By Gary Deering
The following word problem was reported to have been seen in a Japanese math textbook for Third Graders (we have been unable to verify this but you can still try and solve the problem on your own rather than wait for us to also find the answer supplement to the rumored text).
A mathematics professor from Iowa, USA has formularized and accurately predicted the winner of every United States presidential 'eerection for the past two or three decades. NOT the Professor's formula, but the "fact" of it was presented to the United States populace by their mass media via one of their popular TV "news" magazine hours during the month of October, 2000 just before their November 7th quaternion annual Presidential ee-lec-shun. In this report the American people's media showed them how this uncannily capable Iowa Professor predicted that the incumbent party's candidates for President and Vice President --Given the good, healthy, robust political-economic context existing in the United States at the turn of the century-- would win the 2000 election 'hands-down' by getting 54.5% of the popular vote.
(You have to remember that this was prior to the actual election and the American media pundits were as convinced of this as much as anything that they have ever been convinced of. It was, after all, a mathematical formula that had worked extremely well in the past and the fact that you can't formularize human volition is an entirely different issue. That is, if you could unerringly predict the volitional it wouldn't be volitional. Yet, "behavior" based on choices is predict-able. It is predictable in the same sense as a good nõjõ (farmer) can "predict" certain aspects about swine behavior based on the fact that: pigs can't fly (and the smart nõjõ's then do NOT waste time constructing roofs over their outdoor pigpens to keep their stock from flying away). The pundit-know-it-all attitude is not, therefore, of necessity unfounded. Pundits spend lots and lots of time thinking --thinking is good-- about the things they pundit about and lots of times they know what they are talking about. They don't always know (nor do we) what effect their punditing has on the outcome of the events they are punditing about but still lots of times they are or can be accurate in their speculations. And this time they were pretty darn adamant that this election was a sure thing for the incumbent ticket. Now some may argue here that this very Professor-in-Iowa media event got those "on-the-fence" Bush supporters resolute and out...to vote. But, be that as it may, you can't count us among those who would so argue.)
So the problem remains. Since the Gore-Lieberman incumbent ticket only got 49.x% of the vote and the challenger Bush-Cheney ticket got 49.y% of the vote, HOW MANY POPULAR VOTES did Gore REALLY loose? (Do not confuse these "lost" votes with the "lost" ballots in the people's State of Florida. And don't waste any time here wondering why the Americans haven't yet (given the fact stated by one of Florida's own Supreme Court judges that Florida has been involved in some fashion in every Presidential voting problem that has occurred in the United States since 1800) why they haven't yet kicked Florida out of the --voting-- Union. Don't waste the time here because regardless of some American's feelings, this is not the American way.).
As an aid to answering the question, assume that the two main tickets got 100 million votes combined and that this total remains constant for the two main tickets. (Approximate the number of popular votes Gore-Lieberman got over and above Bush-Cheney in the actual election to be about 200,000.)
a) 10 points
Calculate how many popular votes Gore SHOULD HAVE gotten but DID NOT and hence how many popular votes he really lost. Take it as a given by the know-it-all-American-media that The Professor's empirically formulated and predicted 54.5% should have been how many popular votes the incumbent Gore - Lieberman ticket would have gotten had they NOT been who they were.
b) 20 points
Who were they? (to have lost so many votes? This is actually a multiple choice, not essay, question. See follow on XTRA CREDIT question for the essay question.)
So, (choose ONE of the following) they were ____.
a) "baggage" stewards for the soon to be traveling President Clinton
b) liars in their own right
c) a liar and a non-liar adding up to a zero
f) shinning examples of the propensity to tell-lies-as-required to get your way that all of America (or at least the ones who were awake during the campaign) discovered first hand about the Professional Democrat and that was confirmed by film footage on Ted Kopel's Nightline a couple of weeks before the 2001 Presidential Inauguration of the non-incumbent ticket.
g) AOA (All Of Above)
h) NOA (None of Above)
Part 2 (30 points)
Show your work for Part 1a.
XTRA CREDIT (40 points): Write a 1 megabyte or so "paper" on the question: Why did the incumbent party (Gore-Lieberman) loose so many popular votes? Be sure to incorporate your answer from Part 1b into your answer here.
In lieu of waiting for the discovery of the answer supplement (which may never be found since the existence of the textbook itself is only a rumor) you can click on the following to see the author's answers:
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