An Inclusive Litany


Andrew Sullivan in the Sunday Times of London, November 11, 2000:
The great divides that have left the whole nation in limbo

The election shows how America is split between town and country, man and woman, black and white.

If you can, cast your mind back to what India looked like before Pakistan and Bangladesh split off. A vast subcontinent, overwhelmingly Hindu, was framed by a Muslim necklace.

Now look at the current electoral map of the United States. It's a vast continent, overwhelmingly conservative, with a liberal fringe up and down the Pacific Coast, sprawling along the Canadian border with a blob around Chicago, and then on to the northeast corridor and further south to Florida's easternmost shore.

If last week's election proved anything, it is that America is currently two nations, as culturally and politically alien as they are geographically distinct. You have the coasts and the heartland, cities and countryside, elites and masses, men and women. In each pair, one means Republican, the other means Democrat.

Sullivan again, writing for a different audience, on a different continent, in the New York Times, November 26, 2000:
Two Nations, Undivided

If you take a look at that remarkable postelection map, in which all of George W. Bush's states are red, and all of Al Gore's states are blue, you would be forgiven for thinking that we live in essentially two nations. A friend recalled the map of pre-independence India: a vast, red Hindu subcontinent adorned with a Muslim necklace in the regions that would shortly become Pakistan and Bangladesh.... The professional political classes' careers were at stake, but many others saw it as a bitter fight over not very much.... The distinctions between the major candidates were, on a cosmic level, trivial... It's easier, of course, to put them into neat, little boxes: red and blue, right and left, heartland and coasts. But if this election showed anything, it is that the political need for this simplicity is almost proportional to its disappearance in our lives.

Sullivan, back in the Sunday Times of London, the same day:
Gore plots next step in 'legal coup'

This endgame is enough to make any fair-minded person realise that Gore is a danger to the country and the constitution. He is beginning to make Richard Nixon look magnanimous and Bill Clinton look honest. I once believed that he was a good man, of serious purpose and honest intent. That belief is no longer tenable.

He is a coldly ambitious man who is prepared to hold the country hostage to this trauma indefinitely and destroy his party's slow march back to the centre of American politics in the process.

We should all be praying that he does not make it to the White House.

Again, Sullivan, the next day in the New Republic:

So relax and enjoy. As I write, I still don't know who will be president-elect. But you know what? It doesn't matter that much. The differences are now so small that it will matter little who walks away with the Oval Office.

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