florida recount

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December 12th 2000: Bush v. Gore

On this day in 2000, the United States Supreme Court released its decision in the landmark case of Bush v. Gore. The 2000 Presidential election between Republican George W. Bush and Democrat Al Gore was one of the closest in recent memory. The candidate who would win the election and become President of the United States by reaching the required 270 Electoral College votes came down to the state of Florida. News broadcasters, using exit poll results, initially declared the state for Gore, but were forced to later retract this when the votes were counted and it appeared that Bush had a narrow lead. A mandatory machine recount reduced Bush’s lead to only a few hundred votes, but Gore called for a hand recount in four key counties. However, these further recounts were protested by the Bush camp, and the case was sent to the Supreme Court of the United States. The Court, in a narrow 5-4 decision, ruled the recount unconstitutional and thus handed the state and the presidency to Bush. Had the recount gone ahead, and, crucially, if ballots incorrectly punched had been accepted, it is likely that Gore would have won the presidency. The case was argued before the Court by Theodore Olson for Bush and David Boies for Gore, who went on to unite to successfully argue for the unconstitutionality of California’s anti-gay marriage Proposition 8. The 2000 election remains the most controversial incident in modern American electoral history. Bush’s slim majority of 271 Electoral College votes, and the fact that Gore actually won the popular vote by 543,895 votes, leads many to call for the abolition of the Electoral College and brand Bush’s election as illegitmate. This is coupled with complaints against the partisanship of the Supreme Court, as the justices were split 5-4 between the conservatives and liberals. A few years later, stanch conservative justice Antonin Scalia famously responded to a question about Bush v. Gore by declaring: “Get over it!”.

15 years ago today

the idea that Ralph Nader split the vote and lost Al Gore the 2000 election is a narrative created by the GOP to shift the blame for the undemocratic theft of the presidency away from the GOP-dominated supreme court and the Jeb Bush-led Republican government of Florida and towards a minor-league leftist ideologue

Ralph Nader did not cost Al Gore the election. Al Gore won the 2000 presidential election. He not only won the popular vote, he by all accounts actually won the electoral college, as well: had the Florida recount continued as was required by the state’s constitution, Gore almost certainly would have taken that state and the Presidency.

What costed Al Gore the election was not the fraction of a percent of votes he lost to Ralph Nader; what cost him the election was the illegal and undemocratic election tampering by Republican elements within the state and federal government.

Without question the Supreme Court should be at the center of this election, and a new vacancy puts it there. Americans deserve to know what kind of justices a candidate would appoint, and the 2016 elections will have an enormous impact on the Court’s future. But what this election will not decide is who gets to replace Justice Scalia. That happened in 2012, when the American people elected President Obama to another four-year term that still has 11 months remaining. Once the president nominates, the Senate must take seriously its constitutional obligation to give that nominee a fair hearing and a timely vote. They owe it to Justice Scalia and his philosophy of obligation over outcome. And as stewards of our democratic institutions, they owe it to the American people.
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 We Already Had an Election to Decide Who Gets to Appoint the Next Supreme Court Justice. It was in 2012.

Elections have consequences. As Scalia was so fond of saying after he halted the Florida recount and installed George W. Bush in the presidency: get over it.

Hope is powerful.

There will be recounts in Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, and Michigan.  The only person who can request a recount in Florida Ken Detzner–there’s a petition here to call on him to do so, and his office can be reached at  SecretaryofState@DOS.MyFlorida.com and 850-245-6524 .

Supposedly a few Electoral College Electors are planning to go faithless (can’t find a source, sadly). EDIT: source EDIT2: list of all 538 electors

If Hillary Clinton ends up winning all three of the states where the recounts will be done, she becomes president.

If she reaches 270 electoral votes, through any combination of faithless electors and winning contested states, she becomes president.

I stayed up on election night, pacing in the dark, feeling terrified and incredibly helpless.  I woke up the morning after, numb and despairing and still terrified.  Still feeling helpless.

I don’t feel helpless right now.  I’ve signed petitions, I’ve spread information, I’ve grappled with my social anxiety and made phone-call after phone-call.  I’m adding my grain of sand to a growing mountain.

And it may be enough.

I’m not done fighting.

On Sunday, on CNN, host Michael Smerconish argued that electors should ignore the criteria for actual presidents set down by Hamilton this time around because the electors themselves didn’t meet that Founder’s exacting standards, either. But running through all the commentary was a sense of terror that, one day, the country might actually decide to live up to its founding principles, rather than simply slapping on the old tricorn and yelling about taxes. There are terrible truths about this nation that the public cannot be allowed to know, lest it act on them in ways that disturb the horses.
 

It was this terror out of which the Warren Commission was formed. It was this terror that kept Lyndon Johnson from revealing Richard Nixon’s treason to the world and to Hubert Humphrey. It was this terror that engendered Nixon’s pardon. It was this terror that allowed the Reagan campaign to dodge how it may have fudged the release of the hostages in Iran, and it was this terror that allowed Reagan himself to skate on Iran-Contra. It was this terror that welcomed the meddling of the Supreme Court in the Florida recount of 2000.
 

It was this terror that allowed the Bush administration to elude its accountability regarding the events of September 11, 2001, or to be called to account entirely for how and why it ran the country into war in Iraq. It is this terror from which comes the impulse to look forward and never back. (On that same show, it should be noted, Smerconish hosted Bill Mitchell, the man who designed the “enhanced interrogation” techniques on behalf of the Bush administration. The torturer is on a book tour these days, instead of decorating his cell at The Hague.) And, I suspect, it is going to be this terror that will soften the findings of whatever “special” committee of the Congress is empaneled to look into Russian ratfcking and any other curiosities arising from the 2016 campaign.

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Donald Trump Wins Electoral College Vote, Becoming 45th President - We Are Terrified of the Truth

His point about being to afraid of the criminality of these men convincing our political establishment to “always look forward” is something that’s been making me angry as long as I can remember. If there’s this institutionalized determination to never hold anyone accountable for anything, because the institution just wants to get over it and move on, there is never any reason for anyone to ever follow the laws.

Can you imagine, if someone were caught doing something like a DUI, or a robbery, or a killing, and the law just decided that it was better to move on? To look forward instead of back? You know how rapidly that would lead to lawlessness and chaos? Well, that’s our political establishment up to this point, and knowing what we know about Cheeto Hitler, we haven’t even begun to see how bad and corrupt and lawless it can get.