How the Right Stole the 2004 Election & Why They’ll Steal the Next One Too (Unless We Stop Them)
by Mark Crispin Miller
Reviewed by Fred Schepartz
Fooled Again, by Mark Crispin Miller
Election Night 2000. I knock off work early and make a beeline to the Crystal Corner, the venerable corner saloon on Madison’s hip and groovy Near Eastside, a mere 12 blocks from the Wisconsin Capitol dome. I’m hoping to raise a bottle of Leinenkugel high in the air to toast a victory for Al Gore.
When I arrive at a little past midnight, the Crystal is crowded, but not packed. And it is jubilant. Most of the major networks had just projected victory for Gore. But no! Wait! Hold on just a second! Suddenly, Fox declares victory for George W. Bush. Like lemmings, the other networks follow suit. What follows is a surreal nightmare. Gore is duped into conceding. The counting in Florida essentially stops, even though Gore is actually winning. Gore takes back his concession. There’s an electronic recount, then a hand recount. Republican Party operatives storm one of the election headquarters and through physical intimidation demand that the recount stop. The whole matter goes from court to court to court until the U.S. Supreme Court, in Bush v. Gore, orders the recount halted once and for all, thus giving Bush the presidency. Sandra Day O’Connor casts the swing vote, something she will later say that she lived to regret, that she handed the White House to a candidate who did not even win the popular vote.
Fast-forward four years later. I’m back at the Crystal, hoping to toast a John Kerry victory. I’m hopeful. Gulf War II had taken a turn for the worse. The economy is in the dumper. Pre-election polls showed Kerry holding a slim lead. Ralph Nader’s campaign doesn’t have the same juice as back in 2000. And there seemed to be an immense groundswell of grassroots activism of registration and get-out-the-vote drives, largely featuring people not necessarily inside the Democratic Party establishment through groups such as MoveOn.org.