First, They Stole the Election
Now, They Are Stealing the Truth
We waited for more than a year for 175,000 uncounted votes to be counted. Now the results are in, and the facts show that Al Gore won Florida.
But Republicans and the corporate media cannot allow the public to see the truth - that Gore won and Bush lost - because that would expose the Presidency of George W. Bush as illegitimate.
So the same people who helped Bush steal the Presidency are now trying to steal the Truth.
This page is dedicated to exposing the monumental efforts by the media to distort the truth: that Al Gore won Florida, and George Bush stole the Presidency with the help of Jeb Bush, Katherine Harris, the U.S. Supreme Court, and the TV networks. In other words, the 2000 election was decided by criminal fraud, not by a democratic election. We have documented nearly 60 crimes by these officials on our Floridagate page.
Democrats.com has been covering the Theft of the Presidency in depth since November 8, 2000. For links to our complete coverage, visit Stolen Election 2000.
Here are some of the lies that are dominating media coverage of the Florida recount.
Bush Won the Media Recount
The Lie: This was the headline in nearly every newspaper that participated in the consortium. The argument is that Bush actually received more votes in Florida than Gore.
The Truth: Under any scenario where all of the votes are counted, Gore won. The only scenarios where Bush won were those were significant numbers of votes were simply not counted.
- The Associated Press made the point clearly: "Under any standard that tabulated all disputed votes statewide, however, Gore erased Bush's advantage and emerged with a tiny lead that ranged from 42 to 171 votes."
- The Palm Beach Post evaluated 9 scenarios. Gore won all 6 of the scenarios in which all of the votes were counted.
- On November 12, the New York Times published a table on page A17 which clearly demonstrated the votes that put Gore ahead. This table was not published on the Web, but we present the data in section 1 of http://gorewonflorida.org
- Gore's margin of victory swells to over 46,000 if the overvotes are carefully examined. 70,616 over-votes had a mark for Gore; 24,600 had a mark for Bush. If all of Florida's counties had error-checking machines in the precincts to prevent such overvotes, Gore's margin of victory would have been beyond any doubt. The media consortium paid practically no attention to these ballots, in order to conceal the strongest evidence by far that Florida's voters preferred Gore.
Gore's Lawyers Were Stupid
The Lie: This emerged as the dominant Republican - and corporate media - argument after the examination of the data refuted the "stupid voter" theory. The argument is that Gore's lawyers used the "wrong" strategy; if they had used the "right" strategy, Gore migh have won.
The Truth: Gore's lawyers never had a chance to win the recount battle in court, because Republicans controlled the U.S. Supreme Court - as well as the Florida state legislature and the ultimate arbiter of a dispute over electors, the U.S. Congress.
- Gore's lawyers followed a consistent strategy throughout Florida, namely to count every vote. In contrast, Bush's lawyers followed a cynical two-track strategy. In Republican areas, they fought to count every possible vote, whether legal or not. In Democratic areas, they fought to reject every possible vote, whether legal or not. Gore's lawyers should be credited with integrity, if nothing else. Bush's lawyers, on the other hand, may have violated judicial canons by advocating one position in one state court and the opposition position in another state court.
- Gore himself publicly proposed a deal to Bush: to settle the dispute by recounting every vote in Florida. There was no provision in Florida law that would have permitted Gore's lawyers to sue to achieve this result, so Gore's only option was to request Bush's agreement. Bush did not want to count any more votes, so he immediately rejected the proposal. In doing so, he permanently discredited himself as the winner of a genuinely democratic election.
- Gore's lawyers did win one huge victory: they persuaded the Florida Supreme Court to order a recount of nearly 60,000 undervotes. Unfortunately, as election officials in nearly every county in Florida began counting, a narrow 5-4 Republican majority of the U.S. Supreme Court issued an emergency injunction to stop the recount, on the outrageous - and treasonous - theory that counting all of the votes would harm their fellow Republican, George W. Bush. This horrendous ruling was denounced by 673 law professors, and has been defended by virtually none. Two days later, the same Republican majority declared the election over in a decision with no basis in law, as documented in bestselling books by Vincent Bugliosi and Alan Dershowitz.
- Even if Gore's lawyers had persuaded the Supreme Court to allow a recount - and Gore had won that recount - Florida's Republican state legislature would have appointed pro-Bush electors. And any dispute over electors would have ended up in Congress, which was controlled at that moment by Republicans in both the Senate (Trent Lott) and the House (Tom DeLay) - the same folks whose partisan zeal to destroy Bill Clinton at any cost led them to focus the nation's attention on Bill Clinton's sex life for a year, while Osama Bin Laden was preparing his deadly attack on America.
Gore's Voters Were Stupid
The Lie: This was the dominant Republican lie for the first year after Election Day 2000. It's a simple argument, and a transparently racist one. It argues that since many of the overvotes and undervotes were cast in black precincts, the cause of these invalid votes was the presumed stupidity of black voters.
The Truth: Gore's voters were just as smart as Bush's voters, but they voted with error-producing ballots on error-prone machines.
