Another email received today is: "Good news from Australia." This one is not about a new drug, but a note that "Prime Minister John Howard and the conservatives have been returned with an increased majority." In America, last night, we were absorbed in a mere preliminary to our own election and, in typical fashion, ignored the Australian election. I did go over to Tim Blair's blog to try to get a feeling for the Australian election, but I got distracted immediately by a blogpoll he has there: "Teresa Heinz Kerry calls her private plane the Flying Squirrel. What might she re-name Air Force One if her husband is elected?"
Meanwhile, the Afghan election is taking place today, and there is controversy over the ink used to mark voters' thumbs. The NYT reports that all of Karzai's challengers are "vowing to boycott the results." Supposedly, at one point the wrong ink was applied to voters' thumbs, making it possible for them to clean it off and revote. Why assume revoters are for Karzai and not his challengers? The answer would seem to be that the challengers already expect to lose to Karzai, and they are setting up their basis for challenging the results even before they hear them. But isn't this part of American-style democracy? I expect to hear all sorts of claims of fraud made while our election next month is in process. Who can simply accept the results anymore? These days, there must be an elaborate, contentious post-election phase to magnify the losers' discontent. The only hope to avoid that is a wide margin of victory. That hope seems better in Afghanistan than in the U.S.