The complete and final 2000 election results are in. Al Gore, the Democrat, received 50,988,442 votes; George Bush, the Republican, received 50,449,494. Ralph Nader, the Green Party candidate, got 2,185,330; Pat Buchanan, running with the Reform Party, had 430,307; Harry Browne, the Libertarian, got 390,062; John Hagelin, the Natural Law candidate, got 102,384; Howard Phillips, the Constitution Party candidate, garnered 93,136; James Harris, the Socialist Workers Party candidate got 7,249; David McReynolds, the Socialist Party USA's standard bearer received 5,548 and Monica Moorehead, the Worker’s World candidate, received 3,171 votes.
There were other candidates who received a smattering of votes. Strickland got 90, Dodge got 208, Venson 535; Brown 1,606; Wright 23; Youngkeit 161; Lane 1,044; Kunzler 1; Kenyon 6; Eicher 4; Huber 3; Pettway 1; Choate 34; Birchler 8; Easton 5; Judd 15; Schriner 24; Marcus 17 and Mooney 7. So, the 2000 presidential election was not just between Al Gore and George Bush, but there were 29 named candidates plus a further 22,150 write-in votes. There were more than 22,000 candidates for president in 2000, not 2. That is, if every vote counts, which, they clearly did not in the 2000 election.
Gore won the election, but Bush was able to get the United States Supreme Court to rule that statutory deadlines were more important than the people's right to have their votes counted. In fact, the Supreme Court ruled that there is no right to vote for president under the Constitution. So the Supreme Court stopped the vote count when Bush had a 300 vote lead in Florida.
At least 106,951,161 people voted in the 2000 presidential election. The 106,951,161 people who voted in 2000 is slightly higher than the previous record of 105,155,190 who cast ballots in 1992. There is no exact figure because nine states do not require the total number of ballots cast to be reported to the Secretary of State or Board of Elections.
The 105,358,406 votes cast for president was the highest in history. In 1996, only 96,222,541 ballots were cast. The presidential vote jumped by 9,135,865; but as a percentage of those registered it was almost identical: 65.6356% in 2000 compared to 65.5457% in 1996. Here again, the percentages are only approximate for three technical reasons. The first is that not every state has voter registration. The second is that the motor voter law prohibits states from purging their voter lists of non-voters until two federal elections have passed. And the third is the aforementioned non reporting of total ballots cast.
Consequently, the 162,946,891 registered voters in 2000 is inflated compared to the 149,251,277 registered in 1996. Excluding the nine states that do not report total ballots cast raises the turnout to 66.7852% in 2000 and 66.6952% in 1996. Given the inflation in the voting rolls, it would be fair to say that about 70% of the active registered voters cast ballots in the 2000 general election, which is low for a presidential election by historic standards.
The contentious issue in the 2000 election was not the turnout, but the undervote, those people who went to the polls but who did not cast a ballot for president for one reason or another. As previously mentioned, the nationwide undervote can not be determined because nine states: Alabama, Arkansas, Indiana, Maine, Mississippi, Missouri, Pennsylvania, Texas, and Wisconsin do not report total ballots cast to the Secretary of State or Board of Elections. Arkansas has passed a law to require the total number of ballots cast to be reported, so there will be only eight states in the future.
In 1996, 1,602,819 voters did not cast ballots for president, compared to the 1,631,231 who did not vote for president in 2000. Omitting the votes cast in the nine non-reporting states, the nationwide undervote was 1.8803% in 2000, down from 2.0727% in 1996.
However, there were wide variations in undervote, both among states and within states. Illinois led with an undervote of 3.853%. Cook County, where Chicago with its large African-American population is located, had an undervote of 6.18%. Chicago is the home town of Bill Dowd, the Chairman of Gore’s campaign, the Secretary of Commerce in the Clinton Administration and brother of the windy city’s Mayor Richard Daley. It is scarcely conceivable that almost one out of every 16 voters in Chicago skipped the top of the ticket. Yet, 122,914 of the 1,988,821 voters in Cook County did not vote for president.
St. Clair County, which contains East St. Louis, one of the poorest cities in the United States, had an undervote of 4.03%. One in 25 voters in East St. Louis skipped the top of the ticket. After removing Cook County and St. Clair County from the Illinois numbers, the rest of heavily Republican downstate had an undervote of 2.21%. DuPage County, where Bush received his biggest plurality in Illinois, had an undervote of 1.34%.
Georgia had the second highest undervote with 3.7894%. Third was Wyoming, Republican Vice-Presidential candidate Dick Cheney’s home state, with 3.5902% not voting for president. Obviously, the people of Wyoming knew the quality of Dick Cheney and his friends from the oil industry long before the Enron debacle. North Carolina had an undervote of 3.4716%, next came South Carolina with 3.4621% and then Florida with 2.9342%.
Florida, of course, was not uniform across the board. The undervote varied from 0.24% in Seminole County to 12.6% in Gadsden County. [Link to complete analysis of Florida’s undervote.]
Just behind Florida comes the seventh state, Idaho, with an undervote of 2.9095%, Then New Mexico with 2.7198%. Only these eight states had undervotes of more than 2%. They cluster geographically. Idaho and Wyoming in the West. South Carolina, North Carolina, Georgia and Florida in the southeast all have large African-American populations. Then Illinois and New Mexico as isolated incidents.
Next came Kansas with just under the 2% barrier, 1.9908%. At the other end of the scale, there were eleven states that had less than 1% undervotes. The prize actually goes to Kansas in 1996, when favorite son Robert Dole was the Republican candidate for president. In that year only 0.18% of the voters did not cast ballots for president, less than 1 out of every 555 voters. What a great testimony to the personal integrity of Bob Dole.