- Ballot design was crucial. The counties with the highest error rates were those where the list of Presidential candidates spilled over into two columns (as in Palm Beach's infamous butterfly ballot) or two pages (as in Duval County's infamous "vote every page" ballot). After a year of study, the Miami Herald finally concluded that Ballot design caused most spoiled votes. What the Herald fails to point out is that these confusing ballot designs were illegal.
- Error-checking systems were crucial. The lowest invalid vote rates were found in counties that checked each ballot for errors before accepting the ballot - counties using Optiscan equipment with precinct tabulation. The original error rate may have been just as high as in other counties, but voters in these counties were given a second chance to fix their errors. This equipment was found primarily in Republican counties with few black voters.
- Working machines were crucial. In some precincts, the voting machines simply didn't work properly, although the law requires county officials to make sure they do. This occurred disproportionately in majority-black precincts.
It's Treasonous for the Media to Publish the Recount Results During a War
The Lie: This is simply the latest argument by Republicans to bury the truth, that Al Gore won Florida.
The Truth: on numerous occasions, Bush has declared that the purpose of our war against terrorism is to defend democracy and freedom. How can we defend democracy if we don't practice it - by counting all of the votes?
- Republicans have opposed any recount of Florida's votes since November 8.
- During the recount battle, Republicans led by James Baker insisted that all of the votes had been counted and recounted. In fact, 1.25 million votes were never recounted, in direct violation of Florida law, which requires a machine recount when the margin of victory is under .5%. Moreover, another 175,000 votes were never even counted once because they were rejected by vote-counting machines. Those are precisely the ballots that were counted by the Media Consortium, in their effort to find legal votes that should legally have been counted.
- The Media Consortium was ready to publish their results the week after Sept. 11, but they postponed publication in order to avoid raising questions about Bush's legitimacy at a moment when the nation truly needed to unite.
- The overwhelming majority of Americans - including Democrats - rallied behind George W. Bush after the terrorist attack on Sept. 11. But Bush has discredited himself by using the unprecedent spirit of national unity to advance his right-wing agenda on tax cuts for the rich, eliminating civil liberties, and drilling for oil in the Arctic Wildlife Refuge.
The Problems Are All Fixed
The Lie: Florida Republicans claim to have fixed all of Florida's election problems with legislation passed in 2001.
The Truth: Election systems remain broken in Florida and all across America.
- Florida's new law left many problems untouched, including a felon purge system that illegally removed thousands of legal voters. Moreover, Florida's new law added a new form of "literacy test" that was outlawed by the Voting Rights Act, and is under review by the Justice Department.
- Many states have problems that are as serious as Florida's, if not worse. Democrats in Congress have introduced legislation to fix those problems, but Republicans refuse to consider these changes.
- The Supreme Court's outrageous decision in Bush v. Gore continues to cast a shadow over all elections. The Court ruled that minor variations in vote-counting practices violate the "equal protection" clause of the Constitution, and can be used to invalidate an election. Since variations in vote-counting are the rule - not the exception - virtually all elections could be invalidated on this basis.
Americans Are "Over It"
The Lie: Ever since the Supreme Court appointed George W. Bush as President on December 12, 2000, Republicans have told Americans to "get over it." Obviously, this is not an attempt to persuade those who believe the election was stolen - it's an effort to silence them.
The Truth: Millions of Americans continue to believe the election was stolen.
- Florida Democrats are still furious. In June 2001, 1,500 donors attended the party's annual Jefferson-Jackson fund-raising dinner and contributed $750,000 - three times as much as the June 2000 dinner, which came in the midst of a presidential campaign and featured an appearance by candidate Al Gore.
- African-Americans are still furious. According to the South Florida Sun-Sentinel, the NAACP has assigned paid personnel to each of the states to coordinate early registration and mobilization campaigns, while other groups have rounded up thousands of volunteers to educate voters, including teaching people how to use voting machines. The Sept. 11 attacks only heightened interest in politics and government, according to those who lead these drives.
- Democratic activists are still furious. Less than 5% of Democrats.com members believe we should "get over it," while over 95% believe we should "investigate, prosecute, and defeat Republicans."
- A USA Today/CNN/Gallup poll in July asked whether Bush won "fair and square." By 50%-48%, a majority of Americans said no. Over one quarter (26%) of the respondents did not accept Bush as a "legitimate" President.
- A Fox News poll in June found that 58% of Americans were still angry about how the votes for president were counted in Florida.
Americans Can't Do Anything About It
The Lie: Republicans succeeded in installing George W. Bush as President, despite the fact that he lost the election. Now they want to make sure they succeed in their crime, by preventing any investigation or prosecution of those responsible for the Theft of the Presidency.
The Truth: Americans do NOT have to accept the Theft of the Presidency.
- Democrats.com has documented nearly 60 crimes committed by the Bush campaign, Jeb Bush, Katherine Harris, the U.S. Supreme Court, and the TV networks. We call these crimes Floridagate, and we believe they are even more serious than Watergate, because they resulted in the Theft of the Presidency. These crimes should be investigated, and those responsible should be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.
- Democrats.com has launched the Democracy in 2002 campaign to remind voters about the Stolen Election of 2000, and to channel the frustration felt by millions of Americans into a grassroots campaign to elect Democrats at all levels of government.
What Do You Think?
Join the discussion of the Florida recount in Democrats.community (registration required).