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How the 2020 election could be even ‘crazier’ and more ‘chaotic’ than the Bush-Gore Florida recount of 2000

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One of the most nail-biting presidential elections in U.S. history came in 2000, when Americans were unsure whether Democratic Vice President Al Gore or Republican Texas Gov. George W. Bush won Florida’s electoral votes. In an article for The Atlantic, four reporters (Ena Alvarado-Esteller, David A. Graham, Cullen Murphy and Amy Weiss-Meyer) take an in-depth look at the 2000 election and the Gore-Bush recount in Florida and explain why the 2020 presidential election is likely to be even more “chaotic.”

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“Twenty years ago this fall,” the reporters recall, “the United States was plunged into 36 days of turmoil as lawyers, judges, political operatives and election workers grappled with the uncertain result of the presidential contest in Florida. Whoever won the state would win the presidency. In the end, after start-and-stop recounts and the intervention of courts at every level, Texas Gov. George W. Bush, the Republican candidate, was declared the victor, edging out Vice President Al Gore, the Democrat.”

Although Gore won the popular vote in 2000, Bush won more electoral votes — including Florida’s — and was sworn in as president in January 2001. Democrats, in fact, have won the popular vote in six of the United States’ last seven presidential elections (1992, 1996, 2000, 2008, 2012 and 2016). But Bush won both the popular vote and the electoral vote in 2004, defeating Democratic nominee John Kerry and making him the only Republican to win the popular vote in a post-1980s presidential election in the U.S.

For their article, The Atlantic’s reporters interviewed more than 40 people — both Republicans and Democrats — who were involved in the 2000 election, from GOP strategist Karl Rove to former Democratic Sen. Joe Lieberman, Gore’s running mate. And the journalists offer a comprehensive analysis of what went down during the weeks in which Americans were unsure whether Bush or Gore would be the next president of the United States. But as “crazy” and “chaotic” as that election was, the reporters emphasize, 2020’s presidential election is shaping up to be even worse.

“Today, at a time far more polarized than two decades ago, not just one, but every state, faces potential challenges to the integrity of its electoral process,” Alvarado-Esteller, Graham, Murphy and Weiss-Meyer explain. “In many states, the balloting technology is antiquated. And in many states, registering to vote has deliberately been made harder, especially for the poor and people of color. A continuing shift toward widespread voting by mail — accelerated by the COVID-19 pandemic — seems likely to provoke lawsuits based on discredited claims that the practice spurs voting fraud.”

To make matters worse, they add, election officials are voicing concerns about “whether the U.S. Postal Service can handle the expected volume and return marked ballots to election officials in time for them to be counted in November’s national elections.”

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The reporters note, “On August 13, in an interview on Fox News, President Donald Trump declared his opposition to providing the financially troubled USPS with additional funding, giving as an explicit reason a desire to hamper mail-in voting, which he had previously said ‘doesn’t work out well for Republicans’…..  On August 14, The Washington Post reported that the Postal Service had informed 46 states and the District of Columbia that it could not guarantee that mailed-in ballots could be delivered in time to be counted.”


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Trump abruptly pulls ads out of Florida as his campaign funds dwindle: report

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President Trump's campaign has withdrawn advertising from the state of Florida, shifting its dwindling funds to the "industrial northern states" that carried him to victory in 2016, Bloomberg reports.

In the final week of the campaign, Trump is focusing all his energy on the battleground states of Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio and Pennsylvania -- where polls show he's behind Joe Biden with the exception of Ohio.

"Since the beginning of the fall campaign on Labor Day, Trump has cut $24 million from his national ad budget, while former Vice President Joe Biden has added $197 million," Bloomberg reports. "Biden has outspent Trump three-to-one over that time."

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2020 Election

‘I don’t believe that’s by our laws,’ Trump says of counting all the votes in an election

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Repeating his desire for a winner to be declared on the night of November 3, President Donald Trump told reporters Tuesday that he doesn't "believe" tallying votes for weeks after Election Day is lawful, a remark observers interpreted as yet another open signal of the president's intention to challenge the counting of legally submitted ballots.

"Donald Trump is planning to everything he can to make sure your vote doesn't count."—Indivisible"It would be very, very proper and very nice if a winner were declared on November 3, instead of counting ballots for two weeks, which is totally inappropriate, and I don't believe that that's by our laws," Trump said before departing the White House for a campaign rally in Lansing, Michigan. "I don't believe that. So we'll see what happens."

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2020 Election

Trump’s rants about ‘rigged’ elections are ‘aiding’ Putin’s efforts to undermine America: H.R. McMaster

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Retired United States Army lieutenant general H.R. McMaster chatted with Axios co-founder Mike Allen Wednesday about how President Donald J. Trump's "rigged" election talk could be playing right into Russian President Vladimir Putin's hands.

"I have not hesitated to criticize President Trump at all. You can probably find with a quick Google search 30 times when I have said the president is wrong, he gives Putin this space to aid in this effort to deny what is even completely obvious," McMaster said. "This is what my friend and national security adviser used to call Putin's implausible deniability. It's very important to criticize the failures of policy and actions by the president, by others, in getting Putin his space ... I criticize both political parties because what we see is a tendency for leaders within both parties to compromise our principles as Americans for partisan critical advantage. That's one of the ways Putin plays us. We have to stop doing that and I think President Trump has not helped our cause by raising doubts about what is super obvious."

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