30 p.m.

So I hear you say, “But Joe, so what? Even if you pretend that every uncounted ballot was for your slate of candidates, it won’t matter. The outcome will be what it is. Why quibble over calling the election at 7:30 p.m. versus calling the election a week from today?”

Because it’s wrong, that’s why. Because elections are complex, multivariate events, where what seem like long shots and unshakeable trends don’t necessarily conform to the selective sampling of early-received precinct totals. Because none of the provisional ballots have been counted yet – the very same provisional ballots that provided some safety net for the voters who may have needed to cure issues with their voter I.D.s, or for the voters who, but for the offer of a provisional ballot, would have been denied an opportunity to correct some misunderstanding or bureaucratic error regarding their registration status.

What all of the news media outlets were doing was insulting to the people whose ballots haven’t been counted yet, because it amounted to a hasty refutation of the very voters who are most poorly served by society in the first place.

Well viewers, with a whopping 2 out of every 100 ballots counted, we can confidently say that among the voters who matter (disproportionately white suburban voters with drivers’ licenses and quiet, uncrowded polling places), the choice is clear. And for those of you still in line (disproportionately minorities, the young and elderly, living in areas where voting equipment and personnel were rationed and throttled), give up, chumps. You could be home watching Matlock reruns and eating cold cat food out of the can.

And for those of you who voted by mail (disproportionately old or disabled), or voted provisionally (disproportionately minorities), or voted from overseas, may we say, uh, we appreciate that you wanted to get a gold sticker for your pathetic attempt to participate in the democratic process, but seriously, who ever believed that we really cared what you thought?

2. Why Concede Before the 10:00 p.m. News?

My advice to the statewide Democratic Party candidates in Texas would have been to delay the concessions until this morning at the earliest. Why on earth would anyone want to hand Greg Abbott additional TV time right in the news cycle sweet spot? It’s an act of submission that benefits no one, and that further erodes the public capacity for patience and delayed gratification.

3. I Keep Waking Up In The Wrong Universe

Seriously, it’s like a Philip K. Dick novel around here.

On Election Day, I did volunteer work on the Battleground Texas Voter Protection Hotline, and I want to thank the Director of Voter Protection for Battleground Texas for her too-kind invitation and encouraging words.

Mimi Marziani, an energetic and unflappable civil rights litigator, voting rights organizer, and unstoppable whirlwind, is still tirelessly hard at work at this moment, helping voters and fighting the fight right now, and was incredibly generous to invite me (a complete stranger!) to help voters. Welcome to Texas, Mimi!

I’d also like to thank all the attorneys and staff in the Statewide Voter Protection Hotline in Fort Worth – (I apologize for not being better with names, but you were all incredibly welcoming, wonderful, kind, hard-working, unflagging, brilliant and brave people), with a special thanks to my fellow voter protection attorney Michael Ybarra for transporting me all the way from Austin to Fort Worth and back.

All the volunteers in the field, at polling places, and at all the regional boiler rooms and the state and national boiler rooms worked fiercely and unwaveringly to defend the rights of voters to cast their ballots, and there are many, many voters across the state who owe a debt of gratitude to these volunteers. Thanks to all of you, and safe travels.

I’ll have no postmortems today, as I don’t approve of the vivisection of an election that hasn’t even been completed yet.



  1. N. E. Longoria says:

    All I can say is that these are the same people who voted for The Bushwhacker twice and backed him when he invaded Iraq. They haven’t learned from their mistakes, have they? The good news is, there will be more women and minorities in Congress. Let’s hope they can do more than castrate pigs!

  2. Dr. Arthur Frederick Ide says:

    It astounds me how short memories are especially on what happened these last six years. In a rush to bad judgment, Republicans and many Democrats see Obama as the cause of all the problems popularly believed and used as a whipping boy against Democrats and progressives. I have no pity for these deniers of Obama’s accomplishments, including:
    • 63 straight months of economic expansion.
    • A depression averted.
    • A deficit reduced by two thirds.
    • A healthcare law that’s working and lowering costs.
    • Two women on the Supreme Court.
    • bin Laden’s dead.
    • Stock market at record heights.
    • An unemployment rate that dropped from 10.2 to 5.9%.
    • Gas prices are down.

    What have Republicans offered: Joni Ernst whose claim to current fame is the castration of hogs in rural Iowa and her devotion to “Personhood.” Scott Walker whose badge is covered with fired teachers, police and a dying economy in the Cheese State. Rick Scott of Florida who padded his own fortune with insider trading. The list is endless and state prosperity down the tubes.

  3. Eli Poupko says:

    Agree completely on the unseemly rush to report results. I never understood the need to report results ASAP on the night of the election. Nothing bad will happen if we have to wait a few days (or even weeks) before final results are in. That’s why we have elections in early November for terms that don’t begin until Jan/Feb.

    At the risk of jumping to the post-mortem, this midterm election speaks volumes about the importance of turnout, which in Texas appears from preliminary estimates to be down over 3 points since 2010, coming in at the lowest in the country:
    In other words, the Democratic push to increase turnout in TX seems to have been a miserable failure.

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