COLUMN: Trying to reason in political season

Andy Stempki, Captain's Log
Andy Stempki captured this photo of Mitt Romney at the rally.

Governor Mitt Romney made landfall on the Emerald Coast on Saturday that brought almost 11,000 Gulf Coasters to the Pensacola Bay Center. His presence was preceded by the band “Mass Confusion,” a curiously named opening act.

With all the whirlwind madness surrounding the presidential election this year, we all take shelter knowing that on Nov. 6, we’ll finally get to breathe a collective sigh of relief as this political storm passes over us.

But what if the election chaos only begins on Nov. 6?

There was a tense feeling in the air as Governor Romney spoke for nearly 45 minutes in Pensacola, urging the packed house that he would “take back America and create a real recovery.” He made his case with only 10 days until Election Day amidst tightening national polls. He was also joined onstage by Senator Marco Rubio and Senate hopeful Connie Mack.

I’ve said it for months that the U.S. presidential election will go into December, making the Bush/Gore debacle merely a primer for this experience.

Here’s why I think this is going to happen.

I have been predicting a major weather event since late summer that would affect the election. I thought a hurricane would brew up and hit south Florida. We know when voter turnout is high, Democrats have an advantage. I never could have predicted that a Storm of the Century would come barreling down on the Northeast — a Democratic stronghold.

If this storm lands a punch in that area, it is reasonable to conclude that the swing states of Pennsylvania and New Hampshire would suffer the storm’s impacts.

We all know from our hurricane experience that for several days after these storms, we are still digging out, and our lives are restricted. It could leave people unable to reach the polls and, if power is still out, most electronic voting equipment would be rendered useless. (On a joyous side note for those people, if the power is out, TV’s won’t work making political ads mute and moot.)

But here’s the catch.

From what I’ve been able to research, the governors of those states could postpone the election for 14 days (which could become a disaster in itself) or, most importantly, if the elections ARE held and inabilities to vote existed on Election Day, Congress could refuse to accept those state’s electoral votes on the basis that people’s right were infringed and there was not equal protection under the law.

After all long bitter season, we all know the turbulent atmospheric conditions that exist in this race. The pressure between both candidates is intense.

Between the raucous debates, super PAC ads, and a litany of other attacks, the conditions are ripe for intensification. The straits between these two ideological land masses are boiling hot and when these states’ vote counts fall into the eye of the illegitimate legality — all legal hell could break loose.

At the rally, I was able to track down Jill Bader, a spokesman for the Romney campaign, and asked her if the Republican presidential candidate has taken heed of “Frankenstorm,” as it’s being called because of its closeness to Halloween. “Well you asked me the only question I don’t have an answer for,” she responded.

I had the pleasure of sitting next to veteran presidential campaign reporter and FoxNews correspondent John Roberts. When I pitched my nightmare scenario to him, his chin stopped chewing the wad of gum between his teeth. It took him a minute to digest and he replied with a hastened voice, “Don’t even say that.”

“Campaign” Carl Cameron assured me that the courts would never recognize the storm or its aftermath as a legitimate reason to reject the electoral votes.

Like many of you, I’ve been glued to the television watching this presidential race since last December.

After the rally, I returned back to the comfy Harbor House in Destin where I enjoyed a quiet sunset sail aboard Emerald Lady. Jimmy Buffet’s song, “Trying to Reason in Hurricane Season” suddenly wandered into my head and lyrics seem to ring eerily foreboding.

“I must confess, I could use some rest, I can’t run at this pace very long. It’s quite insane, I think it hurts my brain, but it cleans me out then I can go on.”

Andy Stempki is a regular Log contributor, captain and Destin city council candidate.