By Francisco Alvarado
By Trevor Bach
By Chris Joseph
By Michael E. Miller
By Allie Conti
By Keegan Hamilton and Francisco Alvarado
By Jake Rossen
By Allie Conti
Ten minutes later, an old woman with badly dyed red hair came out hopping mad about Daniel. "The first guy he went to said he needed two forms of I.D.," she said. "I said, 'You don't know what you're talking about.' So he went to a different line, and they let him vote."
The exchange apparently irked some of the poll workers, because a few minutes later, Mary, the precinct captain, stormed over to the gathered Kerry monitors. "I'm getting complaints about you guys bothering people trying to get to the polls," she bellowed. "They say you're harassing them, hustling people about who they should vote for. If I get any more complaints, I'm calling the sheriff's office."
As she marched back inside, one Kerry monitor yelled, "You know, there's a bunch of Republicans in there who are telling lies!" But there were also indications of the Democrats' habitual disarray.
In Riviera Beach, fliers distributed in predominantly black and poor neighborhoods encouraged voters to do their civic duty. Just one problem: The flier listed the wrong polling station.
A right-wing conspiracy?
Emily's List -- a nationwide political network that funds and backs pro-choice, Democratic female candidates for local state, and national office -- distributed the flier. In Florida, the organization endorsed Senate loser Betty Castor and congressional winner Debbie Wasserman Schultz. By noon, more than a dozen black voters -- the same liberals Emily's List hoped to attract -- had shown up at the Lindsey Davis Senior Community Center when they should have gone to a polling station on the other side of town. "A limited amount of literature had misprints," admitted Emily's List spokesperson Ramona Oliver. "Right now, we don't know what the source of the error was."
One thing's for sure, the 'Pipe thought: The Christian Coalition would have had the right polling station.
Political consultant Ron Gunzburger, one of Broward's smartest political observers, says the Republicans just "out-strategized" the Democrats. "The same thing happened in Florida as happened everywhere else," Gunzburger says. "It's fascinating. Self-described liberals voted for Kerry 86 percent to 13 percent. Self-described moderates went for Kerry 55 to 45. Self-described conservatives went for Bush 85 to 15. By rights, then, Kerry should be president now, shouldn't he? But what happened was the Republicans increased the number of conservatives who turned out, from 29 percent of the 2000 vote to 34 percent of the 2004 vote. That translates to millions of additional voters for Bush."
While Kerry meandered from left to right during the campaign, first going after Howard Dean supporters, then catering to Democrats with Bush tendencies, the president pounded away on the right, Gunzburger says. "Bush ran to the right and stayed to the right," he adds.
"We had a candidate who was just trying to be too safe," he adds. "Remember that bumper sticker that said, 'Dated Dean, Married Kerry'? The idea was that Dean was your first love, but the guy you brought home to meet your parents was Kerry. There just wasn't any passion there."
Gunzburger summed it up, remembering the words of late Arizona Congressman Morris Udall, ending his 1976 presidential campaign: "The voters have spoken -- the bastards."
-- As told to Edmund Newton