I have been hopping mad since yesterday. Somehow I waded into the warbloggers’ world and found everyone berating the Spanish for letting the terrorists win.
I disagree. The terrorists did win. But not on sunday. They won on thursday when they killed 200 people. On sunday, the Socialist party won.
I don’t understand what the hooplah is all about. A major terrorist act affected the outcome of a national election. Well, duh! What else did you expect? That the Spaniards would totally ignore the attack, the casualties and the conduct of their government and vote according to their preferences on wednesday? What should a Spaniard voter have done? If she was going to vote for Aznar’s party, then not change her mind in the last 3 days? If he was planning on voting for the communists, then not switch to the socialists? If she had decided to abstain, then she shouldn’t have changed her mind at the last minute and voted?
If you look at the election results, it seems that not many Popular party supporters switched. The support of voters of some minor parties of the left and an increase in voter turnout were also factors.
Imagine if there was a US election was scheduled for September 14, 2001. Do you expect that the election results would have been exactly the same as the polling on September 10 had shown? So terrorism, war, economy, etc. affect elections. Great insight!
And it isn’t the first time terrorism has affected elections, though the first with such media coverage and a clear swing in the last 3 days. Remember Israel? Remember the suicide bombings right before elections there? Do you think those had no effect on the Israeli election results? Do you think that may be Hamas wanted Netanyahu and Sharon to win? Did you say absurd?
Some say it isn’t about the Spaniards. Instead it is about the perception of the terrorists. Great! Now we must weigh every single action of ours based on what Bin Laden might think of it. If that were true, Israeli soldiers would still be dying in Lebanon and American troops would still be stationed in Saudi Arabia.
Unfortunately, some great bloggers, who are obviously on my blogroll, have jumped off the cliff following the “warbloggers” on this one. The most stupid comment among these bloggers was by Virginia Postrel:
Regardless of its perpetrators, the election results provide an unhappy, and potentially dangerous, lesson: If you kill enough people, you can change the outcome of a democratic election.
Warning to terrorists: Americans do not draw the same conclusions from massacres that the Spanish did. Americans tend to rally around the president and direct our anger outward.
Isn’t that also terrorists changing election outcomes? What if the terrorists wanted Bush to win reelection and took Virginia’s post to heart?
I am too angry to write coherently, so you’ll have to go and read Randy Paul, Jacob Levy and A Fistful of Euros for some reasoned analysis about this issue.