Certain moments in US history were inevitabilities, like the 1984 Presidential Election when Ronald Reagan was expected to thump Walter Mondale. Certain races were very close, like Gerald Ford vs Jimmy Carter, but the result was accepted and uncontested. The 2000 election was, in contrast, marred by controversy. Al Gore won the popular vote but lost Florida by a hair’s breadth. He contested the results, and it went all the way to the Supreme Court that decided 5 to 4 in Bush’s favor. Republicans were relieved but knew a dark cloud of suspicion would loom over the presidency. (Of course, Democrats in 2020, despite far more compromised circumstances, maintained that electoral fraud is just a myth, a conspiracy theory.)
At any rate, the 2000 election could easily have been Gore’s if not for the ‘chads’, confused elderly Jews voting for Pat Buchanan by mistake, and Ralph Nader(which goes to show that no good deed goes unpunished in American Politics where idealism for Third Party candidates always favors the bigger enemy).
If the 21st century had been mostly stable and marked by few crises, it wouldnâ€™t matter much who really won in 2000, but the first two decades have been among the most contentious and consequential both at home and abroad. The dot.com crash that closed the 1990s was a bad way to start the new millennium, but who would have thought 2001 would see the biggest attack on the US, the lone superpower thought to be unchallenged in the world?