The cartography, writing, and ramblings of one crazy winter lover who likes to blog about the fun and inconsequential.

The 2000 Presidential Election Series

The 2000 Democratic Primary

The 2000 Democratic Primary  is fascinating for a number of reasons. For one, it is interesting for the total domination of Al Gore in the primary, as it marks the last time a non-incumbent candidate won every single state in the Democratic Primary. Then-Vice President Gore managed to create perhaps the most wide-ranging coalition in the primary in the 2000s, a far cry from the later more divided primaries. 

His main opponent was former Senator and ex-NBA player Bill Bradley, who ran a campaign to the left of him on issues such as education and healthcare. Despite comparable fund-raising and strong endorsements, Bradley could not come close to competing with the then-Vice President under a popular Democratic President and dropped out after Super Tuesday.

The other notable inclusion is that of cult leader Lyndon LaRouche. While overall a failure, LaRouche received large amounts of votes in some places such as Arkansas, where he garnered one-fifth of the primary vote. 

The 2000 Republican Primary

The Republican Primary in 2000 for President was a markedly more competitive one than the Democratic competition. While George W. Bush, son of former President George Bush, then-Governor of Texas, would go on to win in a comparative landslide, the primary began with real competition. That competition largely came in the form of Senator John McCain of Arizona, propelled to the national stage when he was shot down as a pilot in Vietnam, captured, and later released to much fanfare. McCain would run a dark horse campaign, riding a bus around the country to "straight talk" America and decry the religious right while Bush stuck to his idea of "compassionate conservatism" that courted the further right wing of the party. 

After Bush won Iowa and McCain swept New Hampshire, the primary came to a head in South Carolina. There, Bush engaged in infamous racist attacks on McCain, alleging the Senator had had a child with a black prostitute, rather than adopted a child from Bangladesh as was the case. The attacks seemed to help, and Bush won South Carolina by 9% and McCain's campaign struggled. Though he won several contests after, including his home state of Arizona, most of New England, and Michigan, Bush swept the primaries he needed and McCain dropped out, guaranteeing Bush the winner.

The 2000 primary is also notable for having a few national faces. Steve Forbes, editor-in-chief of Forbes magazine would run and perform relatively well in Iowa, though nowhere else. Alan Keyes, formerly of the Reagan Administration, would run again in 2000 after losing in 1996. Alan Keyes would become a perennial candidate for Republicans across the nation, running in Maryland later and then again in 2004 against one Barack Obama for the Senate seat which Obama would use to catapult himself to the Presidency.

PNG 1 | 2

The 2000 Presidential Election

Before Trump, before locker room talk, before James Comey and private email servers, before Russia (well, before Russiagate anyway not the know what I mean), there was the 2000 Presidential Election.

Coming off the heels of President Clinton's failed impeachment as he left office more popular than he had ever been, the 2000 Presidential Election presented a moral battle between two giants: Texas Governor George W. Bush and Vice President Al Gore. Gore sought to distance himself from President Clinton's past misdeeds and sought to carve his own path while Bush campaigned on restoring dignity to the White House and on "compassionate conservatism".

But more than that, 2000 is remembered for the nastier side of politics. For the media blitz that came to define politics afterwards, with many Gore supporters alleging that the media exaggerated claims about Gore (similar claims would be made about Clinton in 2016). For the aggressive campaigning that would become the norm of elections in the 21st century. Even for the color coding of the candidates themselves, as this is the election in which red for Republicans and blue for Democrats was truly set in stone, a fact that is now taken for granted.

Of course, what most remember 2000 for is the razor-thin win Bush in Florida after a media and political frenzy over recounts (later examinations show that recounts in the few counties ordered would not tip the election to Gore but in all counties would have given the election to Gore). Political activists and fixers such as Roger Stone swarmed Florida and the Supreme Court got involved to order a stop to the recount. Even members of Congress at first refused to certify the results until ruled out of order. It's a controversy that carries on to this day, even if now replaced by controversies over the 2016 Presidential Election, which I'll get to later...

In the end, Gore was declared the loser. In many ways, he was lucky to come so close, winning 4 states by less than 1% as the nation shifted heavily to Bush from 1996 to 2000. This would be the beginning of the current order of politics as Democrats were chased out of southern states like Louisiana, Arkansas, and Missouri that Clinton had won twice and, as of 2019, are not anywhere close to being won by Democrats again. At the same time, this was near the end of the era for a Republican to win major cities, like Marion County, Indiana (Indianapolis), Dallas County, Texas, Mecklenburg County, North Carolina (Charlotte), and so forth. 

It was the end of the last political era and the beginning of a new one, which I will cover in further maps that I hope you'll all find interesting. Thank you for reading.


Post a Comment