In 2000, the prize went to Louisiana with 0.5899% undervote. Maryland came in second with an undervote of 0.6285%. Minnesota came in third with 0.7517%. Minnesota has same day registration, meaning voters can register to vote on the day of the election. Texas, which normally does not report total ballots cast, in the wake of the Florida controversy did a special study of undervote of all the counties except 3. Texas’s undervote was 0.7682%, which is slightly understated because of the missing counties. Alaska had 0.7869%; Rhode Island with 0.7986; Oklahoma with 0.8056%; Hawaii with 0.8307%; Iowa with 0.9415%; Vermont with 0.9786% and Connecticut with 0.9889%. New Jersey was just over the 1% mark with 1.0071%.
So, if eleven states can hold the undervote to less than 1%, and a further seven have less than 1.5%, how can there be whole states with over 3% and individual localities with undervotes of 6% and 12%. Something is rotten in the election mechanisms of the states.
Given the fact that eight states which cast over 20 million votes do not even report total ballots cast so it is impossible to tell if there are discrepancies with the undervote, and a further five states have undervote rates of over 3%, it is clear that the voting mechanism in the United States is too imprecise to accurately determine the winner in a close election. This imprecision creates a gray area into which the lawyers and courts can and do enter in order to determine the outcome of an election. This is a grave threat to democracy. And the current war and economic collapse is a direct result of the fact that the clearly expressed will of the voters in 2000 was thwarted by imprecise election machinery, a candidate who does not believe in democracy, and a partisan and corrupt judiciary.
The United States can send a missile 7,000 miles to within a few yards of its intended target, but is unable to count 107,000,000 votes to within an accuracy of more than + 1%. If missiles were as accurate as the vote count, they would miss their targets by 70 miles. The fact that even after the stolen election of 2000 there is no movement to repair the vote counting is pretty blatant proof that the leadership of the United States does not care about individual people, who are expendable tools. The problem is that in an age of nuclear arms, this cavalier attitude toward individuals might lead to the eradication of the human race.
In the 11 Governor races, the Democrats won 8 and the Republicans won 3. The three Republican victories in Montana, North Dakota and Utah were in states where respectively Bush received 58%, 60% and 66% of the vote.
The 5 Democratic victories in Indiana, Missouri, New Hampshire, North Carolina and West Virginia were in states that Bush also carried. The other three Democratic candidates for Governor won in the Gore states of Delaware, Vermont and Washington.
Overall, the Democratic candidates for Governor polled 6,942,442 votes to the Republicans' 5,966,679, almost a million more votes. An additional 263.440 voters cast ballots for independent candidates. These voters, who voted for Democratic Governor candidates by a margin of almost one million votes, were simultaneously voting for Bush over Gore by almost 1.1 million votes.
In the presidential race in the eleven gubernatorial states, Bush polled 6,973,010 votes, Gore got 5,844,860 votes, and independents received 449,047. These gubernatorial states cast 13,266,804 votes for president, and 13,228,851 votes for governor. That means that the candidates for governor received only 37,589 fewer votes than the candidates for president. This shows that voters, correctly, consider governors almost as important as presidents. For every 1,000 people who voted for president, 997 voted for governor. At least 900,000 Bush voters, or almost 1 in 8, cast ballots for the Democratic candidate for governor.
The Governors races show that even in states that voted heavily for Bush, the voters wanted split government by electing Democratic Governors. Indiana voted 56% for Bush and 56% for Democrat O'Bannon for Governor. Missouri voted 50.4% for Bush and 49.1% for Bob Holden, the winning Democratic candidate for Governor. New Hampshire voted 48% for Bush and 48% for Jean Shaheen, the Democratic candidate for Governor. North Carolina voted 52% for Bush and 52% for Mike Easley, the winning Democratic candidate for Governor. And West Virginia voted 51.9% for Bush and 50.1% for Democratic Congressman Bob Wise to become Governor.
Looking at the legislatures, the message is even clearer. Only 3 of the 11 states with Governor's races voted for the same party for president, governor and the two houses of the legislature. The other 8 states split. Montana, Utah and North Dakota voted Republican all the way. Bush carried these small traditionally Republican states by the gigantic margins of 25%, 27% and 40% respectively.
In Gore's states of Delaware, Vermont and Washington, where Democratic candidates were elected Governor, the voters still did not give the Democrats complete control of the legislatures. Delaware left the State Senate in Republican hands. Vermont put the Republicans in control of the State House of Representatives. Washington split the state Assembly 50-50.
Of the five states that voted for Bush and a Democrat for Governor, only two, Missouri and West Virginia left the party of the Governor in control of the legislature. In Indiana, the State Senate stayed Republican; in New Hampshire, the Democratic Governor was re-elected, but both houses of the legislature were left in solidly Republican hands. In North Carolina, the new Democratic Governor has to contend with a Republican State Senate.
The message of the Governor's races is pretty clear. Where the races are close, the voters were opting for divided government. Clearly, the voters went to the polls intending to elect a Democratic president with a Republican congress. From the historical perspective, it is absurd to think that the voters intended to elect the first all Republican national government in 48 years with a minority Republican president who squeaked through Florida with a 300 vote margin.
The irony of the situation and the beauty of democracy, even when it is being partially thwarted by gangster tactics in Congress and the courts, is that the fact that the Democratic Vice-Presidential candidate, Senator Joseph Lieberman, had run for re-election to the Senate simultaneously with his run for national office (an issue that the Republicans conveniently did not raise during the campaign) meant that the Republicans would control the Senate only if Gore won the Presidency. If Bush won, then the Senate would be tied 50-50 and neither party would be able to organize the Senate. In the event, Republican Senator Jim Jeffords switched to being an independent and gave control of the Senate to the Democrats after only 5 months of all Republican rule, proving, once again, that every vote counts.
In the Senate races, just like the presidential and governor races, the Democrats won more races with more votes than the Republicans. This was only good enough for a tie because the Democrats graciously gave the Republicans a one seat head start by declining to field a candidate in Arizona. Two party system indeed. Also, going into the election, the Republicans held 18 of the senate seats compared to the Democrats' 16. The Senate class of 2000 (Class 1) was elected in the Republican landslide Contract With America movement in 1994.
