Bush/Gore 2000: What I Missed in My Short-Sightedness

The biggest mistake I made during the 2000 election was to not notice what was going on in Florida, because to me by that point it didn't matter. Since I felt there's wasn't a toilet-paper square's worth of difference between Bush and Gore, I spent time laughing with most of the rest of Americans about dimpled chads and butterfly ballots. I should have at least cared enough that justice be done in Florida. I didn't. It wasn't. I'm sorry.

The year 2000 was when I developed my theory of two speeding cars. It doesn't matter if the Bush car is going 90 MPH toward a cliff and the Gore car is going 100 MPH--both of them will crash and burn when they hit the bottom. When my candidate, Alan Keyes, was aced out of the election by an Establishment-compliant media, I stopped caring.

I shouldn't have. I learned about my mistake as I recently watched the documentary Unprecedented, which describes what went on in Florida in the 2000 election. I wish I had paid more attention then.

If Al Gore had become president, would we still have been attacked on 9/11? Probably. Would we have reacted in the same shameful way that we did in Iraq? I'm not sure. But Unprecedented makes a very good case that Al Gore should have been the 43rd president. However, mistakes by the Gore campaign, coupled with the Bush campaign juggernaut, conspired to install George W. Bush on the ever-more-gilded American throne.

While watching Unprecedented, I saw what a real butterfly ballot looked like. The ballots as printed posed a distinct disadvantage to Al Gore. Many of these ballots were not counted because of "overvoting", where someone voted for more than one candidate for

The only thing I think went right was the 5-4 Supreme Court decision that the Florida Supreme Court had arbitrarily set aside dates by which recounts must be completed.

president--probably after noticing their mistake. Thousands of such overvotes were not counted even though Al Gore's name had been written in the write-in spot at the bottom of the ballot.

It was easy to laugh at a dimpled chad back then. Chads weren't dimpled because voters were stupid, as we were led back then to believe. They were dimpled because previous confetti from the voting machines had not been cleaned out of the machines.

Florida Secretary of State Katherine Harris was also the George W. Bush campaign manager for the state of Florida. Harris declared the recount to be over, and she was the one that awarded the victory to her candidate.

The state of Florida paid $4 million to a company called Database Technologies

Mistakes by the Gore campaign, coupled with the Bush campaign juggernaut, conspired to install George W. Bush on the ever-more-gilded American throne.

to identify voters who were not legally allowed to vote because of previous felony convictions. Florida required Database Technology to use loose matching algorithms, which caused thousands of extra people--non-felons--to be struck from the voter rolls.

The most bizarre development in the whole fiasco was the way the Gore campaign reacted. Instead of asking for a recount in the entire state, Gore asked for a recount in only those four counties where both improprieties had occurred and where his campaign stood to gain the most. When Secretary of State/Campaign Manager Harris declared the victory for Bush, Gore almost immediately acquiesced, leaving thousands of protesters and Gore supporters in the lurch.

The only thing I think went right was the 5-4 Supreme Court decision that the Florida Supreme Court had arbitrarily set aside dates by which recounts must be completed, which were specified in Florida law. It turned out to be bad law, but it was law nonetheless, and the U.S. Supreme Court had no other choice but to see that it was upheld.

To me, and to America, it wouldn't probably have made a hill of beans' difference whether Al Gore had gotten elected president in 2000, because he's an Establishment man just like the other guy. Except for the fact that from a fairness and justice perspective the election was stolen from him.

I wish I had been paying more attention to this travesty. I will from now on, no matter how bad both candidates stink.




Comments

  1. Did you see the HBO movie "Recount"?

    The butterfly ballot was a mistake made by Palm Beach County Democrats. They thought the larger print would help elderly voters with poor eyesight.

    Pat Buchanan is still laughing about the 3,407 votes he got, mostly by mistake.

    The movie also dramatizes how James Baker totally outmaneuvered the Gore people.

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  2. I appreciate this. While I didn't vote for either candidate either (my first vote for Nader), I was incredibly dismayed at the means by which the Bush machine circumvented the process. More than who won, I was concerned with making sure that the election process was allowed to work fairly. What a foreshadowing of how this administration would operate.

    Now how do we ensure that such a fiasco never again occurs?

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