What now seems like ancient history, the 2000 United States Presidential election was far closer than most of us probably recall. The website 270 to win shares this succinct summary of what transpired in the wake of Bill Clinton’s two terms:
“The United States presidential election of 2000 was a contest between Republican candidate George W. Bush, then-governor of Texas and son of former president George H. W. Bush (1989–1993), and Democratic candidate Al Gore, then-Vice President.
Bill Clinton, the incumbent President, was vacating the position after serving the maximum two terms allowed by the Twenty-second Amendment. Bush narrowly won the November 7 election, with 271 electoral votes to Gore’s 266 (with one elector abstaining in the official tally).”
The election was skewed by several factors, including the distraction of Ralph Nader running for President. The nearly 3M votes he received undoubtedly stoles votes from Gore’s side of the ledger, potentially handing Gore the victory had Nader not stubbornly stuck to his efforts.
What most might recall is the long delay in vote-counting that came down to a Florida decision that handed the election to Bush and Cheney.
2000 Election Facts
- Outcome of race unknown for several weeks due to dispute over close vote totals in Florida
- Green Party candidate Ralph Nader received 2,882,728 votes, but no Electoral Votes
- Gore won DC; however one elector did not cast a vote
- One of only 5 elections (1824, 1876, 1888, 2000, 2016) where the popular vote winner was defeated
- Popular vote totals from Federal Elections 2000.
- Issues of the Day: Impeachment, Presidential ethics, Good economy
To make matters worse, the controversies over recounts and the narrow margin of 537 distinguishable votes was thrown first to the Florida Supreme Court and then the United States Supreme court, where five justices nominated by Republican Presidents Reagan, Bush and Nixon all voted to install Bush as President of the United States.
Then the Shit Show began.
First, Bush and Cheney triumphantly ignored credible warnings about the 9/11 attacks handed over from President Clinton and Richard Clarke. We all know what happened then. Terrorists flew planes into the World Trade Center towers, the Pentagon and a field in Pennsylvania. The world watched in horror and fear, but the first thing the Bush clan did was fly bin Laden family members out of the country. As reported on CBS News, “Two dozen members of Osama bin Laden’s family were urgently evacuated from the United States in the first days following the terrorist attacks on New York and Washington, according to the Saudi ambassador to Washington.
One of bin Laden’s brothers frantically called the Saudi Arabian Embassy in Washington looking for protection, Prince Bandar bin Sultan told The New York Times. The brother was sent to a room in the Watergate Hotel and was told not to open the door.
Most of bin Laden’s relatives were attending high school and college. The young members of the bin Laden family were driven or flown under FBI supervision to a secret place in Texas and then to Washington, The Times reported Sunday.”
Bush and Cheney did the big power play of attacking Afghanistan to get at the vigilante member of the bin Laden family. They failed. Then Bush admitted, “I am not that concerned about him” In fact, bin Laden escaped into Pakistan to hide out for another decade or more before being hunted down and killed during the Obama administration.
All the while, American forces rooted around in Afghanistan trying to quell the influence of the Taliban, who were essentially blamed for the 9/11 attacks when actually, it was just one rich hermit and a band of willing mercenaries that carried out the dirty work of killing thousands of Americans on a bright fall day in New York City on 9/11.
Lying all along
So the Bush-Cheney regime never had the story right or a plan in place to exit Afghanistan if nothing was being accomplished. The Taliban might have been chased into the hills, but did not disappear. When American killed one Taliban leader another one simply slipped into place. As all this warlike activity transpired, warlords sucked up skidloads of American dollars while our troops tried not to get killed. Thousands did. Tens of thousands more were wounded. And still we stayed.
That was not even the worst part of life after Gore lost to Bush. Because one of the pet projects of the illegitimate President was to attempt a Middle East takeover with an invasion of Iraq. The United States attacked that nation based on falsified information about weapons of mass destruction of which international inspection teams found no evidence. Even General Colin Powell got sucked into the Post-9/11 fray and lied to us all about what was really going on in Iraq.
Which was awful, but still no reason to invade that nation on claims that it had anything to do with 9/11 or that Iraq posed any terrorist threat to the United States. Yet still we attacked. Saddam Hussein was captured, tried and sentenced to death. But all that America could find to do in the wake of that murderer’s death was to round people up and torture them in the same prisons used by Hussein to persecute his own countrymen.
The Iraq War Crimes Adventure also welcomed mercenary forces from guns-for-hire companies such as Blackwater and Halliburton, both of which reportedly direspected American troops and committed war crimes of their own on occasion.
The Brookings Institute reported: “But there were two problems: Despite its mission of guarding U.S. officials in Iraq, Blackwater had no license with the Iraqi government. Secondly, the murky legal status of the contractors meant they might be considered exempt from Iraqi law because of a mandate left over from the Coalition Provisional Authority, the U.S. governing authority in Iraq that was dissolved more than two years prior.”
The relative lawlessness that led to billions of dollars wasted in military expenditures, torture and war crimes in Iraq seemed not to bother the Bush regime. It was our soldiers that paid for this folly with their health and their lives. Men like Secretary of State Donald Rumsfeld famously dismissed our military’s lack of preparation for the Iraq venture by stating, ““You go to war with the army you have, not the army you might want or wish to have at a later time.”
