A recent post by a fellow who goes by the name of 'Reb' on CARM got me to thinking about the necessity of a post that demonstrates quite clearly that whatever you say about him, George W. Bush did NOT steal the 2000 Presidential election.
Some folks will do anything to advance their cause regardless how stupid it makes them appear. So it goes with the latest round of hopes that Al Gore will enter the race for the Democratic Presidential nomination in 2008. I've been on the record since 2001 stating that Gore would never run again if he did not run in 2004 and so far I'm right. But there is the still constant claim that George W. Bush somehow 'stole' the 2000 Presidential election from Gore and has governed for nearly seven years as a usurping puppet over the national and international affairs of the United States. Before going through my reasons why Bush did NOT steal the election from Gore as is often alleged, I need to enter a caveat.
The 2000 Presidential election was so close that partisans who lost could have made legitimate complaints regarding numerous issues surrounding the vote. If Gore had won, there would no doubt be some Republicans screaming that he had stolen the election from Bush. This is simply what happens in close elections. Therefore, I do not question the patriotism or judgment of a person who honestly believes that a series of factors could, in fact, have landed Gore in the White House. I'm addressing this primarily to the red-eyed partisans who insist that some sort of systematic coup dislodged Gore and placed Bush on the throne. This will be done in the format of ESPNS' "Top Five Reasons You Can't Blame." Thus, it is necessary to begin with the background story and contributing factors that did not make the top five list.
The 2000 Presidential election matched the incumbent Vice-President of the United States, Al Gore, against the governor of the nation's third most populous state, George W. Bush, who also happened to be the son of the last Republican President. Gore ran as a Democrat and Bush as a Republican. Early polls indicated that Gore was in serious trouble by virtue of an electorate hungry for change and release of the last scandal-plagued years of Bill Clinton. Coming out of the Republican Convention, Bush had a lead of 16 points. After the Democratic Convention, Gore gained a lead of about three to four points in most polls, and the race was on. On November 7, 2000, Gore won a little over half a million more popular votes than did Bush, but Bush triumphed in the Electoral College. It was the closest election in American history attested by the fact that had Bush lost ANY state he had won, Gore would have been President.
BEST OF THE REST: REASONS WHY GORE LOST
We begin first with reasons that did not make the Top Five listing.
1. Gore's stunning loss of West Virginia.
West Virginia has been one of the most reliably Democratic states ever since the election of Franklin Roosevelt in 1932. In fact, the only Republicans to win the state between 1932 and 2000 - a period of 68 years - were landslide winners nationally: Eisenhower in 1956, Nixon in 1972, and Reagan in 1984. Even when Carter was wiped out by Reagan in 1980, he carried West Virginia. Bush pulled something no Republican had done since Herbert Hoover - he won West Virginia without the virtue of a national landslide. Why did Bush win? Primarily because Gore's environmental stance threatened coal miners, and his anti-gun stance (that Gore carefully tried to hide) did not go over well in the Mountaineer State, either. It should be noted that if Gore had held this part of the Democratic base, there would have been no need whatsoever for a Florida recount.
2. Gore's bigger failure to win Tennessee
For all of the ink spilled regarding what did or did not happen in Florida, Gore's primary failure came when he lost his home state of Tennessee. How rare is this? No Presidential candidate had lost his home state since McGovern in 1972. And the last to candidate to win while losing his home state, Richard Nixon, lost his state of residency (New York) but not the state from whence he had migrated east, California.
3. The Ralph Nader Factor
It is, of course, undeniable that Ralph Nader's participation certainly cost Gore the state of Florida and may well have cost him the election. Those advocating this line of reasoning, however, have deficient mathematics; Gore would never have been Vice-President in the first place without the vote siphoning effect of H. Ross Perot in 1992. Thus, while I concede Nader as a factor, it is hard to resist that this is nothing more than a liberal attempt to have it both ways. Gore did indeed lose because of Nader, but he got elected Veep in the first place because of Perot. Six of one and half a dozen of the other.
BUT WAS THE ELECTION STOLEN?
It is interesting to note that for all of the papers written and opinions voiced on the subject, there has never been even an iota of proof that Bush stole the election. Those arguing this need to consider how illogical it makes them sound. Here are some rather inconvenient truths that put brighter light on the issue.
1) It was the Democrats - and not the Republicans - who argued they should be able to count only predominantly Democratic counties in an effort to find 537 votes to put Gore over the top. If what Gore truly wanted was a determiner of the winner, he would have immediately asked for - and received - a statewide hand recount of all of the ballots in Florida. The reason he did not ask for this is primarily because it was a fishing expedition as opposed to an attempt to determine the winner.
2) With the exception of Katherine Harris - Bush's campaign chairman in Florida who just happened to be the Secretary of State - every single person prior to the United States Supreme Court that put obstacles in Gore's way was a Democrat. The so-called butterfly ballot was designed by a Democrat, Theresa LePore (whom Democrats showed how well they take care of the 'little guy' by throwing her out of office the next election). The judge who refused to grant the recount, N. Sanders Sauls, was also a Democrat. All seven members of the Florida State Supreme Court were appointed by Democrat Lawton Chiles and three of those seven voiced ambivalence regarding a recount when the second appeal made its way back through the court system.
3. Why does nobody ever mention that of the nine justices on the United States Supreme Court, Gore had been involed as a Senator or Vice-President with seven of the nine while Bush had not been involved in the decision regarding any of the nine?
The nine Supreme Court justices were:
1. William Rhenquist (nominated by Nixon to the Court, by Reagan to Chief Justice and OPPOSED by Gore in 1986).
2. John Stevens
3. Sandra Day O'Connor
4. Antonin Scalia (nominated by Reagan and APPROVED by Gore).
5. Anthony Kennedy (nominated by Reagan and AVOIDED by Gore
6. David Souter (nominated by Bush and APPROVED by Gore)
7. Clarence Thomas (nominated by Bush and OPPOSED by Gore)
8. Ruth Bader Ginsburg (nominated by Clinton and SUPPORTED by Gore)
9. Steven Breyer (nominated by Clinton and SUPPORTED by Gore)
So a simple little look shows us that Gore supported or explicitly approved of four of the nine judges on the Supreme Court, avoided an opinion on another one, and opposed two, one of whom was already on the Court anyway.
Bush's involvement? I guess one might wish to argue that his father had nominated Souter and Thomas, which is true. But this goes by the wayside when you consider that Souter voted AGAINST his benefactor's son and in favor of finding a remedy to the recount situation in Florida. Of the four whom Gore supported, three of them sided with him and one with Bush.
4. The throw out every military ballot fiasco.
Gore undid himself further by sending a pack of lawyers to Florida to systematically disqualify as many absentee ballots as possible. This, of course, flew in the face of the mantra 'count every vote,' but at this point Gore and his followers began arguing legalities. They argued for 'fairness' and the 'benefit of the doubt' to the voter regarding hand counts in Democratic counties, but they turned around and wanted military ballots disqualified by virtue of the fact that 'technicalities' should be permitted to disqualify a group of votes that runs 7-3 in favor of the Republican candidate.
5. Finally, it is a simple FACT that Gore lost 32 of the 33 recounts conducted by the Miami Herald.
This is devastating to ANY claim that the election was somehow 'stolen.' To make matters worse for those arguing thusly, the Miami Herald endorsed Gore for President. Thirty-three hand recounts and the only way Gore wins - by a whopping nine votes - is using the most strict ballot standard that Gore vehemently opposed.
There are numerous other arguments. If you comment, I will deal with your statements. Thank you for reading.