The Next Step in The Franken-Coleman Senate Race

I live in Minnesota, and our team is the Vikings. So I know something about losing, and from this perspective, I can explain to you what Norm Coleman is doing.

First, the context. Tomorrow, Saturday, the canvassing board will open and count absentee ballots and add that to the mix. As I demonstrated to you mathematically it is highly unlikely that this will change the current situation, in which Al Franken is ahead. To be more exact, the Worst Case Scenario estimate that I made predicts that with 650 or so ballots to open, there is a better than 75% chance that the count will not change enough for the outcome to shift in Coleman’s favor, and that assumes that the bias in as yet uncounted absentee ballots very strongly favors Coleman (which is certainly not true).

There is some other supreme-courty stuff happening that may cause a change in the number of absentee ballots being counted. Coleman is desperately trying to change the mix as to which ones will be included. He’ll keep adding and subtracting ballots and trying to get the canvassing board to reconfigure the final outcome again and again and again. Regardless, it is most likely that the canvassing board will start the process of counting the absentee votes on Saturday, then finish on Monday, then declare a winner, after which Coleman will pull out additional tricks to try to get the outcome to change in his favor, even after the count is done and he has lost.

The Republicans in the Senate have vowed to stand in the way of seating Al Franken in the Senate. This their way of saying “Waaaa! Waaaaa! We wanted that seat to be ours!!1 Waaaa!!!!! Waaaaa!!!!” and so on and so forth.

Anyway, here’s where the Vikings come in. So, imagine the Vikings are playing the Packers and winning, but in the last few minutes of the game they are ahead by only a three points, and the Packers get a field goal. This puts the Packers ahead by one point, and there are only 15 seconds left to play, and the Packers kick to the Vikings.

Then, something happens. The usual thing. The ball is kicked, it is returned maybe 15 or 20 yards, and the guy is tackled. And the game is over. Or maybe the returning runner gets farther. Or maybe he fumbles it and the Packers recover it. Or whatever. Something happens.

Ninety Nine out of 100 times the thing that happens is that the Vikings lose because they have just gotten the ball, they have only seconds to play, they are behind, and the amazing play that needs to happen just does not happen.

But then, one out of a hundred times it does happen. The amazing, unbelievable play occurs and the team that absolutely had to lose the game based on the score and everything instead wins the game.

So imagine you are the Vikings coach standing there watching this, and your team has just carried out the last play, and you lose. But suddenly everything in the stadium stops moving. You can move, but everything else is frozen in time. And an angel, an angel named Clarance, is suddenly standing behind you and taps you on the shoulder and says “Hey, loser, would you like to win a game for once?”

And you figure, “Oh, well, whatever” and you tell the angel that yes, you’d like to win this very game in particular, as a matter of fact.

And the Angel gets it and snaps his fingers and you are back to the beginning of the last play again, and the play happens and you lose again. And once again time stops.

And the angel hands you one of those little metal cricket chirping clicker thingies that the Nuns used in Catholic School to keep everyone in line. And the Angel says unto you:

“OK, Bozo, just click this at the end of the play every time you lose, and the whole thing will rerun, and eventually maybe the unbelievable will happen and your team will pull this off. Good luck.:

Poof. Angel disappears. But you’ve got the clicker.

So you stand there and click and click and click and click each time watching the play happen, over and over, but different each time but you always lose, and eventually, if this strange dream (or blog post as it were) goes on long enough the unlikely event of the Vikings running the ball back to the goal line on the return happens.

Then you stop clicking.

Norm Coleman is the coach. The clicker is the Minnesota Supreme Court, and the Angel is the American Democratic Process.

Except in real life, the American Democratic Process does not have quite that much patience and is not going to disappear letting this sucker click on the little clickety cricket thingie forever Eventually, maybe Monday, maybe Wednesday, the American Democratic Process is going to slap Norm Coleman up side the head and tell him that enough is enough. You lose. There will not be an infinate set of opportunities for last second do overs.

And then it’s Welcome to the Senate, Mr. Franken.

Here’s an update from

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0 thoughts on “The Next Step in The Franken-Coleman Senate Race

  1. Field goals are four points now? I admit that I haven’t watched a football game in 30 years, but I’m surprised they changed that.

  2. Compare the situations in Minnesota and Illinois.

    In MN, the Republicans are going all out to prevent a Democrat from taking a seat in the US Senate.

    In IL, the Democrats are going all out to prevent a Democrat from taking a seat in the US Senate.

    Is this a great country, or what?

