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Wednesday, October 1, 2008

What to do in the event of an American post-election crisis









As Americans prepare to go to the polls, I recommend that they take a close look at the African solution to power disputes with a view to using it to reconcile their warring tribes, the conservatives and the liberals.

You see, the election is not going well. When the Democrats had their National Delegates Conference in August, their candidate, Senator Barack Obama, got a “convention bounce” in the form of an eight percentage point lead in the opinion polls. A week later, Senator John McCain, the aged fighter jock who, in the words of Wahome Mutahi, walks like a cowboy with a horse between his legs, and here I quote Dr Davinder Lamba, “unweiled the underlying mechanism”, that is, the moose-shootin’ Governor Sarah Palin of Alaska, got his bounce too.

(Alaska is like Dubai, the soil is soft with oil and the people’s pockets are bulging with free money. The ruler of this state makes very difficult decisions about how the money is to be shared.)

Anyway, both Obama and McCain have since lost their respective bounces and the race is a dead heat. Which means that America is headed for a classic Raila Odinga-Mwai Kibaki, Morgan Tsvangirai-Robert Mugabe electoral photo-finish. Which is where Africa comes in.

I have heard some people say that Africa has contributed nothing to civilisation. Nothing could be further from the truth. Africa has contributed many things, including an efficient means to resolving electoral photo-finishes. Now, what McCain lacks in brains he makes up in peasant cunning. He wasn’t clever enough to make a fortune, so he kicked out his wife and went and got himself a rich one. He saw the appeal of the greenhorn, Mr Obama. So he went and got himself the greenest of the moose shootin’ greenhorns, Mrs Palin. He saw that the people wanted change, so he too said he was bringing change even though he served in the Senate with Noah.

It shows McCain is a guy who learns, albeit literally, which is an important trait in the application of the African solution to electoral photo finishes. Mr Obama, on the other hand, has a temperament which is the complete opposite of his fiery rhetoric: He is coldly methodical. What he wants is an election victory, 270 electoral college votes, not a landslide. So he is stacking his cards with great care for the narrowest of wins. This is important in the creation of the American post-election crisis. So here is what will happen:

Obama, having done his mathematics, will be seen to have won by a whisker, squeaking through in some battleground county in some battleground state. A victory is a victory, he will argue, because the law does not say that you should win with a landslide to be declared winner.

McCain, the horse-between-the-leg hero, will win the popular vote, just like Al Gore did in 2000 but, unlike Gore, McCain, an old guy with nothing to lose, will not be taking anything lying down. He will be taking things from the vertical plane, preferably with both barrels blazin’. So he will say: Nonsense, what kind of democracy is this? I won the election and there is going to be a revolution if you don’t swear me in.

Mr Obama will argue — quite reasonably — and say: Look, we have a tried and tested system of resolving these kinds of things. If you don’t like the outcome, go to court.

Mr McCain will say: I am not going to allow a bunch of Senator Obama’s liberal tribesmen to disenfranchise the American people. Democracy says victory goes to the guy who wins the most number of votes and that guy is me.

Mr McCain will declare a constitutional moment, a moment when a serious flaw in the constitution needs to be fixed so that the American people can freely choose their commanders-in-chief from amongst tried, tested white men, without their votes getting rigged by high-falutin liberals. A group of McCain supporters from the rust belt will drive their trucks to the nearest poor neighbourhood, shoot it up and burn it.

A jittery state government will declare a state of emergency and call out the National Guard. Mrs Palin will order the immediate shooting of 2,000 moose, to test the guns of her Alaskan army, in readiness for independence war.

Then Mr Bush is secretly photographed passing the nuclear codes to Mr McCain by the National Enquirer, the supermarket tabloid, and all hell breaks loose. There is rioting in Brooklyn and Harlem, with a million Obama supporters marching on Manhattan with the intention of burning it. In Washington, Obama mobs threaten to take the White House while a McCain one blockades the Pentagon.

A national state of emergency is declared. Then somebody calls Kofi Annan, who flies into town and gets Mr McCain, Mr Obama and Mr Bush to shake hands in front of the cameras.

Then after hours of backdoor haggling, the two parties agree on a cessation of violence and a mediator. The mediator is Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin. Mr Putin touches down in Washington with three plane loads of people. The first are KGB illegals who melt into the airport perimeter as soon as the plane touches down. The other is full of consultants and observers, who will oversee the implementation of a peace accord. The State Department, NSA, CIA, stockmarkets, the Pentagon, Nasa, all military installations will have an observer.

Two weeks later a deal is unveiled. Mr Obama becomes president, and co-commander-in-chief, with authority over the Army.

Mr McCain becomes vice-president and commander in chief of the Navy and Airforce. Mrs Palin occupies the new position of Prime Minister and Minister for Justice, which means the FBI reports to her. She immediately orders all agents to have their hair slicked back with moose oil. The security and intelligence services are placed under a three-person committee chaired by Mrs Palin. The other two members are impartial Russian consultants. Mr Putin quietly retires and takes up residence at Camp David to, according to aides, keep an eye on the implementation of the accord.

And that’s the Africa solution.

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