Chronicle: Perry wins re-election by a negative landslide

Link to Houston Chronicle article here.

Perry wins re-election by a negative landslide
Houston Chronicle
November 8, 2006

Many years ago a columnist — I think it was Russell Baker of the New York Times — came up with exquisite election reform. He proposed that by each candidate’s name we would have two levers.

This was in ancient times when we voted by pulling, not by touching. One lever would be for that candidate. The other lever would be against.

You were permitted to pull only one lever in each contest, but you would get to pull it with more conviction.
A candidate might win by a total of minus 3.2 million to minus 3.5 million.

The winners would be the same. We would just have a better measure of their support.

No officeholders ever attempted to enact the suggestion into law (are you surprised?) but the governor’s race this year gave us the closest approximation I’ve seen.

Rick Perry is still the governor, and he likes to say he is the governor of all the people. But the results are in: A majority don’t want him as their governor.

Not just a majority, but a percentage that would be described as a landslide if as many people had voted for him as voted against him.

Some Democrats are under the illusion that if Kinky Friedman and Carole Keeton Strayhorn had not run, Chris Bell might have won the election.

He wouldn’t have, even if some wealthy trial lawyers had poured in a few million more bucks. All those Kinky and Carole voters would not have voted for Bell.

Some would have voted against him by touching Perry on the screen. Some would have voted against Perry by touching Bell on the screen.

And some would have stayed home.
And it would have looked like Perry won by a landslide, just like it did four years ago when he won with 58 percent of the vote.

The illusion might have put Perry on the shortlist of Republican vice-presidential candidates in 2008.
But a red-state governor who can’t crack 40 percent? Not a chance.

If Gov. Perry was the winner who lost, Mayor Bill White was the non-candidate who won. His Proposition G, opposed by conservative Republicans, passed easily.