Nomination and Elections

The 2000 election was marked by a great deal of controversy. Bush overwhelmingly won the Republican nomination for president and chose Dick Cheney as his running mate. He ran against the outgoing vice president, Al Gore. The popular vote was won by Gore by 543,816 votes. However, the electoral vote was won by Bush-Cheney by five votes. The last time the president had won the electoral vote without winning the popular vote was in 1888.

Recount in Florida

The outcome of the vote centered on the state of Florida. On election night, several media outlets declared Gore the winner of Florida based upon exit polling. However, as the tallies continued to come in it appeared Bush won the state by a little more than 1,000 votes. In fact, he would go on to squeak out a win by only 537 votes. The tightness of the race forced a manual recount and many legal battles in the state. Eventually, the Supreme Court of the United States heard the case Bush v. Gore and ruled in favor of the election night results thereby halting the recounting efforts. The court decided that inconsistent vote-counting standards and the lack of a single judicial figure overseeing the process created an inequitable process which violated the Equal Protection Clause of the U.S. Constitution. The resolution of this election left many Democrats quite bitter about the outcome and they vowed to run a more vigorous campaign in 2004.

2004 Election

The Republican party nominated Bush for reelection against the Democratic challenger Senator John Kerry. The election centered on how each would deal with terrorism and the war in Iraq. Each candidate's military record was brought into question. George Bush's service in the National Guard was brought up again, but this time the issue was actually two-fold. First, there was the question of whether he gained preferential treatment to enter the National Guard, thus avoiding the draft and the Vietnam War. Also, there were questions as to whether he was given preferential treatment in fulfilling his service commitment to the guard. He had irregular attendance at the end with no apparent punishment and a six-month early dismissal to attend Harvard. John Kerry's military service was questioned because of his actions upon returning from Vietnam, when he became an outspoken critic of the war. In the end, Bush won a little more than 50 percent of the popular vote and 286 out of 538 electoral votes.

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