By 5 p.m. EST (2 p.m. on the Pacific Coast), Bush HQ will know whether Kentucky and Indiana?key states?are lost. If it looks like they are going down the drain, then the White House will flash the go-ahead, and the U.S. Northern Command (which has military jurisdiction over the U.S.) will, along with the Homeland Security Department and California authorities, declare an imminent terrorist threat.
Polls will remain open, but everyone will be trying to get out of urban centers as fast as they can. Traffic jams will cause panic and make people change their plans to vote after work. "A number of working-class voters in urban centers," Madsen theorizes, "will either be caught up in California's infamous freeway traffic and be too late to get to their polling places or be more concerned about their families and avoid voting altogether."
The people mostly likely thrown off balance who will decide not to vote will be middle- and low-income Californians?the Democratic base. Well-to-do voters (Republicans, more often than not) will likely have cast their ballots early.
By reducing the turnout among urban Democrats, Bush HQ will thus be manipulating the state's 54 votes into the Republican column. If things get worse for Bush as the Eastern vote comes in, the "terrorist alert" can be expanded to Washington state, where panicky rush-hour traffic jams in cities like Seattle can reduce the Democratic vote there, too.