October 7, 2016

Why didn't Gore contest 2000 election? Shenanigans of their own?

The 2000 election took place well into the polarized partisan era, so why was there so little of a struggle between the two parties when the outcome was still up in the air after the vote was in?

The incumbent party was the apparent loser, so they should have wielded incumbent advantage in one way or another to squash the challenger party. Its candidate was the next-in-line ally of one of the most ruthless political clans in recent history (the challenger was from the other), so they should have had the killer instinct.

The incumbent party won the popular vote, had rising momentum going from its first to its second term, suggesting a win for the attempt at a third term. And the Electoral College race was about as close as you could get, all hinging on merely hundreds of votes in a very populous state -- which by the most extensive method of recounting, would have swung the state and the entire election to the incumbent party.

Instead, Al Gore declined to contest to the death the shutting down of the recount in Florida, surrendering the White House to the Republicans and the Bush clan in particular once again. Why risk another long string of Republican victories?

Remember that Clinton's terms only looked like an interregnum at best back then -- aside from the deeply unpopular Jimmy Carter, who got dethroned after a single term, and damn near got primaried out of his re-election campaign by Ted Kennedy, it was Republicans from Nixon in '68 through Bush in '88. In the documentary about the Clinton '92 campaign, The War Room, there's a scene where James Carville is trying to fire up the team before the New Hampshire primary, warning them that if they let this go, a Democrat will never win the White House again. After so many McGoverns, Carters, Mondales, and Dukakises, that's how bleak their party's prospects looked.

After only clawing back the presidency for two measly terms, why would the Democrats just hand it over to the Republicans for at least four and perhaps eight more years?

What people have remembered about the recount is that "if everything had been fair," Gore would have won Florida and the election.

Certainly he would have won Florida -- but who says the election? That's assuming that halting the Florida recount was the only event of unfairness that won a state for the wrong party.

Perhaps there were the usual shenanigans by the Democrat urban machines, or rigging the voting machines themselves, or electronically altering the data, or whatever else. If the Democrats pushed hard for fair process in Florida, they would open themselves up to counter-pushes against their own unfair practices in other states.

They would not have wanted to risk airing so much dirty laundry, delegitimizing not just the electoral process (which they don't care about), but more importantly their brand as a party. This could have kept them from pursuing the crusade to "make everything fair" even if they still would have won the election. It would have been almost impossible to govern with so much anti-democratic trickery on both sides being aired in public.

And it's also possible that they would have still lost, even after winning Florida. There were four states that the Democrats won by under 1 point, whose EC votes added up to 30 -- more than enough to outweigh the 25 votes of Florida. These were New Mexico, Wisconsin, Iowa, and Oregon. The margin in numbers of votes was 300-some in New Mexico, and between 4000 to 7000 in the other three -- not impossible for an urban machine to come up with by unsupervised tampering, dead people voting, voters from outside the state, etc. In fact, New Mexico could be left out, and the other three would still make up 25 votes to perfectly replace Florida.

Two of those states were in fact won by Bush in the very next election, New Mexico and Iowa. So who's to say he didn't get robbed in '00?

I'm not saying there was such a degree of fraud in those four states (or other blue states). I'm saying that Gore and the Democrat leadership probably didn't know for sure either. The party elites don't know how the lowly precinct officials conducted themselves in Albuquerque, Milwaukee, Portland, and Davenport. That's all they needed -- a great big deal of uncertainty that would at the least expose all sorts of election fraud by their party, and at most rob them of these states, nullifying the gain of Florida in their supposed pursuit of total fairness.

It's hard to think of a convincing explanation, given what we know about how ruthless and heatedly partisan the top Democrats were, and how little of a fight it would supposedly have taken to win the election -- just recount votes in Florida! The most plausible conclusion is that they would have been found to have committed even more severe crimes of the same kind that they were accusing their enemies of.


  1. I think of it a bit differently.

    Gore was never part of the Clinton's inner circle. He was given much responsibility for a VP, but his hands have always been completely untouched by the various shenanigans the Clintons pulled in the White House. Like Mike Pence, Gore was chosen for VP because he was a Washington insider with years of boring, staid experience that balanced Bill's "outsider" persona" and calmed independents into thinking Bill would have experienced members on board.

    But Gore and Clinton weren't close. Bill famously called a major newspaper during the 2000 campaign to complain that Gore wasn't doing enough to win. Gore then cut Bill out of a lot of his campaign--or so he thought. But the Clintons still had many of their loyalists working for Gore and embedded in the party power structure at the time, which is their motif (for example, Hillary getting her own former campaign manager Debbie Wasserman-Schultz appointed DNC chair for this election, thus sinking Bernie).

    I think we can see the hand of the Clintons in Gore's taking the loss. The Clintons were trying to solidify their hold on Democrat power---they wanted to be the Democrat version of the Bushes. The plan for Hillary was to take the senate seat (for which she was currently running) and then have hertake the White House in 2004/2008. Hillary as president then would have consolidated the Clintons as the new Kennedys.

    But a Gore presidency would have upset this plan. Gore wasn't part of the Clinton inner circle/power structure. He could have set up a rival to their power in the party, especially if he had relative success during his term. Of course Bill wasn't going to openly campaign against him, and still had the ego of wanting his presidency validated by a defacto third term, but the Clintons think longer term and are more power-hungry than all but the Alt-right admit.

    So when the opportunity presented itself to torpedo Gore's power threat came during the recount, the Clintons pounced.

    The various Clinton loyalists and campaign workers who worked during the recount were probably nudging Gore to accept defeat "like a man"---all in the service of the Clinton scheme for party-dominance. The upper-echelon Clinton supporters probably told Gore that continuing the challenge would sully Gore's reputation and presidency, hey, you can always run again in 4 years, most of the recount projections are coming out against you, you're opening yourself up to challenges in the other states, you're being viewed as crooked as Bill is, etc. Just a general defeatist attitude overlayed with a sense of inevitability and promise of a new try.

    It was only later Gore probably realized it was part of a freeze out, and why he ended up going into enviromental scam-jobs (where the Clintons were not strong) and not running again in 2004/2008.

  2. Random Dude on the Internet10/7/16, 8:20 AM

    Voter fraud is SOP for the Democrats. Even historically, the most egregious offenders were Democrats: Tammany Hall, Huey Long, the Daley Machine, etc. The worst and most obvious case was 1960 where even the Wikipedia entry all but admits that Joe Kennedy Sr. paid off every big city boss he could, which explains how JFK would carry states like Missouri (Kansas City and St. Louis) and Nevada (Las Vegas). Basically any major city known for corruption, the state happened to flip towards Kennedy.

    The advantage Hillary has here is not only will the Democratic machines work for her, even GOP elites like the Bush dynasty are now in her camp. Working class normies who are for Trump are up against a powerful machine. Like the Brexit vote though, enthusiasm and turnout can overturn a corrupt machine like the Democrat GOTV apparatus. That's why every Trump supporter needs to vote for November. Hit the phones, hit the pavement, sign people up for absentee ballots. Anything and everything to overturn the system that will be going full steam for Hillary.

  3. My understanding was the democrats only wanted a recount in certain precincts, that were predominately black and elderly. The Supreme Court ruling denied this and said they had to do a state wide recount. Supposedly the NYT did a full recount later and determined Bush won.


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