Of the 34 senate seats up for grabs in 2000, 23 were won by Senators seeking re-election, 4 were won by new members of the outgoing incumbent's political party, and only 7 changed hands. Democrat won 14 seats that they already held and the Republicans won 13 seats they already had. The Democrats took 5 seats from the Republicans and the Republicans took 2 seats from the Democrats. The final tally was 19 Democrats and 15 Republicans.
In the popular vote, the Democrats received 38,378,343 votes for Senate and the Republicans got 37,835,848, a difference of 542,495. The Democrats would have bested the Republicans by a million votes if they had run a candidate for Senate in Arizona (John McCain's state.) Independent candidates received 3,074,947 votes for Senator out of a total of 79,289,138.
In the 34 states with Senate races, Gore got 40,283,687 to Bush's 38,212,480, over 2 million more out of 81,652,936. The 3,160,545 votes for independent candidates for president was only 85,598 more than the independent Senate candidates received in spite of over 2.3 million more votes cast for president. However, these numbers are skewed by the absence of a Democratic candidate for Senate in Arizona who could have expected to receive about half a million votes.
Even so, the Democratic gains in the Senate were provided by razor thin margins. Two Democrats took Republican seats and one Democrat won re-election with less than 50% of the vote. No Republicans won with less than 50%. A further 3 Democrats won with just 50%, one gained a seat, one won re-election and one was a new candidate who kept a Democratic seat. In the 7 lowest winners, there was only 1 Republican who was re-elected.
Between the victory margins of 51% and 55%, two Democrats took Republican seats, one Republican took a Democratic seat, a Democrat was re-elected, a new Democrat kept a Democratic seat, a Republican and a Republican was re-elected. Of the 13 tightest races, those won with 55% of the vote or less (55% is normally considered a landslide), the Democrats won 10 and the Republicans won 3.
From winning totals of 56% to 60%, one Republican took a Democratic seat, one Democrat was re-elected, one Republican was re-elected and one new Republican kept a Republican seat. Between 61% and 70%, 4 Democrats and 8 Republicans won re-election. Above 70%, 2 Republicans and 3 Democrats won re-election.
In the Senate races, the Democrats managed to pull even with the Republicans by the skin of their teeth, even though they received half a million more votes.
The big story in the house races is the over 14% of the candidates who ran without a major party opponent. Yes, just as in the Senate races, the Democrats generously conceded the Republicans a one seat head start by refusing to field a candidate.
Sixty-three members of the House of Representatives (32 Republicans and 31 Democrats) ran without a major party opponent. That's 1 in 7. The unopposed candidates came from 17 states. Leading the pack was West Virginia where two of the three congressmen had no Republican opponent. The Republicans did pick up the House seat of Bob Wise, the victorious Democratic candidate for Governor, who unseated the undoubted author of the non-competitive strategy, Governor Underwood.
Royall Massett, a one time official of the Texas Republican Party, explained the non-competitive strategy as a device to keep the vote totals down for the opposition party. The logic is that if the Republicans had fielded candidates against the two, popular, incumbent Democratic House members, then they would have campaigned hard, raised and spent a lot of money, brought out long time supporters, and helped the top of the ticket. Not fielding candidates against popular incumbents is a means of depressing the vote totals for the opposite party. The strategy worked in West Virginia in 2000, the traditionally Democratic state voted for George W. Bush. But Bush's victory came at the expense of the Republican Party, because the Republicans are the traditional minority party in West Virginia. Building party power requires fielding candidates even if they lose for a while. Bush carried West Virginia, but at the expense of the Republican Party in West Virginia. The Republican party is becoming nothing more than the vehicle for the personal power of the Bush family.
Louisiana had 57%, or 4 of its 7 congressional representatives run unopposed. It was split 2 to 2, so neither party gained undue advantages from the arrangement. Alabama had 57% unopposed, 3 Republicans and 1 Democrat. Half of Massachusetts's congressional delegation had no opponent, all Democrats because all 10 of that state's House delegation are Democrats.
Next came Florida with 43% of the House seats unopposed. Ten of the 23 Florida representatives had no opponent, 7 Republicans and 3 Democrats. Wasn't it nice of the Democrats to give the Republicans a four seat head start in the crucial state of Florida? It shows that the parties have no faith in the coattail effect of their candidates for President. Anyway, the composition of the Congress is becoming increasingly irrelevant as the chief executive assumes more and more dictatorial powers.
After Florida came Tennessee, Al Gore's putative home state, with 33% running unopposed, 2 Democrats and 1 Republican. It is hard to take seriously the campaign of a candidate for president whose party is unable or unwilling to field a full slate of 9 candidates for in his own home state. No wonder Gore lost Tennessee. In a real democracy, there would be at least one Democrat in each of the unopposed Republican congressional districts who would have thought it was worth a shot to try and hitch a ride to Washington on the coattails of the local boy presidential candidate. Another anomaly is that even though Al Gore implied that he "invented the internet," Tennessee was one of the last states to put its election results on-line.
Then comes Colorado, also with 33%, both Republicans running unopposed. Then Texas, with 30% unopposed. Kansas and Arkansas had a quarter of their candidates running unopposed. Pennsylvania had 19%, the three states of South Carolina, Oklahoma, and North Carolina had 17% unopposed. Illinois had 15%, Georgia had 9%, California had 8%, Ohio 5% and New York 3%.
In the end, the Democrats gained 3 seats to make the House 222 Republicans to 212 Democrats with 2 independents.
The House was the only place where the Republicans actually received more votes than the Democrats. The Republican congressional candidates got 46,898,131 to the Democrats' 46,569,674, a difference of 328,457. Amazingly, the difference between the two parties congressional candidates in 1996, the last presidential election, was 314,046 on a turnout that was 7,112,499 votes lower.
