Expect to hear a lot about the will of the people. Especially after November 2nd -- expect to hear a whole lot about the will of the people...
"The voters have spoken," the winning side will tell us. "The voters must be obeyed." Or to put it more conversationally: "Quit your belly-aching -- we're running things now!"
How nice for them. The "them" in question almost certainly being the Republicans, who, if things go only modestly well from their perspective on Election Day, will still pick up a few dozen seats in the House of Representative and a handful in the Senate. And if things go really well will run the table and lay waste to the Democrats.
In either case, they'll be eager to lay claim to the levers of power -- and the sooner the better. "We won. Why wait?"
All of which sends me bumping back along Memory Lane -- back to the year 2000, in fact, and to a certain contentious presidential contest. You remember that one, don't you? Of course you do.
But do you remember the bumper stickers? The two sets of bumper stickers? The first bumper stickers were deep blue -- Democratic blue -- with white lettering across them. "Gore / Lieberman," they said. (This is back when Joe Lieberman was still a Democrat.) Those were the first bumper stickers.
But do you remember the second ones? Do you remember how, not long after the 2000 election, when the outcome was still in doubt, some people took that "Gore / Lieberman" bumper sticker and changed the lettering so it said "Sore / Loserman"? It was a big hit in certain circles -- the kinds of circles that wanted the folks on the losing side to give it up, and get a life. "Get over it!" they kept saying. "You lost -- get over it!"
And this was after an election that had teetered on a knife's edge for weeks. Where there were only five electoral votes separating the two main candidates. Where the losing side got a half-million more popular votes nationwide than the winning side did. Where the result in the final, crucial, decisive state came down to a "butterfly" ballot and a bunch of hanging chads. And where a sharply divided Supreme Court finally decided the thing -- in favor of the party that had appointed most of them. And the bumper sticker still said "Sore / Loserman." Do you remember all that?
So here's my question: When did the Republicans ever get over the 2008 election? Instead of trying to ignore it. Or repeal it. Or do everything they possibly could to demonize and de-legitimize the man who won it.
You remember the 2008 election, don't you? That's the one where the winning side had almost 200 more electoral votes than the losing side. Not just five -- 192! Where the winning side had more popular votes -- nine and a half million more popular votes -- than the losing side. Where the networks were able to call the winner within hours after the polls closed. Where the Supreme Court's only job was administering the oath of office. (And the Chief Justice made a hash of that, too.)
All of this happened almost two years ago: Barack Obama was elected president of the United States, and it wasn't even close. And the side that came up short that time -- way short! -- still refuses to accept the result. To accept reality. To accept the will of the people -- unless the will of the people goes their way.
So tell me again: Who are the sore losers?
Rick Horowitz is a syndicated columnist. You can write to him at email@example.com.