Sandra Day O’Connor has been in the news about her stated doubts about the 2000 Bush v. Gore decision. I don’t feel like offering an analysis of something that has already been analyzed to death. The facts are obvious, if one cares to look.
I’ll simply point out three issues.
First, there is the recount issue. The recount was stopped by the Supreme Court, but that was just one problem among many. Even Gore wasn’t demanding a full recount nor did he fight the Supreme Court decision. What did Gore gain by taking a dive?
Studies show a state-wide full recount would have shown Gore to be the winner of Florida and so the winner of the presidential election. The popular vote doesn’t necessarily win elections because of how our system operates. Nonetheless, Gore won the popular vote both in Florida and across the nation.
I say this as someone who voted for Nader and generally can’t stand the Democratic Party, Gore included. It is ultimately Gore’s fault. If he had demanded a full recount, he’d at least not be complicit in the undermining of American democracy.
Second, the media played a massive role in the entire incident.
The MSM called it for Gore which probably impacted those who were deciding at the last minute whether to vote or not. More importantly, like Gore, the MSM didn’t do much to challenge the belief that Bush won. They often pushed hard for the assumption that a full recount wouldn’t have mattered.
This all demonstrates the corruption and/or failure of the entire system. Complicity in the stolen election involved the MSM along with both parties, the Supreme Court, Congress and the local Florida officials. Such a massive failure of the system won’t recover easily. When democracy fails in a democracy, what is the next step? When a democracy demonstrates it has become a Banana Republic, what then? Revolution?
Third, a Harris poll done back in 2000 gave some very surprising results.
The first question was: “If everyone who tried to vote in Florida had their votes counted for the candidate who they thought they were voting for — with no misleading ballots and infallible voting machines — who do you think would have won the election, George W. Bush or Al Gore?” Only 40% thought Bush would have won and 49% thought Gore would have won. Even more bizarre, almost 25%(1 in 5) Republicans either thought Gore won or chose ‘Not sure/Refused’ as their answer; and of that 25%, there were specifically 11% (more than 1 in 10) Republicans who thought Gore won.
If that poll wasn’t just a fluke, the results are amazing. The very careful wording of the question might be a key element. The question made clear that it was asking in terms of democracy actually functioning and in terms of a state-wide full recount.