The recap of the United States presidential elections of 2000 reveals it was one the most controversial election ever. The Democratic Party candidate Al Gore lost narrowly to the, Republican George W.
Bush with a controversial small number of votes. Although the election was based on real issues that ranged from the international affairs, foreign policy, ethics and morality, they were overshadowed by the results at the count of the final vote. Al Gore enjoyed the popular vote but lost to George Bush because he lacked in the electoral votes. To the run up of the elections, opinion polls had predicted a closely run presidential race and it was not clear who would win the day.
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Al Gore had been nominated in the Democratic Party ticket and was groomed to succeed the outgoing democratic elect president bill Clinton. He defeated Senator Bill Bradley from New Jersey. From the start, Al Gore was receiving major endorsements from economic and political heavy weights in the party.
Opinion polls used to show him as a front runner as majority of the people thought him of being tested and armed with necessary experience to propel America to greater heights, having been a vice president to Bill Clinton.
In the Republican Party, George Bush was the party’s favorite. Potential aspirants in the party could not stand against him. To the traditional republican standards, George Bush was the right candidate. He was the son of a former President, Bush Senior, and the outgoing governor in one of the most populous state in America.
Bush won the nomination by a large margin with his major competitor dogged with scandals that saw his support in the party plummet before the nominations. Bush’s running mate was Dick Cheney.
The run up campaigns to elections were as heated as the elections themselves. The Republican themselves could be seen running advertisements that were favoring Ralph Nader, an independent candidate.
This was an open bid to split the Democrats or the leftwing vote. Al Gore and Ralph Nader drew their support from the same people as they were espousing to tackle similar issues. The Republican had recognized a real threat from Al Gore and knew that if they drew on the obvious similarities, they could split the vote into two and secure a Republican win.
The main differences that were propelling both parties were drawn from the issue of morality. Republicans traditionally have all along been at the fore front in safeguarding the morals in the society. Bush could also be heard making a scathing attack on the Democrats because of the Clintons scandal, vowing to restore morality in the nation and especially in the White House. However, despite the differences, both candidates were locked in a tight race as would be reflected in the elections that ensued.
The preliminary reports on the elections on November 7 indicated that they were unexceptionally close. As expected, Bush had won decisively in the southern states and also in the rural states. Al Gore had recorded an early lead in the north eastern states.
There were a number of states that were recording closely contested race but it became clear that it was in the state of Florida that the next president of the United States was to be announced. It is this state that remained the centre of focus as it held the key to deadlock. All the worlds’ eyes were glued on the outcome of the vote counting, for a period of close to one month.
Initial reports by the media based on exit polls had indicated that Al Gore had taken the lead after clocking 25 electoral votes. A recap of the votes indicated that indeed Bush was ahead of Gore.
After the media retracted the misleading news they were to place and declare that Bush was leading in Florida with a close but a decisive win. These reports too were misleading as the three Democrats rich counties had not completed their vote count and there were indications that Gore was closing in the gap.
The media was to again retract the news on Bush’s lead and win. By the close of the day, Gore had closed in and the difference lay at 500 votes and he ordered a mandatory recount in a number of counties and also sought legal intervention.
The United States Supreme Court quashed the complaints and gave a go ahead to the Florida state to announce the results. George Bush was announced the winner in the Florida state.
Wardle, Claire and Kate Kinks and Dan Orr, August 2001
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