The House races received 97,136,181 votes in 2000 compared to 90,023,682 in 1996. The Republicans gained 2,986,086 votes compared to the Democratic gain of 2,971,675, a difference of only 14,411. What this means is that of the extra 7,112,499 votes cast for House candidates in 2000 over 1996, for every 492 voters that split evenly between the Republicans and Democrats, the 493rd voted Republican. In 1996, the Republican and Democratic candidates for the House of Representatives were even, except that 1 out of every 286 voters cast an extra ballot for the Republicans. In 2000, it was 1 out of every 295 voters. If this does not show that the voters were opting for no change, then nothing does. It also shows that presidential race was not the only one that was close. Gore's margin was 1 vote in every 198. It was even closer in the House, except it was in favor of the Republicans.. .
Independent candidates for the House of Representatives received 2,513,638 votes in 1996 compared to 3,668,376 in 2000.
The House races mirror the tight presidential and the evenly divided Senate. Nationally, the two parties were very close. But locally, the opposite was the case. The Republicans had 57 victors who received more than 70% of the vote, compared to the Democrats who had 54 winning with more than 80% of the vote, and 99 with more than 70%. That means that 156, or more than 1/3 of the House seats were won by more than 70% of the vote.
The Democrats had another 34 who won with more than 65% of the vote and the Republicans had another 52. That makes a total of 242, or more than half of the Congressional representatives who won by more than about 2/3rds of the vote.
Another 46 Republicans and 32 Democrats won with more than 60% of the vote. That's a total of 320, or more than 2/3rds of the House winning by more than 60%.
The Republicans had 36 candidates who won with between 55% and 60%, while the Democrats had another 20. Traditionally, 55% is considered a landslide. If only seats where the winner won with less than 55% of the vote are considered competitive, then there are only 59 of the 435 House seats that are competitive races.
Of these seats, the Republicans won 26 by between 50% and 55%, and won 4 with less than 50%. The Democrats won 20 with between 50% and 55%, and another 7 were won with less than 50%.
The Republicans won the 8th district in Michigan by 160 votes and defeated incumbent David Minge in Minnesota's 2nd district by 155 votes. The best the Democrats could do was the Holt-Zimmer race in New Jersey's 12th District where incumbent congressman Rush Holt defeated the former congressman Dick Zimmer by 651 votes. Zimmer gave up the seat in 1996 to run unsuccessfully for the U.S. Senate against Robert Torricelli.
What this shows is that neither the Republican nor the Democratic parties are truly national parties. The political map reflects the basically segregated nature of the country where there are no-go areas. The Republicans are dead in the ghettos and central cities. The Democrats are way behind in the southern and western Bible Belts and in the farm country.
A quick look at the total votes cast for each candidate tells the story. The highest Republican vote getter in a contested race was Johnny Isakson from Georgia's 6th District who received 256,595 votes. Isakson, a former gubernatorial candidate, holds the seat formerly occupied by Newt Gingrich.
The top Democrat vote getter was Delahunt from Massachusetts' 10th district with 234,675.
The average house race received about 230,000 total votes, so for a candidate to receive more votes than the average for an entire race is really quite extraordinary. But looking at the low end tells a different story.
The 16th highest total votes cast for a Democrat, the 189,971 ballots cast for Nancy Keenan in Montana, were cast for a loser. That is because Montana's single seat had a turnout of 410,521 voters.
While Nancy was losing with almost 190,000 votes, Congressman Roybal-Allard, who received 60,510 votes, the 382nd highest number of votes cast for a Democrat, was winning in California's 33rd District. Yes, a vote in California's 33rd congressional district was worth exactly 5.7 times more than a vote in Montana. Only 71,571 votes were cast in the 33rd district, compared to the 410,521 in Montana's district.
OK, so that's an anomaly caused by the vagaries of reapportionment and the prohibition against House districts encompassing populations from different states. But voters can still turn out in force when they have a hotly contested race. In the 6th district of Minnesota where Congressman Luther beat back a stiff challenge, 355,824 ballots were cast. That is still almost 5 times the number cast in Roybal-Allard's district.
It is well to remember that the alleged reason for stopping the vote count in Florida was that the Republicans claimed that varying standards from county to county might result in a vote being 3 times more likely to be counted in one county than in another. Forgetting the fact that there were only 175,000 votes out of over 6 million, even without contesting the discrepancy, the more votes that were accurately counted the closer the result would be to the real result.
Meanwhile in the House races, some voters' ballots were worth almost 5 times what another vote was worth. Yet, no one contends that a congressional representative elected with 60,510 votes should have any less power or a vote than a representative elected with 256,595.
The reason for this anomaly is that the census is based on population while only citizens can vote. Therefore, the Democratic congressmen who represent the inner city ghettos where many, many poor immigrants live, are elected with much lower totals than congressman representing the suburbs. A further distortion is that reapportionment occurs only once every 10 years, while there can be massive population shifts in the intervening time. Therefore, it is not uncommon to see House races in the rapidly growing south and west with turnouts of well over 300,000 voters, while districts in the central cities can do well to break the 100,000 vote barrier.
Top of the Ticket Turnout - Election Axiom #2
These House races also prove Leinsdorf's Election Axiom Number 2, namely, that the the top of the ticket determines turnout. In other words, very few people will bother to go to the polls to vote for Senator, Governor, Representative or local Council member if there is no one they like running for president. The top of the ticket determines the turnout.
In 1996, when 90,023,682 votes were cast for House candidates, there were 19 unopposed House candidates. Contests with unopposed candidates invariably draw fewer voters than those with a full slate of candidates to choose from.
