World News – GB – What it looked like a day after the 2000 election, compared to now



More than a day after most polling stations have closed, we still don’t know for sure whether Joe Biden or Donald Trump will be the next president There is only one more time in recent memory that we ended up without a president-elect at this point in the game, and that was after the 2000 contest between George W Bush and Al Gore, you may remember, took 36 days and a Supreme Court vote to settle Leon Neyfakh, the former host of the Slate’s Slow Burn podcast, devoted the first season of his new show, Fiasco , to the 2000 election and its aftermath, and he agreed to talk to us about how the feelings we currently feel compare to the way people felt then, albeit on a much shorter timeline until now Our conversation has been condensed and edited. You can listen to the Bush v Gore Fiasco season for free now

Slate: Overall, summary, how do you feel the day after this election compared to the day after the 2000 election?

Leon Neyfakh: In 2000, many people went to bed thinking that George W Bush was the president-elect He was declared the winner in Florida In fact Gore called out Bush and conceded But it turned out that there were irregularities in Florida And so for the second time that night the networks unnamed from Florida – earlier that evening they had called him for Gore – and suddenly there was no president-elect I think having that short period of time where there was a winner and the networks had posted their fancy graphics showing Bush as the 43rd President of the United States, that was a really powerful starting position for him This sort of defined the narrative for the rest of the process

What you had in 2000 was a real confusion and a real lack of information on who got the most votes in Florida, compared to now, where it seems like the angst people are feeling comes from President Trump who said there is an ongoing attempt to steal the election You had no such thing in 2000 You had two pretty sweet-mannered candidates who didn’t want to get in the mud while their agents and lawyers were fighting

They were saying for weeks this time that we weren’t going to know the winner of election night As the 2000 election approached, was it expected to be over that night?

I’ve seen people point out that this is a relatively new and relatively recent expectation of people, but yes, I would say that in 2000 the elections were televised in this way enough times and a winner was declared fairly quickly each time This was an unprecedented result, in that the networks hadn’t really received any fake calls like this before It made everything seem possible Once you are told something with certainty total, and it could just be repeated all of a sudden, it confuses your whole sense of what might happen next. It would have been less shocking if there had just been no result that night, if it had continued to have no result for the next so long time.I think 2000 probably helped prepare the people to accept that there was no winner last night

When we found ourselves without a winner the day after the 2000 election, did Americans have any idea how long the process would take?

Originally we didn’t expect this process to take a month I think the lawyers all thought it was going to take two to three days There may have been some really savvy agents who predicted that it was going to last that long James Baker, who worked on the Bush side, reportedly said: « This is going to the Supreme Court, and this is what we are going to win. »It doesn’t necessarily mean he knew how long it would take, but it does mean he saw a long game Everyone was making up as they went along

I think everyone knew it was going to be close I don’t think anyone could have guessed that it would be within a few hundred votes There certainly was no concentrated effort on either side. other to prepare their constituents for a long term ahead of Election Day, how the Biden campaign really went in terms of setting expectations and being patient

There had been indications that Florida would be really close, but there were also indications that New Mexico would be really close, and it was, and Wisconsin in fact, lawyers were sent. in those two states to be stationed there and ready to prosecute should those states become decisive It became clear within days that it would only be Florida, but it was all so improvised. Gore’s lawyers flew to Florida on [Vice Presidential Candidate Sen Joe’s Plane] Lieberman because that this was what was going on They called it « Recount One » Onboard recount specialists gave Gore’s attorneys an introduction to recount strategy, recount protocols and Florida law

What I enjoyed doing this Fiasco season is we talked about “elections,” but there is no election, there are 50 states and Washington, DC, and all have their own elections and they all have their own rules and schedules In Florida in 2000, counties had until date X to get their ballot count, whereas if the same had happened elsewhere, the schedule would have been totally different The dispute would have been different

I have a feeling the team of Trump and Biden both had armies of lawyers standing at the time, but that was really not the case in 2000

In that election you were hearing reports that Trump and Biden were preparing teams of lawyers to fight exactly in 2000 I think we spoke to a guy [for the podcast] who said: « I had a law degree, so I went » Everything was on the bridge The youngest ended up having more important roles than they could have played otherwise, because not everyone has a degree in law, but everyone who did was helpful

