by Max Brantley
I predicted on the radio yesterday that President Obama would be re-elected if there's a fair election. I claim no insight. I also believe in climate change. The science of public opinion research favors Obama's re-election tomorrow just as science supports climate change. The margins are close, of course.
And that's where fairness becomes critical. Consider:
President Obama and Mitt Romney hunted for last-minute support on Sunday in a frenetic sprint across battleground states, even as their parties faced off in the first of what could be a growing number of legal disputes over presidential ballots and how they are counted.
* FLORIDA AGAIN: Republicans in Florida truncated early voting because they know it discourages Democratic voters who can more easily get to the polls on weekends than on a working day. A lawsuit was necessary to get polls open for early voters.
* CRITICAL OHIO: Republican vote suppression has been rampant there for a decade and it's back again.
Republican election officials will go to court on Monday to defend an 11th-hour directive to local election officials that critics say could invalidate thousands of provisional ballots by forcing voters to attest to the type of identification they provide.
* GREEN PARTY ALLEGATION: The Green Party promises a lawsuit today to demand removal of patches implanted on electronic vote count software. It says the process there has already been tainted by systematic disenfranchisement and computerized vote count rigging.
The Republican Party simply wants fewer voters, particularly the people who have a harder time getting to the polls and thus tend to be more receptive to the kinder view of government's role than the GOP holds. That's why voter ID laws. They'll fight to suppress votes until the polls close. They'll fight to count votes they suspect are unfriendly after they close. That's why I'm not wholly confident the science of measuring public opinion will predict the election outcome. Recounts are possible in key states. At the end of the line is a Republican-dominated U.S. Supreme Court that ignored state law and ended a recount once before because of its belief in the importance of keeping a Republican president in office.