Tuned In

Dead Tree Alert: Florida Forever

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In the paper version of Time magazine this week, my column looks at the upcoming HBO movie Recount, and how the 2000 electoral circus in Florida still looms over the psychology of politics—especially in a certain party that has a lot of members cheesed off about enfranchisement and Florida:

After George W. Bush won Florida in 2000–O.K., I apologize to my Democrat readers for legitimizing Bush by using the word won. Also, I apologize to the Republicans for delegitimizing Bush by apologizing to the Democrats …

This is what Florida has done to us. Nearly eight years after Bush–um, “became President”? Can we agree on that?–the Florida recount still grips our politics, down to its semantics. To choose a verb is to take sides. Florida is not just a state but a state of mind: the widely held attitude that the game is rigged (by the courts, the media, the voting machines …) and that any close election is suspect. Florida looms over politics like the Alamo, the Maine and the grassy knoll all rolled into one.

The potential for half the Democratic Party to feel like it’s been re-Florida’ed is there, I point out, no matter which way the superdelegates go. Since Tuned In is not known for its political prognostications, I didn’t really feel like declaring a winner in the primary. The cover of Time, you’ll note, is not so shy.