In 2000, there were 44 more unopposed House districts than there were in 1996. A good rule of thumb is that an unopposed race experiences a decline of 50,000 votes. So, the 44 extra unopposed seats could be expected to generate a decline of 2,200,000 votes. These two million votes are the difference between the 9 million increase in votes cast in the presidential race and the 7 million extra cast in the House races. But it also proves that the extra 9 million presidential voters generated an additional 6 million votes for the Republican and Democratic House candidates without changing the results from 1996 almost at all. Only 1 in 493 of these voters cast an extra ballot for the Republicans, a total of 14,411. That is enough to change the outcome of 1 House race. The Democrats gained 3 seats. They might have gained 4 without those extra 9 million presidential voters.
The increase in voter turnout was almost all from independents who voted for Perot in 1992 but just stayed home in 1996. They came out to vote in 2000 and voted overwhelmingly for Bush, but in the House races, they split 50-50 between the Republicans and Democrats. The meaning of this top of the ticket turnout phenomenon is that candidates running for lesser offices have to determine their strategy given the turnout generated by the top of the ticket. People running for subsidiary offices do not materially contribute to the turnout in an election. That is why running on a ticket is so important to victory. Just running as a party candidate delivers a huge block of voters who came out to vote, not for the subsidiary candidate, but for the top of the ticket.
Just as in the House of Representatives, the Republicans eeked out narrow victories in the State Senates and State Houses of Representatives. Republicans took 596 State Senate seats compared to 544 for the Democrats. Running unopposed were 215 Republicans and 202 Democrats, which works out to 36.07% and 37.13% respectively. Overall, 417 state senators ran unopposed for a rate of 36.58%, 7.91% higher than in 1996, and more than double the unopposed rate in the federal House of Representatives.
The results in the state assemblies was even closer, 2,318 winning Republicans versus 2,308 winning Democrats. Here again, 890 Republicans had no Democratic opponent and 996 Democrats had no Republican opponent for rates of 38.4% and 43.1% respectively. Overall, 1,879 state representatives ran without major party opposition, for a rate of 40.62%, more than four out of every ten state representatives. This was an increase of 7.93% from 1996. Note how the percentage increase for both the unopposed State Senators and unopposed State Representatives was almost identical, 7.91% versus 7.93%.
However, the distribution of these unopposed candidates was far from uniform. There are six states where the majority of the state legislators ran unopposed: Arkansas (68% of the senate and 71% of the House); Georgia (53% of the Senate and 68% of the house); Idaho (74% of the Senate and 50% of the House); Massachusetts (72% of the Senate and 70% of the State Representatives); South Carolina (50% of the Senate and 69% of the House); and Texas (83% of the Senate and 72% of the House).
Notice that Clinton, Bush and Dukakis four of the six major party presidential candidates over the past 12 years, were governors of states where a majority of the state legislators ran unopposed. One possible explanation is that governors of states where the legislators are assured re-election have more time to devote to running for president because they do not have to spend very much time persuading the legislature. Assured of re-election, the normal log rolling give and take, usually necessary to pass bills in a democratic government, is unnecessary. So the governors are free to campaign around the country and raise funds for their presidential bids.
Seven other states have the majority of one house unopposed, and the second house very close. Arizona (43% of the Senate and 50% of the House); Florida (50% of the Senate and 41% of the House) [and this was the legislature that threatened to certify a slate of electors for Bush regardless of the vote count or court mandated recounts]; Illinois (47% of the Senate and 51% of the House); Indiana (64% of the Senate and 42% of the House); New Mexico (50% of the Senate and 41% of the House); and Wyoming (46.6% of the Senate and 51% of the House.)
These 13 states are like a rogues gallery of electoral malfeasance. It helps explain the anomalously high presidential undervote in Idaho, Wyoming, Illinois, and Florida. The voters were signaling that something was rotten in the electoral processes of their states. Furthermore, it shows why Clinton, Bush, and Carter are such lousy presidents while Reagan was such a good one. Governors who have to deal with legislatures that are elected by the voters develop the skills necessary to persuade the electorate to follow their lead. Governors of states where the legislature is chosen, not by the people, but through political deals by party leaders, end up having to rely excessively on the police power in order to govern as president.
Forty-three states voted on 213 ballot questions at the 2000 General Election. Voters approved 138 (64.7%) and defeated 75 of the questions. The court in Oregon refused to allowed the canvass of the votes of one measure. Eight states had only 1 question. Thirty percent of the questions were asked in just 4 states: Oregon (25); Alabama (14); Arizona (14) and Colorado (12). A further 15 states had another 98 questions, almost half of the total. So, 19 states had over 3/4 of the ballot questions.
Examining ballot questions is a good way to see what the voters think about the issues. There are two criteria, both of which will be examined. The first is, of course, whether the issue passes or fails and by how much. The second is the relative importance of the issue. In states with many questions on the ballot, it is possible to see which issues are considered more important than others by looking at the total number of ballots cast for that issue.
In general, ballot issues rarely receive more votes than candidates for statewide office. Usually, president receives the most votes, governor the second most, U.S. Senator and then the combined U.S. House races (but only if they are all contested.) Then comes the ballot questions.
The question that passed with the highest percentage was Georgia Amendment #2, to Adjust the ad valorem tax exemption for the homestead exemption with 88.2% of the vote. Other top vote getters were Minnesota's Amendment to recall elected state officials, North Carolina's Alternative Punishment, Oregon's Measure #84 that requires state payment for state mandated programs, a South Carolina reduction of state property tax on cars and pick-up trucks, Virginia's local control of lottery proceeds, Mississippi's barring federal felons from holding office, Georgia's Amendments #1 which removes General Assembly members upon conviction and #3 which provides non-permanent disability compensation for police and firemen. South Dakota repealed the Death Tax by 80.12%, better than 4 to 1. So, the issues that passed with the highest percentages usually dealt with money.
