AMERICAN POLITY AT ROCK BOTTOM
So far the Kerry camp has refrained from making the integrity of the electoral process a political issue (most likely for fear of turning off borderline Naderites and the such from the political process). But the American polity needs to face the facts: the coming electoral anarchy in Florida, Ohio, and g-d only knows where else poses more of a threat to the American way of life than a sequel 9/11 scale attack.
The Bush administration has utterly failed in its responsibility to uphold the democratic system. Duh, that's the way they want it and always have...going all the way back to the 3/5ths compromise (you don't have to look too far to find it: see Article I, Sec. 2.3).
With the legitimacy of the electoral contest for a number of states in such question (and I'm now taking bets on how long after 11/2 we will finally see the triad bestow political legitimacy on one candidate or the other, dubbing them "president elect" (see a brief discussion of the logic of the triad here).
I discussed with some colleagues today over lunch the various scenarios in which this struggle for control over the US presidency might play out in the midst of election uncertainty. Usurpation was one of the leading themes--by direct force or other means. I wont speculate on particular outcomes, only will relate a general consensus that military usurpation (with Bush/Cheney at the helm) seemed remote. Not, mind you, because the Bush regime would outright shun such tactics (afterall, "missions from g-d" can demand drastic measures), but because the Bush regime has so alienated large swathes of the military brass and the CIA--they couldn't get away with it.
Lord knows if they could get away with it--under the guise of terrorist-inspired martial law--at least half of the American people could be whipped into a patriotic frenzy, with the corporate media falling in lock step. And the Democratic machine would be too inept to counter the right wing PR machine.
Side note: I was down in Florida last weekend for election-unrelated reasons, but had the opportunity to participate indirectly by helping my grandparents fill out their absentee ballots. I called the state party office in Talahasse and the county party office in West Palm Beach for help with understanding the ballot initiatives, proposed consitutional amendments, etc. In a word, they were both useless. They couldn't even point me to a voting guide (becaue how will people know how to vote if we don't tell them?). If the election monitoring and recount battles are fought by these guys, it looks like were in store for more disappointments in Florida.
When knowing that a military coup is improbable is good news about the strength of the American polity, you know we have hit rock bottom. At least we'll always have "exit, voice, and disloyalty." (Of course to where can you exit when the US has more than 700 foreign military bases and growing?)