How George W. Bush came to power in 2000 after a...

How George W. Bush came to power in 2000 after a...
How George W. Bush came to power in 2000 after a...
1 out of 5 Newspapers highlight Bush’s tight victory over Al Gore in the 2000 elections – Photo: Henny Ray Abrams / AFP / Archive

Newspapers highlight Bush’s tight victory over Al Gore in the 2000 elections – Photo: Henny Ray Abrams / AFP / Archive

The Democrat had been Vice President of Bill Clinton for eight years. Bush, the governor of Texas, is the son of George WH Bush, who was president between 1989 and 1993.

The results in the states were tight. In three, the odds were less than 2,000 votes.

THE G1 publishes a series of reports this week about remarkable American presidential elections and how they have changed the political landscape in the country. Read too:

  • How beat Hillary in 2016
  • How Obama ‘stuck the line’ and got there in 2008

The electoral college is a system by which the voter does not directly choose the president, but rather party representatives in each state.

2 out of 5 Image from the US Library of Congress shows Al Gore during an event when he was US Vice President – Photo: Disclosure / US Library of Congress

Image from the U.S. Library of Congress shows Al Gore during an event when he was US vice president – Photo: Disclosure / Library of Congress

Each state has a specific number of such delegates. The winner of the presidential race is whoever adds up the most.

The detail is that the vast majority of states have a “winner takes it all” rule: if there is one more vote for one of the candidates, it takes all delegates from the state.

Because of this rule, the US election in that country was decided in the state of Florida.

The broadcasters were based on information from an institute called the Voter News Service (VNS). After the conversation between the two presidential candidates, a Democratic leader analyzed the VNS data and noticed some problems: the institute estimated that there were 180,000 votes to be counted, but, in fact, it was twice that.

Gore called Bush again. According to Vanity Fair magazine, the dialogue between the two was as follows:

“Circumstances have changed dramatically since I called you. Florida is in a very tight count to know the winner ”.

“Are you saying what I think you’re saying? Are you calling back to withdraw your concession?” Bush asked.

“You don’t have to be harsh,” said Gore.

Bush replied that the networks had already declared the result and that the numbers were correct – his brother Jeb, the Florida governor, had told him.

“Your younger brother is not the final authority on this,” replied Gore.

By the initial count, Bush had won by 537 votes, out of a universe of 6 million voters.

Florida counties determined that there would be a recount. It was clear that there were problems with voting.

In the USA, each region of the states defines what the voting will be like: if it is in person, by mail, if there will be an electronic or physical vote, how the ballot will be, etc.

In Florida, some counties used a type of ballot called a butterfly, the layout of which does not make it clear where voters should choose their candidate, says Barry Burden, a political scientist at Wittenberg University.

That ballot caused some voters in Al Gore to have unintentionally voted for a third candidate.

3 out of 5 Butterfly note model – Photo: Amanda Paes / G1

Butterfly ballot model – Photo: Amanda Paes / G1

In other parts of Florida there were other problems, says Burden.

This type of electoral rule varies from place to place in the United States for a historical reason: in the country, power is decentralized.

“When the Constitution was ratified, there was suspicion about having a central government. The founders [dos EUA] wrote that states would have election control over dates, location, ballot. Today, they can also choose which machines to use to vote or to count. And states allow each city to do what it wants [em relação a padrões].”

With a very tight vote, which, because of the electoral college system, was decisive, the Democrats demanded a recount.

Both campaigns filed lawsuits while the votes were recounted.

4 out of 5 An Al Gore supporter in the 2000 elections with a poster in front of the US Supreme Court building on December 1, 2000 – Photo: Kevin Lamarque / Reuters

An Al Gore supporter in the 2000 elections with a poster in front of the US Supreme Court building on December 1, 2000 – Photo: Kevin Lamarque / Reuters

After 36 days of scrutiny of votes in Florida, the Supreme Court made a decision: there shouldn’t be a recount.

The analysis of the votes violated a constitutional amendment clause because there was no standard just for counting all ballots, the court ruled.

Bush defeated Gore at the electoral college with 271 delegates, against 266 for Gore.

In the popular vote, however, the Democratic Party candidate won by 48.4% against 47.9%.

5 out of 5 Official portrait of George W. Bush as president – Photo: Disclosure / Library of Congress

Official portrait of George W. Bush as president – Photo: Disclosure / Library of Congress

Gore then called Bush again on December 13. “A few moments ago I spoke to George W. Bush and congratulated him on becoming the 43rd president of the United States. And I promised him that this time I wouldn’t call back, ”he said.

He said he did not agree with the Supreme Court’s decision, but he accepted the result.

After the case of the indefinition of the 2000 elections and the decision via the Supreme Court, the country changed some rules.

The butterfly ballot was banned.

A federal election agency was created, although some political scientists, like Burden, consider it to have limited powers.

The Union gave the states money to start buying machines and training the people who work in the elections.

Watch videos about the American election

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