At the other end of the scale, the issue that failed by the biggest percentage was the Oregon Measure #90 which would have authorized rates giving utilities a return on retired property. Only 11.61% of the voters supported this measure. Arizona refused to let phone companies set their own rates, Georgia did not give property tax exemptions to the Elks Lodges, New Mexico kept term limits, Oregon kept mandatory minimum sentences for certain felonies, Alaska refused to allow their permanent fund to be managed by a board appointed by the Governor without confirmation, Maine nixed an initiative to require landowners to get permits for all clear cutting, Alaska defeated a property tax limit and California rejected school vouchers with less than 30% of the voters supporting Proposition 38.
The bad news on the democracy front was that Measure #7 in Oregon which would have required payment to landowners if government regulation reduces the value of their land was on the ballot, the voters voted, but a court challenge after the election has resulted in a ruling prohibiting the vote from being canvassed. This issue is still being argued in the courts as of March 5, 2002. The case is based on a technicality. In many states, the constitution requires that amendments deal with only one issue. The opponents of Measure #7 claim that it deals with more than one.
The margin by which issues pass is not a measure of their importance. It is the total number of ballots cast both for and against each issue which shows how important it is to the voters. Because of the different number of voters in each state, this measure is relative.
Among Oregon's 25 ballot measures, #5 expanding the circumstances requiring background checks before the transfer of firearms received the most votes and was approved by 61.79% of the voters. In Arizona, English language as a priority for children in public schools was the biggest issue, passing with 63% of the vote. Alabama voters cared most about paying a $350 million bond from an economic development trust fund. Oregon's second most contentious issue, the prohibition of
public school instruction encouraging gay and bi-sexual behavior, lost with 47.11% support. Colorado voted for background checks at gun shows with 70% of the vote, while Nebraska voted by the same amount for an initiative limiting marriage to unions of men and women. Oregon voted against linking teacher pay to student performance and limiting seniority rights with less than 35% in favor. Mississippi voted by 53% to repeal its ban on a lottery, Massachusetts saved dog racing with 49% voting to ban it, and California voted overwhelmingly against school vouchers.
As in prior years, the important issues for voters were those affecting life style. Only one issue, the California school voucher vote, was on the list of the 10 most important issues, and the ten highest yes vote. Only 3 of the 10 most important issues were related to money in any way, while 6 of the 10 highest yes vote percentages dealt with money.
By contrast, the least important issues were mostly procedural. Michigan declined to require a supermajority (2/3rds) vote for local laws. Louisiana would not authorize local governments to donate revenue for industrial development. Missouri would not let a Citizen's Compensation Commission set elected officials' salaries. Nevada will not invest state money for economic development. Alaska defeated an attempt to limit constitutional amendments to one subject and prohibit the courts from changing the language. New York defeated a transportation infrastructure bond issue. California defeated Proposition 37 which would have required a 2/3rds vote for taxes and fees. New Hampshire would not let municipalities exercise all powers not specifically prohibited. Arizona would not change the management of state trust lands and Maine would not allow land used for commercial fishing to be assessed based on current use.
Of the 20 least important issues that passed, three dealt with reapportionment. Other successful unimportant issues included things like Kentucky's abolition of the railroad commission and the transfer of its powers to other agencies. Montana allowed 25% of the state compensation fund to be invested in stocks. New Mexico provided a mechanism for Bernalillo County to become a home rule county. Oklahoma decided to allow school levies to continue from year to year without a vote, unless there is a change. South Dakota voted to allow local government cooperation and consolidation. Arkansas revised its judicial article and Georgia increased from 5 to 7 years the time allowed for judges to be admitted to the bar. Rhode Island voted for a Constitutional Convention to provide for co-equal branches of government, Utah revised and updated the local government article of the constitution and Nebraska identified initiative and referendum and removed obsolete language.
In other words, the least important issues, those which received the least votes, were primarily housekeeping issues. Lifestyle issues, those that really affect the way people live their daily lives, are the hot button political issues which really bring out the voters. That's why people like George Bush use issues like abortion to get people to vote against their own economic self-interest. People like Al Gore use issues in the same way, he supports choice and a relatively fairer tax code in exchange for repealing the first amendment to the constitution. Lifestyle issues are more important than money, and money is more important than procedural questions.
Other State Wide Offices
Only 5 of the 11 states that elected Governors also elected Lieutenant Governors. The unified ticket, where the voter casts a single ballot for both offices has become the norm. The 2000 election results show why.
The 5 states that elected Lieutenant Governors separately from the Governor: Delaware, Missouri, North Carolina, Vermont and Washington, elected both Democratic Governors and Lieutenant Governors. A total of 8,077,295 votes were cast for Lieutenant Governor compared to 8,375,786 for the governor candidates, almost 300,000 fewer.
The Democratic Lieutenant Governor candidates received 4,295,912 (53.22%) against 3,441,296 (42.64%) for the Republicans and 334,114 (4.14%) for independents. Although more votes were cast for Governor, the Democratic gubernatorial percentage of 53.31% was only 0.09% higher than the Lieutenant Governor vote. The Republican gubernatorial percentage, however, was 1.68% higher and the independent vote was 1.77% lower.
What this means is that for every Democratic voter for Governor who refused to support the Democratic candidate for Lieutenant Governor, there were 23 Republican governor voters who refused to support the Republican candidate for Lieutenant Governor. This shows that almost 1 out of every 26 Republican Governor voters voted for an independent Lieutenant Governor candidate, compared to only 1 out of every 600 Democratic voters.
This shows that much can be learned from careful examination of election results. Clearly, if Republicans want to win, they have to appeal to independent voters.
There were 11 Attorneys General elected in 2000, but not all in the same states that had Governor races. Two states that did not have Governor contests, Oregon and Pennsylvania, also elected Attorney Generals; while two states that did elect Governors, Delaware and New Hampshire, did not elect Attorney Generals. That is why there were 4 million more votes cast for Attorney General than for Governor.
