The 2000 US presidential election was contested by George W. Bush of the Republican Party (and son of former President George H. W. Bush), and incumbent Vice President Al Gore of the Democratic Party. The election was arguably the most controversial and closest in recent history, and the result was not made official until the next month. Gore was unanimously chosen as the Democratic nominee, while Bush won a comfortable victory in the Republican primaries, beating future-Republican nominee John McCain in the process. The Republican primaries in 2000 are also remembered for the Bush campaign's attempts to spread the lie that McCain's adopted daughter was actually conceived out of wedlock. Notable third party candidates were Ralph Nader of the Green Party, and political commentator Pat Buchanan, who beat future President Donald Trump for the Reform Party's nomination.
The impeachment of President Clinton overshadowed the early stages of the campaign, with Gore distancing himself from Clinton (which may have hurt Gore's standing among Clinton supporters), while Bush vowed to restore "honor and dignity" to the White House. The Bush campaign promised to bridge the division in Washington DC, where partisanship had made it difficult for both major parties to work together. Gore focused on economic issues, pointing to his achievements as Vice President while highlighting his opponent's inexperience. Bush also became synonymous with his numerous gaffs and blunders along the campaign trail, including "I know the human being and fish can coexist peacefully," "working hard to put food on your family" and "is our children learning?"; while Gore was famously misquoted as claiming to have invented the internet.
Results and controversy
Generally speaking, Bush took the majority of the South and Midwest, while Gore swept the Northeast (except New Hampshire) and the west coast. By the end of election day, all states had declared their winner except for Florida, Wisconsin and Oregon, and Bush had secured 246 electoral votes, while Gore had 250; the number needed for victory was 270. As Florida was allocated 25 electoral votes, it's result would determine the winner. While the exit polls in Florida suggested a Gore victory, the early results put Bush in the lead; however, many of the later results were from Democratic districts which narrowed Bush's margin. This fluctuation caused much confusion among news outlets, who flip-flopped between who they declared as the winner, eventually causing Gore to withdraw his concession of victory, and a recount was triggered. The recount returned a victory for Bush, with a margin of 930 votes (although a New York Times report claimed that 680 of these were illegitimate overseas ballots). Gore then demanded that several counties' results were recounted by hand, however a Supreme Court ruling eventually declared that the original recount totals stood, giving the victory to Bush. In the end, Bush was declared the 43rd President of the United States, taking 271 electoral votes (one more than what was needed to win). Although Nader took just 2.7 percent of the popular vote, had his votes in Florida (or those of any other third party candidate) gone to Gore, then this would have swung the results of the overall election. Gore's share of the popular vote was 0.5 percent larger than Bush's, making this just one of five elections where the winner of the popular vote did not win the electoral vote.
Share of electoral college* and popular votes** in the 54th US presidential election in 2000
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ProCon. (June 30, 2011). Share of electoral college* and popular votes** in the 54th US presidential election in 2000 [Graph]. In Statista. Retrieved May 05, 2021, from https://www.statista.com/statistics/1056684/distribution-votes-2000-us-presidential-election/
ProCon. "Share of electoral college* and popular votes** in the 54th US presidential election in 2000." Chart. June 30, 2011. Statista. Accessed May 05, 2021. https://www.statista.com/statistics/1056684/distribution-votes-2000-us-presidential-election/
ProCon. (2011). Share of electoral college* and popular votes** in the 54th US presidential election in 2000. Statista. Statista Inc.. Accessed: May 05, 2021. https://www.statista.com/statistics/1056684/distribution-votes-2000-us-presidential-election/
ProCon. "Share of Electoral College* and Popular Votes** in The 54th Us Presidential Election in 2000." Statista, Statista Inc., 30 Jun 2011, https://www.statista.com/statistics/1056684/distribution-votes-2000-us-presidential-election/
ProCon, Share of electoral college* and popular votes** in the 54th US presidential election in 2000 Statista, https://www.statista.com/statistics/1056684/distribution-votes-2000-us-presidential-election/ (last visited May 05, 2021)