Lots of law graduates worked for the campaigns, but it’s not like a team of recount specialists was in place There was actually a big rush to hire Florida lawyers from both sides Logistically it was a total nightmare to assess the 67 counties and whether there was an argument to be made for a recount.The number of lawyers on each side was a very real factor as it really limited what they could do to shake the snow globe

I think one thing that’s been interesting about podcasting on Slow Burn is that in addition to the parallels you can spot between historical events and the present, you also see gamers. learning from the past When we did the Iran-Contra Fiasco season, you could tell that Watergate was on everyone’s mind Without a doubt you can’t look at 2020 and the legal strategies both sides are going to use in over the next few days without considering where they learned these moves

There has been a lot of talk this fall regarding the rush to confirm Amy Coney Barrett in the Supreme Court and the very real possibility that she could end up tilting the election towards Trump The day after the 2000 election, is anyone had any idea that the Supreme Court would eventually decide?

I’m confident enough to say no There were definitely some recount experts who knew how recounts work and could probably play into various scenarios But I don’t think it was even obvious in the first week that this would go to the Supreme Court It didn’t even seem like a possibility during the recount, until it suddenly seemed inevitable

Today on social media people can follow all these different election stories hour by hour and minute by minute It seems like it would have been so much harder to have a full read and how it was viewed in 2000

Thought about it last night How did people find out about the latest news? There was already the internet, but it obviously wasn’t like that now TV was really important, as it always has been and always will be This meant it was probably a little easier in some ways for both of them campaigns to try to influence how the audience felt and what the audience thought was going on With social media it is so much harder to drive a story because there is no information cycle, there is no modular mechanism for disseminating information, as there is with Newspaper and TV news This is all chaotic and feelings and attitudes perhaps spread more easily than they did then

People were just as partisan then as they are now, and they were invested in the election, but at the same time, it wasn’t a big existential turning point in history. two candidates, none of whom were so beloved, who came to replace a president who had overseen a fairly long period of peace and prosperity The stakes just didn’t seem so high

I was in grade 10 when this all happened, and I remember walking down the hall and bumped into my math teacher He made a comment like, « Can you believe that?  » And I was like, « I just wanna be done with it I just wanna know who won » I was just a stupid teenager, and there was a lot of good reason to care who won, but there was a feeling. like, « God, that’s boring and stupid » While I think Trump supporters and Biden supporters have a pretty high sense of the stakes right now If you were to go back and watch the late-night shows. party and the interviews of men on the street, what you find are people who have that kind of non-detached attitude about it, but definitely not the emotional investment that I think about a lot people are living right now It was just more like, « God, this is weird and confusing and hard to follow »

Republicans in particular, because they were leading in the original vote tally for Florida, they really managed to push this as a way to steer events in their direction. They wanted everyone to think it was ridiculous that Gore was still fighting. I think a lot of what people felt during those 36 days was, on some level, it seemed like Bush had won Even the Gore’s supporters would probably agree that it was really like Bush had it, and Gore was trying to get rid of him

The butterfly ballot, which, ironically, is sort of the main thing everyone remembers about the 2000 recount in Palm Beach County, because of the way the ballots were designed , a whole bunch of people accidentally voted for Pat Buchanan as they wanted to vote for Al Gore It was by far the most spectacular fuck to have surfaced in the first days after the election It seemed so unfair, what it was – all these people who wanted to go get Gore and had been upset with a design that was obviously flawed I think 3000 votes for Buchanan were actually Gore votes Three thousand votes would have been ball game like five times, because the ultimate margin was only 537 votes But there was nothing they could do about it In the end, this subplot wasn’t really that important to the outcome

Did he feel like there was a turning point, or a key moment that we should keep in mind now?

There were all these forks on the road, for example, if Palm Beach County had been allowed to continue counting its votes, it would have given Gore something more like 200 votes Imagine hearing on the news that Palm Beach County was asking for more time for their recount – there was no way it would seem as crucial as it would be I think there were surveys of people engagement, and I think people were actually quite engaged, but it was a hard story to follow. People asked me, ‘What are the lessons? for us in 2020? ” One of them is not to be bored. It can get very technical or in the weeds or bureaucratic, but this is where elections are won when they are not won in a more traditional way

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US Presidential Election 2020 Donald Trump, George W Bush, Bush vs. Gore, Joe Biden

World News – UK – What it looked like a day after election of 2000, compared to now



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