Imagine you?re a Jew living in Florida and just got done voting. Ten minutes later, you realized that you just voted for Pat Buchanan, a guy who labeled Hitler ?a great man?. This was the same scenario for 3000 people who lived in a community called Lakes of Delray. This was one of the outcomes of the infamous butterfly ballot, one of the many oddities that went on in the closest election ever. The race between robot, Al Gore, and idiot, George W. Bush, was to be the most controversial public event of the new millennium. It raised so much attention, Jake Tapper, Washington Correspondent for salon.com, decided to write a book about it. This one-sided book reports about the election and the days after very thoroughly. Throughout the next pages, I will summarize this report, tell of some of the conspiracies that went on during the election, and voice my own opinion on the topic.
?Down & Dirty: The Plot To Steal The Presidency? by Jake Tapper is a democratic interpretation of the events that went on during the 2000 election. Although Jake has some really good points and good jokes making fun of Bush, the way he presents his material is extremely abstract. In any given chapter, there?s at least 15 different parts on different things. This makes it hard to summarize the book adequately. Jake basically starts off on Election Day, talking about the candidates and the polls. He then moves on to the controversy at the polls sighting millions of anecdotes. Jake explains that a recount is necessary and he goes into all the standards. A lot of the middle of this book is on Bush?s trials to stop the recount and/or demand tough standards on the recounting process. To show how dirty Bush is, Jake cites how Bush paid supporters to protest in front of recounting places. The protesters ?got obnoxious, and hostile and violent, and clearly some of them should have been escorted out of the building if not arrested.? The rest of the book is basically trials to stop the recount. At the very end, Jake explains how unfair the Supreme Court ruling was (in a lot of complex words), and finally, how Gore concedes to America gracefully.
Surprisingly enough what went on during this whole process wasn?t graceful, though, it was conspiratorial and extremely odd. The most famous conspiracy is Lepore?s butterfly ballot . This was so confusing because instead of having every candidate for president listed on one side with the holes to the right, the holes went down the middle with the candidates on either side. This means that even though Al Gore is listed second on the ballot, his hole is third; the second hole was assigned to Pat Buchanan. To most people, the ballot shouldn?t be too confusing because it does have helpful arrows from the candidate to their hole, but you can?t forget, Florida is full of retired people who don?t have the best eyesight.
Another huge conspiracy of the election was the officials during and after. People were being turned away from the polls and weren?t sufficiently helped when they asked questions. But the main conspiracy the officials did was during the recount. Peter Greenburg, a democrat, was sent to look over some of the recounts personally. After being turned down by two precincts, he goes to Suwanee County and is greeted in silence by a board of judges. They have labeled 4 undervotes for Bush and 1 for Gore. After checking these out, Greenburg points out that since the voter marked every candidate except for Gore, it was clearly an overvote and since the courts only ordered to review undervotes, this should be removed. When he protested, they said that he couldn?t because he was too late, it now was the contest phase. So he contested, but they wouldn?t acknowledge that either. Another such instance like this is when Joshua Green went to overview Jackson County?s recount. He found out that workers there sorted out the overvotes, decided who the voter was voting for, and put stickers over one of the candidates and fed the ballot through again . They did this for 300 ballots, all for Bush. This was clearly illegal because like earlier stated, the courts ordered for only undervotes to be recounted.
The election also had a bunch of little conspiracies that weren?t too major. For example, at Dunbar Elementary school in an area with 88.48% democrats, 6 of the 10 machines missed punches. And at Lillie C. Evans Elementary with a neighborhood of 89.8% democrats, 7 of the 10 machines also missed punches. Together, the machines discarded 13% of the total votes. The Florida Highway Patrol also set up a spot-check between a black, democratic neighborhood and their polling place on Election Day. Isn?t it a little weird to slow up everyone so drastically on Election Day? One last conspiracy in Florida was the ineligible-voter list. This list was made to get only legal citizens and non-felons to vote. The weird part of the list is that out of the thousands of names on it, only 34 were actually legitimate .
Just like the list is a piece of crap, so is George Dubya. My views on the election are many and strong. I first want to start off talking about LePore?s argument about why her ballot wasn?t a problem. She states that if there was a major problem with it, people should have called in and told her when she sent out the test ballots. Well, the reason no one called is because they thought they knew which hole went to which person. If I thought something was right, I?m not going to call someone and complain. People only started to have doubts when the news showed how many could be voting wrong. My next complaint is with the republicans trying to stop the recount. During every public speech, both parties state that they want the true president to be known and that every vote should count. For some reason, though, the republicans tried to stop people from tallying votes. This makes no sense whatsoever, and this is one of the reasons why I hate Bush so much. He tells the public what they want to hear, and the next second he goes and does something else. My last complaint is with the Florida Supreme Court ruling to stop the recount. From my understanding, they ruled that official standards would have to be made and the recount would have to start over, but this couldn?t be completed in time for the deadline they created so they might as well not do it. You can tell how stupid that sounds. The official deadline is January 6th when the electoral votes are validated, and this statement was made closer to December 13th. Somehow I think that the ruling was more attributed to Republicans being judges than justice.
Jake Tapper?s book presented all of the dirty secrets of Bush, told of the nasty conspiracies, and therefore gave me enough information to make valid views. Overall, this whole process reflected very poorly on America. It shows how preciseness is not one of are strong suits. Maybe after this election, certain rules will be made to stop the wrong president from entering office again.