Welcome to the ranks of the reluctantly suspicious, you big, whisky-drinking lug!

March 11, 2005

Though I’ve found myself agreeing with him less and less of late, I still hold a special place in my heart for that big, whisky-drinking lug Christopher Hitchens.   For example, I’m still quite fond of his Letters to a Young Contrarian which helped me through the existential angst of my early days at MIT. (The book is full-text viewable and searchable here on Amazon.com, just in case you’re not a fan like me who’d happily plunk down his hard-earned dough for the hardcover.)  Thus, it’s a happy occassion that I—as one big, whisky drinking lug to another—can welcome him to the ranks of those reluctantly suspicious about the skewing of anomalies in the last election.   

As Mr. Hitchens so eloquently yet bluntly defines our dilemma in this month’s Vanity Fair:

Machines are fallible and so are humans, and shit happens, to be sure, and no doubt many Ohio voters were able to record their choices promptly and without grotesque anomalies. But what strikes my eye is this: in practically every case where lines were too long or machines too few the foul-up was in a Democratic county or precinct, and in practically every case where machines produced impossible or improbable outcomes it was the challenger who suffered and the actual or potential Democratic voters who were shortchanged, discouraged, or held up to ridicule as chronic undervoters or as sudden converts to fringe-party losers.  [All italics are Hitchens’s. ]

[Hat tip: Gary Farber and Mark Kleiman]

If this has whet your appetite and you’re seeking more analysis in this reluctantly suspicious vein, especially more technically minded analysis, let me humbly suggest this post of mine on the exit poll discrepancies and the sources linked therein.

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