Such was the unapologetic approach of Bush and Cheney to everything they encountered. As America squandered trillions in its treasure on extended, fruitless wars, the world’s climate was busy heating up due to global warming. The Republican control of the Oval Office, Senate, Congress and the Supreme Court ensured that no legislation would pass to help counter the rolling effects of carbon dioxide polluting the atmosphere. Al Gore published a book warning that America had better look out for its true enemy, which was climate change, but conservatives mocked him as pedantic and hypocritical.
Now the government in Afghanistan has collapsed and the Taliban rushed across the nation taking over provincial capitols and finally, the national government in Kabul gave up and ran off. None of the Afghani troops “trained” by American forces over the last two decades put up any resistance. The entire Bush-Cheney debacle collapsed before the world’s eyes. Meanwhile, climate change is burning up the world with July 2021 registering as the hottest month in all recorded history.
It would have been so much different had Al Gore not been blocked from serving as President of the United States. He won the popular vote. In all likelihood, he even won the Electoral College vote if politics had not been played in the queasy state of Florida.
We could have avoided 9/11. Most certainly, the former VP is a prudent man who understood the threat of terrorism in real time, not as some abstract distraction to be avoided by the likes of Bush and Cheney. America might well have taken steps to ward off climate change as well. At least we’d have a start of some sort.
Lies and racism
Instead, we were forced to suffer through eight years of blatant lies and ractist attacks against President Obama, who also happened to rescue the nation from the collapsed economy wrought by the many abuses wrought upon it during the Bush years, when the price of health insurance alone climbed by 96%. When Obama pushed for the Affordable Health Care act, Republicans attacked the concept as unconstitutional and socialist. But much like Al Gore, Obama had American’s long-term interests in mind.
Sadly, the populist reaction to good governance was to install an openly racist demagogue in the person of Donald Trump, a TV personality that ignores science, denies climate change, and claimed to love our troops even while his apparent buddies the Russians were placing bounties on their heads. The facts about Republican corruption are plain to see. They should be much more broadly known.
Trump was nothing more than a feckless version of George W. Bush and Dick Cheney, combined. He exhibits the same bumbling inability to communicate effectively, instead engaging in a “downtalking” approach soaked in the ideology of victimhood. He pats his supporters on the head with patriarchal cynicism and glee, also welcoming the adoring affections of hypocritical evangelical supporters eager to trade their religious ethics for access to power.
Trump devastated the country with hapless tariffs, greedy tax cuts and rampant golfing excursions that cost the country hundreds times more than the meager $360K (or whatever) salary comes with the office. Where Obama was serious, considerate and collaborative, Trump was specious, angry, and bullying.
That approach appealed to his deplorable political base, which included openly racist populists and whorishly sycophantic political operatives within his administration that to this day claim that a legitimate election was stolen through some outlandish method for which there is zero evidence. That led to a massive insurrection in which the core of governance in the United States of America was under attack by a fascist mob urged on (and gleefully witnessed) by Trump and his minions.
But then, there was zero real evidence for weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. There was zero evidence that Rush Limbaugh was ever honest or right about anything in his life. There was zero evidence that torture was necessary or desirable in Iraq. Zero evidence that Guantanamo was a good way to hold supposed terrorists when many were simply people caught up in the military horrors executed upon Iraq and Afghanistan.
There is zero evidence that anything the Republican Party has done the last twenty to forty years has benefited the United States of America in any way. There is less than zero evidence that the party proper has any intention of admitting to its incompetence, cruelty, or the many criminal indictments and convictions of its political representatives during the Reagan, Bush II or Trump administrations.
Yes, this country and the whole world could–and should–have been much different if Al Gore had become President. Instead, we’re left with a nation torn apart by domestic terrorists, gun proliferation, racism on the rise, and attacks on the Capitol by lawless vigilantes acting on the urges of a twice-impeached ex-President who lied so often in office that the entire world was gaslighted by his dangerously narcissistic psyche.
His toxic brand of rule led to more than 600,000 Americans dying from Covid-19 infection in a country where it was perfectly possible to prevent such tragic loss of life. But Trump lied to the nation about the threat, obscured its potential contagiousness, and mocked those wearing masks to prevent its spread. Even to this moment in time, his ardently deluded supporters refuse to wear masks and are contracting the Delta variant and dying in the hospital while begging to be vaccinated.
But it’s too late, in most of those case. It’s almost too late to recognize the pandemic that is Republican policy and the anti-government plague it has wrought on the country. As President Joe Biden noted, we have a “pandemic of the unvaccinated.” That symbolizes the delusional nature of gaslighting tactics dating all the way back to President Ronald Reagan and his anti-American claim that government must be shrunk down to nothing in order to serve the people better. He was a liar just like the Bushes and the Cheney’s and the Trumps. The McConnells and the McCarthys are just as bad, along with the Fox News and Tucker Carlson crowd. It’s sickening.
None of this would have happened if Al Gore had become President. None of it.