Didn’t the networks call Florida for Gore?
That was one of the comments I heard from the president’s supporters last weekend at a Trump rally in Bedminster. The point was obvious – the media can be wrong.
Running with that theme, I’ve seen on Republican social media sites what purports to be a screenshot of the networks calling the 2000 race for Al Gore. There is a blue and red colored map of the United States and Gore is the projected winner with 271 electoral votes.
“Remember when the media called this election?” is the heading.
Actually, I do not remember that, because it never happened.
To those of us who were around in 2000, it doesn’t seem all that long ago. But 20 years is 20 years. There are probably many people new to politics who are too young to remember 2000, or who weren’t paying attention.
Bottom line: Nobody projected Gore the overall winner over George W. Bush; that aforementioned map is a work of fiction.
Here is what happened.
Early on Election Night – and obviously too early – the networks “called” Florida for Gore. That was a big deal. As it is today, Florida was a key battleground state.
But that “call” was retracted just a few hours later and played no role in how the networks ultimately projected the race.
Most people know how things transpired.
Florida remained too close to call, ushering in the drama of “hanging chads” and making a celebrity of sorts out of then-Florida Secretary of State Katherine Harris.
A recount began, but it was famously, or infamously, depending on your point of view, halted by the U.S. Supreme Court. In the end, Bush carried Florida by 537 votes and won the presidency.
So one state and less than 1,000 votes determined the presidency of the United States.
Those who see parallels between 2000 and the current situation are viewing things from an extreme partisan and misguided lens.
For one thing, one state is not determining anything.
Joe Biden’s projected win in Pennsylvania put him over the needed 270 electoral votes, but he didn’t get there on the strength of Pennsylvania alone. Take it away from Biden’s total and he still wins. And if Biden ends up winning Georgia, where he is leading, he wins with votes to spare.
Much attention has been drawn to the states Biden won as the count continued through Wednesday and Thursday. These were close races, relatively speaking, but the spread between Biden and Trump is not all that close.
In Wisconsin, it’s about 20,000 votes and in Pennsylvania, it’s about 48,000 votes. In Michigan, it’s more than 100,000 votes. Georgia is going to a recount, but even there, Biden leads by12,000 votes.
As you see, none of these races are remotely close to the 537-vote difference in Florida 20 years ago.
It seems clear that the president and his acolytes will continue to beat the drum of fraud. Fine, that is their right.
But history is apolitical.
And there are no parallels between the Bush-Gore election and the one we had last week, fictional, colored maps aside.
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