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No. 11, November 2000
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Copyright 2000  www.cosmopolis.ch  Louis Gerber  All rights reserved.

The US presidential election
A GOP majority in the House of Representatives
Democrats can at best expect a 50-50 stalemate in the Senate

Article added on November 10, 2000
 
The close presidential and congressional races drove people to the polls. They realized that their vote would matter. Regarding the presidential race, the absentee votes in Florida will decide who will become the next president since, according to AP, Bush is leading by a tiny margin of 327 votes. Based on past experiences, the absentee votes come mostly from military men serving overseas and tend to be more in favor of the Republicans. Absentee votes could be posted until election day and have to arrive in Florida within ten days of the general election to be valid. Therefore, the official result of the election in Florida will be known on November 17.
 
The United States could head towards a constitutional and political crisis. Governor Bush presents himself as the future president although the outcome of the election is not known yet. Gore and the Democratic electoral team seem determined to do whatever necessary to prevent Bush from winning, if necessary, by taking legal action. Legal battles could take several weeks. By the way, in other states such as Iowa and Wisconsin, the margin between Gore and Bush is just a few thousand votes, with absentee votes still to be counted. The Republicans could be tempted to ask for recounts too. The brilliant French observer of American society, Alexandre de Tocqueville, wrote in 1831 that, ultimately, everything in the United States will be decided by a judge. Luckily, President Clinton stays in power until January and, therefore, there is no need to rush. Both camps should remain calm and rational. The uncertainty of the outcome could make financial markets nervous. Considering that the US economic boom is largely based on credit and the public debt is gigantic, an erosion of confidence in the American economy could make the stock bubble burst and lead to a hard economic landing with global consequences.
 
The Constitution is to Americans what the monarchy is to the British. The respect of its procedures, even if imperfect, is imperative. Regarding Florida, the Democrats and private citizens took legal action against a "confusing" list of candidates. Several thousand people mistakenly voted for Buchanan instead of Gore. But as long as no electoral fraud can be proven or substantial evidence that voters have been disenfranchised can be found that their right to vote has been infringed, it seems unlikely that a revote will be called because the judge is likely to rule that the confused voters should have asked for help or a new ballot rather than turning in an invalid ballot. These complaints have few chances to end in a re-election.
 
The congressional elections took place in the shadow of the presidential race. But the legislative branches are not less important than the presidency, especially considering the American system of checks and balances. With two House races still undecided, forecasts show the Republicans ahead with at least 220 seats won. This means the GOP maintains a tiny but absolute majority in the 435-seat House. The Democrats won 211 seats, independents took 2 seats. In the Senate, GOP candidates will occupy 50 of the 100 seats; the Democrats have 49 seats in their hands; one seat is still too close to call.
 
The next American president will either govern with a tiny majority, in the case of Bush, or a tiny congressional majority against him, in the case of Gore. Anyhow, the next president will have to govern in the center, to reconcile Democrats and Republicans and is unlikely to set a radical agenda. Al Gore is a man who divides people more than he unites them. Furthermore, as Vice President, he is closely connected to the eight-year era of bitter division in Washington under Bill Clinton whereas Bush, as a Washington outsider and Texas Governor with a record which clearly shows him as a man who can unite Democrats and Republicans, seems to be the better man for the job. As things look on November 10, Bush is more likely to become the next president of the United States.
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For American media, think tanks, parties, presidential candidates and governmental links: Links. For the biography of Al Gore and other political articles: Politics.


 
 

www.cosmopolis.ch
No. 11, November 2000
current edition & archives
Art  Film  Music  History  Politics  Archives
Links  For Advertisers  Feedback  German edition  Travel

Copyright 2000  www.cosmopolis.ch  Louis Gerber  All rights reserved.