by Perry Diaz
“Neck and neck down the stretch,” the Sacramento Bee headline says. “Six new polls suggest Bush-Kerry race could go either way. It is really down to the wire, folks. Nobody is making any predictions because the presidential derby is at a statistical dead heat. Whoever is going to win in tomorrow’s election will not win “by the nose.” He will win “by a whisker.”In 2000, President George W. Bush won the election after five weeks of impasse over the “chad” issue in Florida. With roughly 500-vote difference between Bush and Gore, Bush captured 271 electoral votes, the minimum it would take to win the election. The rest was history.
Is history going to repeat itself tomorrow? By all indications, yes! So, all roads would lead to Florida for a repeat of the historic gut-wrenching political drama that pitted not only the two presidential candidates — George W. Bush and Albert Gore — but batteries of lawyers, hordes of volunteers, and the full panel of the US Supreme Court.
However, I believe it is not going to be Florida, again. Why? With tens of thousands of volunteers including thousands of lawyers from both sides, Florida would not be the mother of all battleground states. There are several scenarios that I would consider “probable” in view of the anticipated close race tomorrow.
As of today, there are seven battleground states, one of which was not considered a battleground state until a few days ago. That state — Hawaii — is seven time zones away from Florida and five from California. By the time the polls close at 8:00 PM Central Time in Florida, it would only be 1:00 PM in Hawaii. By the time the polls close at 8:00 PM Pacific Time in California, it would be 3:00 PM in Hawaii. By 10:00 PM Pacific Time, California would have declared the winner of its 55 electoral votes. So would Oregon with 7 electoral votes. And so would Washington State with 11 electoral votes.
John Kerry, at that time waiting in his hotel room in Washington, DC, mentally counted the electoral votes he captured in all three Western Pacific states: 55 plus 7 plus 11… That’s a whopping 27% of what it takes to win.
At the same time, President Bush has 267, having captured four of the seven battleground states — Colorado (9), Florida (27), New Mexico (5), and Virginia (13) for a total of 54 electoral votes. A few hours earlier, Kerry captured two battleground states — Ohio (20) and Pennsylvania (21) for a total of 41 electoral votes.
At 1:00 AM Eastern Time on November 3, John F. Kerry — beaming with confidence — walked up to the podium at his pre-designated victory party in a plush Washington, DC hotel and was about to declare victory when an aide whispered to him, “You have 267, it’s a tie at this point.” “But what happened to Hawaii, that little speck of rocks in the middle of nowhere has always been ours, do you hear, OURS!” The last word echoed in the room… OURS… OURS… ours… ours… ours…
The aide tried to explain it in a way so Kerry could make his own conclusion: “You see, Senator… It is only 5:00 PM in Hawaii and the people there are still voting. You know how they are… They’re pretty laid back and they didn’t go to the polls until a couple of hours ago. I never understood it myself, but people there say it has something to do with Filipino time.” Kerry, turned red, and shouted at his aide: “What has ‘Filipino time’ to do with my victory in Hawaii. Hawaii is a Democratic bailiwick long before this ‘Filipino time’ came about. Besides they’re all Democrats and they are loyal Democrats.” Crats… crats… crats… the acoustic in the hotel ballroom was terrible. “But sir,” the aide explained, “I beg to disagree. The Filipinos are notorious for crossing party lines for a candidate they like. They’re the key supporters of Governor Linda Lingle when she ran for Governor of Hawaii in 2002. She‘s a Republican.” Kerry looked his aide in the eye and said, “You mean, these Filipino Democrats voted for a Republican candidate?” Finally, the aide said, “Senator, they do it all the time if they don‘t like the Democratic candidate. The exit polls in Hawaii right now are predicting that the Filipinos were voting overwhelmingly for Bush.”
With 267 to 267 tie in electoral votes, Hawaii’s four electoral votes would give the magic number of 271 electoral votes to the winner in Hawaii; thus, giving him the bare minimum to win the presidency.
Kerry left the podium and went back to his room to wait for the election results in Hawaii. “Damn Filipinos, they screw things up all the time. Damn Filipinos!” Pinos… pinos… pinos… The echo continued. Kerry didn’t realize that he still had a little microphone pinned on his lapel.
On January 20, 2005, President George W. Bush was sworn in as President of the United States. On the front row of the gallery, several Filipino Democrats from Hawaii were seated. When President Bush finished his oath of office, he looked at the Filipinos in the gallery and gave them the “shaka” sign. The Filipinos responded with the same “shaka” sign and said, “Hang loose, bro.”
NOTE: This scenario is very possible. With a 267-267 tie, Hawaii will determine the winner of tomorrow’s presidential election.