Recounting 2000

EIGHT years ago Carolyn and I were fortunate enough to be invited to the Democrat election night party at the Mayflower Hotel in Washington, DC. 

When Florida was called for Gore, I shared the large crowds elation. When the networks changed their mind and put the state back into Bush’s column, I got depressed and went to bed, assuming the worst. Expecting to hear the confirmed result when I woke up, I was astounded to hear about events unfolding in Florida.

Naturally, we had expected to know who had won the election by the next day, and certainly by the time we caught the plane home. But the drama of the 2000 US election was to continue for far longer than our holiday.

The drama of that time, and the anger and frustration I felt at the final outcome, came back to me this evening when I watched the excellent HBO TV movie, Recount. I thought it an appropriate thing to watch while waiting to go to the election night party being organised by Glasgow South Labour Party tonight at Queen’s Park FC.

Watching the film has not put me in a good or an optimistic mood. How could a nation with such a proud democratic tradition allow a presidential election to be effectively stolen? The cynicism and duplicity of the Republican establishment was truly dispiriting. For me, the bottom line was always that while the Democrats thought every vote should be counted, the Republicans didn’t. That should tell you everything you need to know about the Bush campaign in 2000.

What will tonight bring? I’m hoping for the best and preparing for the worst. Friends mock me because I refuse to allow myself to believe that Obama has it in the bag. But you never know. We won’t have to wait too long to find out. And I certainly hope we won’t have to wait as long as we did in 2000.

There will be alcohol served this evening, hence my decision not to do a live blog. Iain Dale looks like his coverage will be entertaining, so I’ll be logging on there.

Speak with you tomorrow, when we’ll be facing either a bright new tomorrow or Sarah Palin as vice-president elect.



Filed under Blogging, Politics, United States

3 responses to “Recounting 2000

  1. Oh yes DIMocracy

    Your 200o anger and frustration, has reminded me of the 2007 election where up to ten per cent of ballot papers were dismissed as spoilt, as Scottish voters appeared to have been confused by the complicated voting system.

  2. Quote:
    “Speak with you tomorrow, when we’ll be facing either a bright new tomorrow or Sarah Palin as vice-president elect.”

    What’s wrong with Sarah Palin exactly? She’s an experienced State Governor with real responsibility, as opposed to the mere Senators of Obama/Biden and McCain. Also, she’s been able to draw HUGE support from the lower middle and working classes… a constituency that I’d assume you’d have some sympthy for? Then again, these were simple honest working folk so perhaps not.

    Still, the news is in now and you’ve gotten your ‘bright new tomorrow’. Obama is the President Elect.

    I hope you’re pleased? Naturally you’ll choose to ignore the fact that Obama was able to buy the Presidency (how socialist) by out spending McCain twenty to one after breaking his promise to accept capped campaign funding. Nothing new there then.

    And no, I’m not bitter. I’m actually pleased Obama has won and its refreshing how many on the right have been quick to say so… A nice contrast to the tantrums and tears from the left when Bush won and dragged up again in your post above. I’m sure you’d be quite happy — in the interests of democracy naturally — if the Republicans seek the courts help in having ALL the votes recounted now instead of celebrating Obama’s win this morning? Nah, I thought not. We wouldn’t want to look too closely at all those dodgy Acorn duplicates now would we?

    Speaking of recounting votes; the Florida 2000 result wasn’t due to the simple bottom line (as you call it Tom) of the Democrats wanting to count every vote and that the Republicans didn’t. Quite the reverse. Bush argued that all votes should be counted but in a uniform consistent way across every disputed county/district. Gore instead argued that the different recounting standards which existed could be negated in cases of unclear votes (principally the hagging chads but also the butterfly ballots and electronic returns too) by attempting to guess the voter’s ‘intent’. Quite rightly and sensibly the US Supreme Court rejected that view by 7-2 and the subjective recount was cancelled. It may not have been the perfect end to an admittedly messy situation but I’d trust a Court’s handling of it over the devining rod solution put forward by Gore’s supporters.

    The fact is the USA’s “proud democratic tradition” has been perverted by vested interests and State politicians carving up and introducing ‘new, complicated and innovative’ voting methods. Florida (circa 2000) was the poster child for what can go wrong and should be a warning for us here in the UK too – postal ballots anyone?

    Neither the US Democrats nor the Labour Party have a particularly good record when it comes to elections or democracy so you’ll excuse me if I don’t take lessons from you.

  3. richard

    “Recount” was an excellent film but the bias was obviously towards the democrat campaign.

    The underlying story seemed to be of an underdog campaign stymied at every turn as they desperately tried to ensure that all votes were counted but it does have to be noted that Gore lost the ballot, he lost each recount, he was losing the hand recount and while there was some slim hope he could win back a few more votes if debatable ballots were included they would have had to breach election law to have enough time to recount all votes manually (with all the potential for vote-rgging that that entails).

    It’s also worth pointing out that Gore would have been a disastrous president. Having been elected in 2000 he would have immediately undertaken policies to try to prevent global warming based on his own bizarre beliefs and would have spent billions of dollars and would probably have crippled the US economy (costing trillions of dollars) in the process.

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