My New Book!

My New Book!
My New Book!

Friday, November 3, 2023

November 3, 2023: Contested Elections: 2000

[75 years ago this week, Dewey didn’t defeat Truman—but the 1948 election was close and contested enough that one newspaper famously reported he did. So this week I’ll AmericanStudy that election and a few other hotly contested ones (not including 2020, because it really wasn’t), leading up to a special Guest Post from an FSU alum and talented young journalist who would never get it so wrong!]

On three frustrating aftermaths of the most hotly contested presidential election in our history.

1)      The climate crisis: It’s hard to remember exactly where our narratives stood in 2000, but I think it’s fair to say that Al Gore’s central role in raising the alarm about climate change (or global warming, as it was generally known then) was seen by many as at least slightly kooky, if not outright silly, somewhat akin to the whole “Al Gore invented the internet” conversations. As that hyperlinked article argues, those latter critiques of Gore were pretty off-base—but not nearly as off-base as any and all downplaying of his climate change activism. I don’t know for sure what a Gore administration might have been able to do over those four or eight years to address the climate crisis, but I will always regret—and believe every one of us humans should regret—that we weren’t able to find out.

2)      The Supreme Court: No electoral aftereffects could ever be as important as those, certainly not on a global scale. But closer to home, I would argue that the 2000 election, and more exactly the hugely and rightfully controversial Bush v. Gore Supreme Court decision that ultimately decided said election, played a crucial role in shaping one of the most significant stories in 21st century American politics and society: the ever-more-overtly politicized presence of our highest court. As I argued in this 2016 HuffPost piece, the Supreme Court has always been political, and those origins and histories are important to keep in mind. But nonetheless, the Court’s blatant and (to this AmericanStudier, among many others) unconstitutional intervention in a presidential election marked a decidedly more political role still, and at the very least foreshadowed one of the single worst and most destructive court decisions in our history, Citizens United (2010).

3)      January 6th: Obviously—and I do mean obviously—the November 2000 “Brooks Brothers riot” in Florida that sought to end the electoral recount there (and that most definitely did influence the Supreme Court’s ruling) was far from the first such expression of mass outrage and potential violence seeking to affect the outcome of an American election. But I nonetheless agree with this excellent Chris Lehmann piece for The Nation that the 2000 riot was a direct predecessor to the January 6th, 2021 insurrection, most especially in the ways that it demonstrated that far-right rage and violence could dictate our national politics. Not sure any single factor more directly contributed to the rise and age of Trump, and I know that no single event better encapsulated those trends than did January 6th. One more reason to (as sarcastically as possible) thank the 2000 election.

Special Guest Post this weekend,


PS. What do you think?

No comments:

Post a Comment