Sunday, March 11, 2007

That Dead Nag of 2000 Beaten Again

A recent posting about, of all things, the Academy Awards, sent me into a tizzy. The fellow who writes the blog is a lawyer and a Liberal, and in passing he speaks of Al Gore being "robbed" of the presidency. You'd think a guy who went to enough school to become a lawyer would know better.

The Liberal chant of "Selected, not elected" and snide comments -- as though they were fact -- that Bush "stole" the election of 2000 still comes up often enough that I want to articulate a short, factual argument that explains what happened in a clear, straightforward manner.

"Al Gore got more votes than Bush." Gore got more of the popular vote. However, the President of the United States is won in the
electoral college, not by a popular vote. This is established in Article II of the U.S. Constitution. Each state legislature determines how its electoral votes will be determined and apportioned. (Note: this becomes very important later in the story.) Most states have a "winner take all" system, so a candidate gets all a state's electoral votes, even if he wins by as little as a 50.1% - 49.9% margin. The candidate with fewer popular votes also won the Presidency in 1876 and 1888. (Note: George Bush still got more votes than Bill Clinton ever did.)

"The U.S. Supreme Court 'selected' Bush." The timeline on this is fairly straightforward.

November 7, 2000 (Election day.) The networks call the vote for the state of Florida for Gore, saying he's the winner before the polls are closed in the Florida panhandle, traditionally a Republican stronghold. (How many Republicans shrugged their shoulders and didn't vote after hearing the news? Might this have given Bush more of the popular vote?) Later, after more votes start coming in, they slam on the breaks and call it for Bush.

Nov 8, 2000 - Early in the morning, Gore concedes. Forty-five minutes later he calls back and unconcedes. His lawyers start screaming for recounts.

Nov 10, 2000 - Bush wins the election in the first recount.

Nov 14, 2000 - Section 102.111 of Florida state election law says that any county returns "not 5:00 p.m. of the seventh day following an election...shall be ignored." Today's the day. Those counties' ballots being recounted would be considered "not received."

Nov 16-17, 2000 - The Florida Supreme Court rules that the counties can continue the recounts (contrary to Florida law,) and order Florida Secretary of State Katherine Harris not to certify the results yet. Remember that pesky Section 102.111? The Florida Supreme Court has just ordered Harris to violate it. By extending the deadline to Nov 26, they have changed "seven" to "nineteen."

Nov 18, 2000 - After absentee ballots are counted, Bush wins the election after the second recount.

Nov 21, 2000 - The Florida Supreme Court gives counties five more days to finish their recounts.

Nov 26, 2000 - After the Florida Supreme Court's deadline passes, Secretary Harris certifies the election results and Bush wins by 537 votes.

Nov 27, 2000 - Gore sues to nullify the Florida election. The hearing is set for December 2. On December 4, the judge rules against Gore.

Dec 7, 2000 - Gore appeals to the Florida Supreme Court, which rules again (contrary to Florida law) that recounts can continue in specific counties.

Dec 12, 2000 - The U.S. Supreme Court reverses the Florida Supreme Court's ruling, in effect saying that the ruling violated the Constitution, and that the recounts should stop. Bush wins.

The point of this long series of events is that Florida law, established by the Florida legislature (in accordance with the U.S. Constitution) before the election, was changed by the Florida Supreme Court after the election. (Note: all seven judges on the Florida Supreme Court were appointed by Democrats.) It should never have got that far.

Additionally, Bush won the election in every single official count. Later, a consortium of media did some "what-ifs" with the ballots, and Bush won most of those also. Only by applying extraordinary acrobatics to the ballots did Gore ever win.

Whenever a Liberal starts this nonsense all over again, you have my permission to simply call him a "
stupid head."

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