  3. … those little metal cricket chirping clicker thingies that the Nuns used in Catholic School to keep everyone in line.

    Did the nuns pick up that trick from dog trainers, or vice-versa?

  4. “One thing’s for sure, Greg knows very little about football. Go Eagles.”

    An eloquent way of stating how Mr. Laden is as knowledgeable about the rules of football as Donovan McNabb.

  5. Pierce:

    Let’s be honest here. In MN the Republicans have a little sour grapes problem. In IL the Democrats have a “The governor is out of his fucking mind” problem. I’d wager the Democrats have a stronger case.

  6. At least Blagojevich didn’t appoint Norm Coleman to fill out Obama’s term.

    Though that might have resolved the Coleman-Franken impasse nicely.

    Hey! Why not appoint Norm as the US Ambassador to Czechoslovakia? Or Yugoslavia? Or Zaire?

    Or put him in charge of monitoring events along the Iraq/Pakistan border?

    I’m sure McCain would have thought of that….

  7. Cuttlefish – Don’t talk to me about losing. My Chiefs draft right behind the Lions and 2 ahead of your Browns. As I type this, the countdown clock on their website shows 112 days, 00 hours 19 minutes and 33 seconds.

  8. I’ve been feeling rather chipper this morning and just found out that Norm’s term expired at noon today; HE’S D-O-N-E! That must be it…

  9. Thanks for saving me the horror of listening to the game on Sunday (I assume that the TV blackout will be in effect — not because they did not sell all the tickets, but because we cannot stomach watching another clicker event.)

    Are not there two other games of interest ?
    The first game is, will Pawlenty NOT certify Franken while the Coleman court challenges are in process? If he does, he would be thumbing his nose at the 58% of voters who did not want Coleman to return to the Senate. Creditability would be questioned as he would be telling Minnesotans that the Republican partisan interests trump the need to have to TWO Senators representing the State. Many reference have made to the Washington Governor recount between Christine Gregoire and Dino Rossi, but the most valid point is that the court challenges went forward while the recount results were accepted by state officials. If the legislature had not certified the results as the Republicans wanted, Washington would not have had an official governor for six months since the court challenges took that long before they were exhausted. Pawlenty should not deprive the voters having full representation in the Senate ? (IF he is going to do it, then he should announce it today, so that IF Coleman wins then it would not be a partisan action when Pawlenty refused to certify while Franken files his lawsuit.) Conversely, Pawlenty is being challenged by Republican bloggers for not doing enough. Threatening If he lets Coleman go down to defeat, Pawlenty should forget about a future in national politics and remain that big fish in a small pond.

    The second game is being played by Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX) and the Republicans in the Senate denying Franken from taking office.
    At the start of the last Congress, Speaker Pelosi was under pressure not to seat Vern Buchanan, (R-FL-13) who was certified as the winner by 369 votes over Democrat Christine Jennings. Jennings filed suit challenging the results based on the 18,000 people who went to the polls but had no vote registered in the congressional race. The 13 percent undervote was substantially higher than in surrounding counties, which registered undervotes of less than 5 percent. It was June (once again, six months after the start of the session) that her final appeal was adjudicated. Pelosi accepted Buchanan results, but Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) was concerned that this could be repeated in future elections that she asked the Government Accountability Office and NIST to review the procedures involved with voting machines. She addressed these issues in S 1487 but it died in committee.
    I presume that Cornyn knows the Buchanan situation and the time required in the WA Governor court battles yet he said That process is ongoing and will not be resolved, in all likelihood, for weeks and maybe longer. Ah, so to Cornyn, who cares how long Minnesota goes without full representation.

    BTW, Congratulations on your Weblog Award nomination.

  10. MN Central:

    Your link to RFFM is one of the most disturbing things I’ve seen — I’d say “read between the lines”, except the author has clearly written his point in red ink in the margins. That’s not a call for electoral fairness; that’s a blatant argument that Pawlenty should intentionally subvert the system for party loyalty’s sake. The author tries to whitewash it here and there, but frankly he’s a terrible liar.

  11. Brian X: Since Katherine Harris and Ken Blackwell did that, and it only increased their political stature within the GOP, the risk/benefit ratio was already written in red paint all across a very big wall.

  12. Coleman’s lawyer is blathering about Franken’s 225-vote margin being an “artificial lead“.

    Like any other vote margin in either direction wouldn’t be equally artificial.

    Like elections, any elections, aren’t equally artificial.

    Man-made, y’know. Not occurring because of the inhuman laws of nature.

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