Remember those allegations early this month (feels like ages ago, doesn’t it?) that there was something fishy in some Florida counties’ being reported as voting heavily pro-Bush when voter registration was heavily Democrat? It seemed to me that this was actually fishy only to those who hadn’t heard of conservative Southern Democrats, but people definitely brought it up (see the linked post above for an example). Here’s what John Fund in OpinionJournal’s Political Diary has to say about the latest in this saga; entire item reprinted with permission:
Pith-Helmeted Reporters Meet Bush Voters
Two Miami Herald reporters got a real education in red-state thinking when they decided to check out the Internet conspiracy theories that George W. Bush had stolen Florida because several counties with overwhelmingly Democratic voter registration edges had voted Republican for president. As one blogger put it, “George W. Bush’s vote tallies . . . are so statistically stunning that they border on the unbelievable.”
Not after the Miami Herald scribes decided to actually drop in on three of the northern Florida counties whose vote totals were questioned. Sounding as if they were cultural anthropologists visiting an exotic tribe, reporters Meg Laughlin and David Kidwell first visited Union County, where over 75% of voters are Democrats. They physically recounted the ballots cast in this month’s election and concluded the results accurately reflected Mr. Bush’s reported 72% victory. Election Supervisor Babs Montpetit explained: “People here are fundamentalist Christians who work in the prisons. Do you think they’re going to vote for the liberal senator from Massachusetts?”
Having absorbed that observation, the intrepid pair proceeded to next-door Suwannee County, immortalized in the famous Stephen Foster song. Election Supervisor Glenda Williams showed them the ballots, which the reporters noted validated Mr. Bush’s 70% victory there. “Most people in this county are against abortion and gay marriage. So they voted for Bush,” she explained.
The final stop on the team’s cultural odyssey was Lafayette County, where 83% of voters claim to be Democrats. Here the reporters didn’t have to wait long for an explanation as to why Mr. Bush won three-fourths of the vote. A billboard on the road proclaimed “There is life before birth” and a neighborhood was called “The Christian Village.” After quickly recounting the county’s ballots, the reporters headed back to the Jacksonville airport, noting that the roadway was lined with “Snoball stands, chicken farms and anti-abortion billboards.”
The Herald’s excursion into Florida’s Bush Country may not have turned up any election scandals, but the concept appeals to me. Perhaps more big-city media outlets should send expeditionary forces into rural and exurban parts of their states and report on what people there are thinking. Then fewer of them might be surprised every two years.
Yeah, a bit snide, but pretty funny.