George W. Bush's Presidency

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Why was the 2000 Presidential election controversial?

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Neither the Republican George W. Bush nor the Democrat Al Gore won the 270 electoral votes necessary to outright win the election. The vote was close and came down to whomever won the swing-state Florida, and a certain amount of Florida's votes were in question due to sloppy measures, such as what came to be known as the "hanging chad." The Supreme Court ultimately sided with Bush in a 5-4 decision, which then drew controversy as many questioned the supposed non-partisan nature of the court. Overall, Bush won because of Florida, even though Gore had won the popular vote.

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The 2000 election between George W. Bush, the Republican candidate, and Democratic candidate Al Gore remains controversial because the vote between the two candidates was so close. The election was so tight, and only about 500 votes separated the candidates in Florida, the state on which the outcome of the election rested. With so many Florida ballots questionable, the decision as to who actually won landed in the Supreme Court.

The Supreme Court decided on Bush by a 5-4 vote, which some people felt divided on party lines, calling into question the supposedly non-partisan nature of the nation's highest court. If the vote had been 9-0 or 8-1, it would have been less controversial. The split vote, however, revealed the Supreme's Court uncertainty.

Further, the election was controversial because some methods of counting the ballots gave Florida to Gore and because Gore won the popular vote nationwide.

Finally, the impact of third party Green candidate Ralph Nader created controversy, with some contending that his campaign cost Gore the votes he needed to win Florida and others arguing that the election would not have been so close if Gore had not fumbled on his own.

Since elections have consequences, and since the U.S. has a strong ideological commitment to universal suffrage and democracy, the 2000 election left many people uneasy.

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The 2000 election was between Republican George W. Bush and Democrat Al Gore, as well as several independent candidates. The election was controversial in the sense that no candidate won the 270 electoral votes needed to win the election outright; this controversy was caused by a faulty Florida ballot. Some people who meant to vote for another candidate really had their votes counted for George W. Bush. There was also the question of the punch cards used in the balloting process; when the election was under review, the public saw the sloppy ballots; the term "hanging chad" entered popular vocabulary that fall. When the lower courts ruled that George W. Bush won Florida and thus the election, Al Gore's campaign team challenged the ruling all the way to the Supreme Court, where he ultimately lost. While Al Gore won the popular vote, George W. Bush won the electoral vote due to the Florida ballot, and soon many election commissioners began to look into digital ballots.  

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