There were 17,289,752 votes cast for Attorney General, 8,666,978 (50.13%) for the Democratic candidates, 8,066,028 (46.65%) for the Republican candidates and 556,746 (3.22%) for the independent candidates. The Democrats won 7 races and the Republicans only 4, probably because the Republicans refused to field candidates in Vermont and West Virginia.
Frequently, voters will elect an Attorney General from the opposite party of the Governor, as a kind of political check. Assuming a tendency toward corruption in the executive, having the chief law enforcement officer from a different political party can make sense.
In 2000, only 3 of the 9 states that elected both Governors and Attorney Generals split party control between the two offices: Indiana, Montana, and North Dakota. Of the other 6, Vermont and West Virginia did not even have a Republican candidate for Attorney General, even though those states elected Democratic Governors. The oversight is more understandable in West Virginia, where the incumbent Republican Governor was expected to win re-election.
But in Vermont, the cross endorsement of the first term Democrat Sorrell for the open Attorney General's seat being vacated by Amestoy, a Republican and long time office holder, is really unforgivable. The fact that Republicans gained control of the Vermont House of Representatives gaining 17 seats to turn a 66 to 79 deficit into a 83 to 62 majority, and the gain of one seat in the state senate is a pretty good indication that the voters might have elected a Republican Attorney General as a check on the Democratic governor. The fact that the Republican leadership in Vermont refused to field a candidate shows that they have either forgotten the elementary rules of checks and balances in democratic government or they just do not care. No wonder U. S. Senator Jim Jeffords switched to independent, depriving the Republicans of control of the Senate.
Secretaries of State
There were 8 Secretary of State races in 2000. The Secretary of State often is the elected official in charge of running the elections, so voters often elected Secretaries of State from a different party than the Governor or Attorney General.
In 2000 however, only 3 of the 8 states split party control of the top three statewide offices: Missouri, Montana and Washington. In North Carolina only the Labor Commissioner bucked the solid Democratic trend. In North Dakota, only the Agriculture Secretary bucked the Republican sweep. The Vermont Treasurer was the only Republican, but he was endorsed by the Democrats, too. Oregon and West Virginia had Democratic sweeps for the top state offices, but in West Virginia, both the Attorney General and the Secretary of State had no Republican opponent.
The Democrats and Republicans split the Secretaries of State 4 to 4. One Democrat ran unopposed. The Republicans received 4,655,706 (45.17%) votes, the Democrats 5,255,063 (50.99%), and the independents received 395,757 votes, or 3.84%. A total of 10,306,526 votes were cast for Secretary of State.
Ten states elected Treasurers. The Republicans received 10,370,793 votes (49.87%), the Democrats got 9,853,626 (47.38%) and the independents garnered 542,820 (2.61%). The total vote for Treasurer was 20,795,017.
Even though the Republicans received more votes than the Democrats, with just under an absolute majority, Republicans won only 4 seats while the Democrats won 6. One reason for this is that 3 Treasurers were unopposed. The Democrats did not run candidates in Utah and Vermont (the Vermont Treasurer was endorsed by both the Republicans and Democrats), and the Republicans did not field a candidate in West Virginia. Had the two parties fielded candidates in all races, the final vote totals would have been much closer. Notice that 517,167 votes separate the Republicans and Democrats while the independents received 542,820.
Eight states elected auditors, two of whom ran unopposed. The Democrats won 6 Auditor races and the Republicans won 2. Republicans received 5,034,758 (43.34%) to the Democrats 6,277,557 (54.04%) with the independents receiving another 304,759 (2.62%). A total of 11,617,074 ballots were cast for Auditor.
Frequently, voters split party control between the Treasurer and Auditor, for obvious reasons in light of the Enron scandal. Of the 8 states that elected Auditors, 7 elected Treasurers also. Montana did not elect a Treasurer while in Utah and West Virginia, the auditor candidates were unopposed.
In the 5 states where the voters had a choice, 3 split party control between the Treasurer and Auditor, while two chose them both from the same party. The Democrats managed to hold on to the Auditor's office in North Carolina by just 28,321 votes, or 1.02%. So, balance of powers is an integral part of the electoral as well as statutory landscape.
Four states elected Education Commissioners or Superintendents of Public Instruction. Republicans won 2 in Florida and Indiana while the Democrats won in Montana and North Carolina.
The Republican candidates received 5,612,516 votes (52.06%) and the Democrats received 4,961,465 votes (46.02%). The independents received 207,032 or 1.92%. A total of 10,781,013 votes were cast for Education Commissioner and Superintendent of Public Instruction.
Public Service and Public Utilities Commissioners
There were 3 Public Service Commission races and 1 Public Utilities Commissioner race in 2000. The Republicans won 3 and the Democrats won 1. Georgia had two races, and split them one each between the Republicans and Democrats. In North Dakota, the Republican managed to win the Public Service Commissioner race by a razor thin 1,059 votes, or 0.394%. South Dakota, which calls the office the Public Utilities Commission, elected the third Republican.
Overall, the Republicans received 2,464,779 (49.04%) to the Democrats 2,395,969 (46.70%). The independents got 269,792 (5.26%), which was enough to keep either party from getting a majority. A total of 5,130,540 votes were cast.
Insurance, Agriculture, Labor, Tax, Corporation and Public Lands Commissioners
Three states elected Insurance Commissioners, two elected Agriculture Commissioners, and there was one each for Labor, Tax, Corporation and Public Lands Commissioners.
North Carolina and Washington each elected a Democratic Insurance Commissioner while North Dakota elected a Republican. Overall, the Republicans received 2,301,077 votes (43.54%); the Democrats received 2,891,401 (54.71%) and the independent got 92,185 (1.74%). A total of 5,284,663 votes were cast for Insurance Commissioner.
