- The Washington Times - Thursday, September 27, 2001

Who won in 2000?
Yesterday we told of the "modest" voter-turnout jump (almost 10 million more voting Americans) in the 2000 presidential election albeit nearly half the nation still failed to vote.
That means neither candidate for president received more than a quarter of the votes of eligible Americans (Al Gore at 24.8 percent and George W. Bush at 24.5 percent).
The one state with record-high voter turnout Alaska was overshadowed by six record lows: Arizona, Hawaii, Idaho, New Jersey, Oklahoma and South Dakota. And despite the motor-voter law and increasing availability of on-line registration forms, voter registration declined by two percentage points to an estimated 65 percent of eligibles.
Democratic Party registration, meanwhile, continued its steady 36-year decline.
And the Republican Party also had little to brag about, despite faring better than Democrats in 2000.
"These trends tend to point to the increased fragility of the current two-party regime, in general, and to continuing and deepening problems for the Democratic Party, in particular," says the Committee for the Study of the American Electorate (CSAE), which provides us with the latest 2000 figures.
Curtis Gans, director of the CSAE, says while Republicans can take a bow for having "out-organized the Democrats" in 2000, third parties and independents continue an equally steady 40-year rise in voter registrations.
"In the turnout wars, Republicans did better than Democrats," says the committee, considering the Republican Party increased its turnout in every state and the District of Columbia; the Democratic Party increased turnout in 29 states and the District, but lost turnout in 21 states, even from the depressed levels of 1996; and the Republicans had greater turnout increases than the Democrats in every state except Delaware, Maryland and the District of Columbia.
"Part of this is due to the depressed levels of GOP turnout in 1996," says Mr. Gans. "But it is also in large measure due to the GOP willingness to spend relatively large sums of hard party money on voter identification and get-out-the-vote activity, while the Democrats tend to rely more on outside groups labor, African Americans and environmentalists, among other groups to do their work for them."

Letter home
When it was commissioned in Norfolk earlier this year, the guided-missile destroyer USS Winston S. Churchill not only became the only active U.S. warship named after a foreigner, as a show of good will with Britain, it also became the only U.S. military vessel to have a Royal Navy officer permanently assigned on board.
Last month, with much fanfare, the unique naval vessel departed on a goodwill tour of Britain, escorted Aug. 23 into the harbor of Portsmouth, England. Now, that goodwill tour has been postponed, and like all other U.S. Navy ships, the USS Winston S. Churchill remains on high alert.
That said, we reprint a portion of a letter an ensign stationed aboard the Churchill sent to his father. It needs no further introduction:
"Well, we are still out at sea, with little direction as to what our next priority is. The remainder of our port visits, which were to be centered around max liberty and good will to the United Kingdom, have all but been cancelled. We have spent every day since the attacks going back and forth within imaginary boxes drawn in the ocean, standing high-security watches, and trying to make the best of our time
"We have seen the articles and the photographs [of the World Trade Center and Pentagon attacks], and they are sickening. Being isolated as we are, I don't think we appreciate the full scope of what is happening back home, but we are definitely feeling the effects.
"About two hours ago, the junior officers were called to the bridge to conduct shiphandling drills. We were about to do a 'man overboard' when we got a call from the 'Lutjens,' a German warship that was moored ahead of us on the pier in Plymouth, England. While in port, the Winston S. Churchill and the Lutjens got together for a sports day/cookout on our fantail, and we made some pretty good friends. Now at sea, they called over on bridge-to-bridge, requesting to pass us close up on our port side, to say goodbye.
"We prepared to render them honors on the bridgewing, and the captain told the crew to come topside to wish them farewell. As they were making their approach, our conning officer announced through her binoculars that they were flying an American flag. As they came even closer, we saw that it was flying at half-mast [and] the entire crew of the German ship were manning the rails, in their dress blues. They had made up a sign that was displayed on the side that read 'We Stand By You.'
"Needless to say there was not a dry eye on the bridge as they stayed alongside us for a few minutes and we cut our salutes. It was probably the most powerful thing I have seen in my entire life and more than a few of us fought to retain our composure. The German Navy did an incredible thing for this crew, and it has truly been the highest point in the days since the attacks. After the ship pulled away and we prepared to begin our man-overboard drills, the officer of the deck turned to me and said, 'I'm staying Navy.'

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