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Alternate History

2000 U.S. Presidential Election (The Gipper Goes Down)

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Republicans

With Clinton retiring and Vice-President Gore seeming vulnerable due to scandals and some voter fatigue after 12 years of Democratic control of the White House, a number of Republicans vied for the nomination. Among them were Senators Dan Quayle (Indiana), John McCain (Arizona), Orrin Hatch (Utah), and Arlen Specter (Pennsylvania), as well as Representative John Kasich of Ohio. The "star" candidate, however, was George W. Bush of Texas, the popular Governor of Texas and son of the last Republican to be elected President (George H. W. Bush in 1984). Bush had been presented as the consensus candidate of the caucus of Republican Governors in order to present an instant, well-funded front-runner and avoid the in-fighting that had dominated previous Republican primaries. Their plan worked very well, as Bush positioned himself as an "outsider" to a Washington establishment unpopular with the average voter due to President Clinton's infidelity scandals and the excessive partisan zeal exhibited by the Republican leadership in Congress. Soon, the "establishment" candidates (most of them Senators) coalesced around the figure of John McCain of Arizona, and from that point on it became a 2-man race. Following an extremely divisive and bitter contest, Bush bested McCain to capture the nomination. With the two top vote-getters seemingly irreconcilably estranged as a result of the primaries, Bush "followed his heart" and surprisingly selected Gary Bauer, a man tied with evangelist conservative circles.

Top-Finishers in the Republican Primaries

  • George W. Bush (nominee)
  • John McCain
  • Dan Quayle
  • John Kasich
  • Arlen Specter

Democrats

Vice President Gore was nominated, although only following a surprisingly spirited primaries challenge from former Senator Bill Bradley of New Jersey (in addition to a fringe candidate, Al Sharpton of New York). Gore selected as his running mate California Senator Diane Feinstein of California, energizing Democratic women voters and thus reconciling the party with many females following the Clinton infidelity scandals (Feinstein had been one of the strongest critics of Clinton and his moral lapses). Senator Feinstein also solidified Jewish support for the ticket, being the first Jewish candidate for Vice-President in U.S. history.

Top-Finisher in Democratic Primaries

  • Albert Gore Jr. (nominee)
  • Bill Bradley
  • Al Sharpton

Electoral College Result:

Gore/Feinstein: 291

Bush/Bauer: 246

Popular Result

Gore/Feinstein: 47.7%

Bush/Bauer: 47.2%


In an extraordinarily close and disputed election, Vice-President Gore won the presidency when Florida was certified as a Democratic win by less than 1000 votes.

Congressional elections

House of Representatives

Republican = 232

Democratic = 201

Independent = 2

Senate

Republican = 56

Democratic = 43

Independent = 1

See also

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