The Shadow of the 2000 Election


What does the specter of the 2000 election mean for the upcoming election? The race between George W. Bush and Al Gore that year turned on the result in Florida, where the vote was incredibly close and mired in balloting issues. After initially conceding, Mr. Gore, the Democratic nominee, contested the count.

What followed was a flurry of court cases, recounts, partisan fury and confusion. It would be months until — after a Supreme Court decision — Mr. Bush would become the 43rd president of the United States.

The confrontation held political lessons for both sides. Lessons that could be put to the test next week in an election likely to be shrouded in uncertainty: The pandemic, the volume of mail-in voters and questions around mail delivery could result in legal disputes.

Today, we take a look back at the contest between Mr. Gore and Mr. Bush.

Guest: Jim Rutenberg, a writer-at-large for The New York Times and The Times Magazine.

For more information on today’s episode, visit

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