The Democrats swept the Commissioner of Agriculture races. Both North Carolina and West Virginia, which Bush carried, elected Democrats for the agricultural posts. This is a pretty good indication that it was the urban vote and suburban vote that delivered those states to the Republicans in national election, but that there is still trouble down on the farm. Low farm prices and mounting farmer bankruptcies were a major cause of the great economic depression of the 1930's. There are far fewer farmers today, but historically low commodity prices are a signal of economic trouble.
The Republicans received 1,386,311 (42.13%) to the Democrats' 1,903,812 (57.8%). But the lopsided results are skewed by the fact that the Republicans did not field a candidate in West Virginia. In North Carolina, again, the Democrats held on by 32,853 votes, or 1.13%. A total of 3,290,123 votes were cast for Agriculture Commissioner.
Finally, the Republicans carried all four bullet offices of Labor Commissioner in North Carolina, Tax Commissioner in North Dakota, Corporation Commissioner in Oklahoma and Commissioner of Public Lands in Washington State.
The Commissioner of Public Lands was a significant victory for the Republicans because the Democratic candidate was Mike Lowry, a former congressman. Although the race was not close, the Republican won by more than 100,000 votes, 49.47% to 45.11%; the 125,985 votes received by the Libertarian candidate, was enough to keep the winner below the 50% majority threshold.
Conclusion - A Fraudulent Election Yields An Impostor President
The 2000 presidential election was a fraud right from the start. Beginning with the nominations of Bush by the Republicans and Gore by the Democrats, both parties chose the grandson and the son of former Senators who served together from 1953 to 1962 and the son of President.
This trend toward hereditary power is pronounced in both parties and is made possible by the collusion of the media in refusing to cover independent candidates and by their exclusion from the public debates.
The charade of democracy moved on to the Vice-Presidential nomination where Dick Cheney, who was the head of Bush's search committee, moved back to Wyoming from Texas just one week before his selection as Bush's running mate in order to superficially comply with the constitutional prohibition against the President and the Vice-President coming from the same state. This was an early indication that the Bush team does not take the intent of the constitution too seriously. To them, the constitution is nothing but a legal document to be used or circumvented at their whim.
Of course, the Democrats could not complain. Gore's running mate, Joseph Lieberman ran for re-election to the U.S. Senate while he ran for Vice-President. Naturally, neither party could point out the improprieties of the behavior of the Vice-Presidential candidates because they were both violating the spirit of democratic processes, if not the letter of the law.
Then, during the campaign, Gore's campaign received the stolen Bush campaign debate briefing books while the Bush campaign used subliminal advertising. Another wash.
The debates themselves were a fraud, because they excluded independent candidates like Ralph Nader and Pat Buchanan, undermining the fundamental purpose of a political campaign which is to discuss issues so that whoever wins the election can govern with the advice and consent of and a mandate from the people.
When elections are run so that points of view are physically excluded from the debate because the candidate espousing them "can't win", then democracy is weakened and the government is vulnerable because it was constituted without due regard to the realities of the problems it faces. It is a government formed with limited public participation.
The Supreme Court decision barring the counting the votes and Gore's capitulation in this obvious fraud was only the icing on the cake. But anyone who thinks that the September 11 attacks on the World Trade Center and Pentagon had nothing to do with the first election in 112 years where the candidate with less votes was awarded the White House, knows nothing about the relationship between public policy and democratic elections.
Having won the election by fraud and lies, Bush has no powers in his quiver except the police powers and force. And given the contempt he has shown for the American voter and the concept of equality among people, it can only be imagined what kind of secret bullying and misdeeds he committed in foreign policy that precipitated the attacks.
Anyway, Bush ran on a war platform. That platform was rejected by a plurality of the voters. But the supreme court, relying on their religious beliefs rather than legal precedent and the constitution, installed an administration which has blundered the nation into a religious war.
Bush is a cross between Senator Robert A. Taft and Nelson Rockefeller
Bush comes out of a long tradition of the Republican Party, a rich, hard working, spoiled brat who has inherited his success in life. Until now, the Republican Party refused to nominate candidates like him. It rejected Ohio Senator Robert A. Taft, "Mr. Republican" and the son of President William Howard Taft in 1940, 1948 and 1952. William Taft was also Chief Justice of the United States Supreme Court and his great grand son, the namesake of the Senator, is currently Governor of Ohio. Yet, during the great debate over the vote count in Florida, not a single Republican stood up for the principal of counting all the votes, including Governor Taft.
Bush, on the abortion issue, and Taft on the issue of democracy and integrity, are positive insults to the memories of their forbears whose legitimate success is responsible for where they are today. I would not want to share a foxhole with either of those people, nor even shake their hands.
Bush's campaign manner is similar to that of Nelson A. Rockefeller, four time Governor of New York, whose vast personal wealth also failed to secure the Republican nomination for president. Rockefeller, coincidentally, was primarily responsible for the construction of the World Trade Center (with tax exempt bond money, of course.)
Bush has the same glad handing "Hiya fella" campaign style as Rockefeller, with the only difference being whereas Rockefeller was a philanderer, Bush was a drunk. And Bush shares the same unilateralist philosophy in foreign policy that Republicans rejected in Senator Robert A. Taft.
Having finally prevailed in the Republican Party, the Bush-Taft-Rockefeller axis of privilege was defeated by the voters, but the Supreme Court, using a law passed after the last election which was won by the loser (before women and African-Americans were allowed to vote) and which was designed to curb the abuses of Congress in the first place, was used to stop the vote count and install the loser in the White House.
The 2000 election was a disaster for democracy and a tragedy for the United States. The two still unanswered mysteries of the election are: why did Gore feel the need to concede defeat at 2:00 a.m. when everyone knowledgeable in elections knows that it takes days and weeks to accurately count all the votes; and why did he throw in the towel instead of fighting for his 538,948 vote plurality all the way through the electoral college and the congress. On the night of the New Hampshire primary, Al Gore's refrain in his victory speech was, "I will fight for you." That turned out to be the biggest lie of the campaign.