The Election of 2000, Ten Years Later

by Ryan on November 7, 2010

in Law,Media,Media Bias,Nostalgia,Politics

Shortly after 8:50pm on the evening of November 7, 2000, I became very nervous.  MSNBC decided to call the state of Florida for Democrat presidential nominee Vice President Al Gore, though they admitted it was very close.  Texas Governor and Republican nominee George W. Bush needed Florida’s 25 Electoral votes along with either Ohio or Pennsylvania to stay competitive based on pre-election polling.

However, polling hadn’t yet closed on the Panhandle at the time of the call.  Also, later in the evening Bush pulled ahead in the popular vote and suddenly the networks raced to reverse themselves.  Then word came that an automatic recount might be in play.  What about irregularities with the military, absentee, and those crazy punch card ballots?  The lawyers lined up and a whole new battle began!

It was going to be a long night.

Politically, that night lasted until December 12, when the Supreme Court had to step in and say:  1. the Florida Supreme Court acted beyond its authority in rewriting recount election law after the election (7-2 decision by the way); and 2. the November 26 certified popular vote number would have to hold as a result (that’s the 5-4 everyone speaks of).  Governor Bush would be our 43rd President.

The “hanging chad” was a phrase that entered our lexicon and suspicion of the new President lingered on for many to this day:  he didn’t get more votes than Algore, his brother was Florida’s governor, what the heck is the Electoral College? etc.  Bush looked like a one-term President, like every other one who split the popular and Electoral vote.  However, the most exciting post-election action in 124 years started a decade ago.

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