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Four Million Missing Gore Voters

June 22, 2018

No Saturday show, but an essay written for blog comment:
The Mystery of the Four Million Missing Gore Voters
Bush’s “Mandate” Largely Caused by Peculiarities of the Electoral College
by Mark Levine. Article web-published here.
The President and his aides, for whom the words “popular vote” were strictly verboten in 2000, have suddenly found meaning in the constitutionally insignificant vote totals. A 3.5 million vote margin is a mandate, proclaims the President, who considered his 540,000 popular vote loss to be a similar mandate just four years ago. Although his 51%-48% popular-vote victory is the smallest percentage margin of victory for any re-elected President in American history, Bush insists it nevertheless earned him sufficient “political capital” to ride his policies and his judicial picks roughshod over the hapless 56 million Americans who voted for John Kerry.
Close examination of the election results, however, suggest that even the popular vote is tainted by the peculiarities of America’s Electoral-College system. If the same 2004 electorate had directly elected the President of the United States, Bush’s 3.5 million popular-vote margin would have been far smaller, and he might well have lost to Kerry. It all has to do with those battleground states.
We know from experience that not all votes for President are counted equally in the United States. If you live in Ohio or Florida, your vote is extremely important to the final outcome. If you live in California, New York, Texas, or Georgia, there is little point in voting at all. Even with low turnout, the overwhelming pro-Kerry sentiment in the former two states and pro-Bush sentiment in the latter two meant that the result was all but assured. That’s why the candidates spent no time campaigning in these four populous states. Calculating voters who were dual residents of New York and Florida chose to vote in Florida while Ohio/Texas residents picked Ohio to cast their ballot. The Electoral College system, by its very nature, gave powerful incentives to marginal voters in the swing states to stand in line to vote while those in the “solid states” had far less reason to turn out.
If there had been no other races on the ballot, voters in solid blue states and solid red states would probably have stayed home in roughly the same numbers, and the Presidential popular vote count would not have been much affected. But in Election 2004, there were a number of close Senate races in Alaska, Colorado, Florida, Kentucky, Louisiana, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina, and South Dakota. Coincidently, every one of these close Senate races occurred in red states that voted for Bush. In addition, Tom Delay’s controversial gerrymander to kick five Democrats out of their Congressional seats in Texas led to high turnout in that most populous of red states. And state measures to bar gay couples from equal marriage benefits also led to high turnout in eleven states, of which nine (including Georgia) were red states. As the two blue statesâ with anti-gay measures, Oregon and Michigan, already were battleground states, it is unlikely they caused much increased turnout for Kerry.
The upshot of all this is reflected in the turnout map: despite the largest national turnout in 36 years, millions of Democratic voters in the solid blue states, including the nation’s two most populous states of California and New York, stayed home, having no seriously contested Presidential race, Senate race, or anti-gay-marriage measure on which to vote. This differs sharply from four years ago, when Bush contested California and Hillary Clinton was elected in New York. In contrast, people in solid red states had much higher turnout despite the fact that their vote had little affect on the Presidential race, because their participation was quite important in close races down ballot.
National exit polls confirm the theory. The almost 20 million new voters preferred Kerry over Bush by eight percentage points. (Maybe political strategist Karl Rove is not the genius he is proclaimed to be: whatever “newly-found evangelical Christians” Karl Rove managed to find, they were offset by newly-voting Kerry supporters.) Voters that supported Nader and other third party candidates in 2000 preferred Kerry over Bush by a whopping 50-point margin (71% to 21%). And more 2000 voters switched from Bush to Kerry than switched from Gore to Bush.
So if both the 2000 voting electorate and new voters preferred Kerry over Bush, how could Kerry have possibly lost the 2004 popular vote? Because far more 2004 Gore voters than 2000 Bush voters stayed home and did not vote in 2004. Crunching the numbers shows that less than 640,000 or 1% of Bush voters in 2000 stayed home in 2004 (or died) while a staggering 3.9 million or 8% of Gore voters did not vote in 2004.
These almost four million missing Gore voters swamp Bush’s 3.5 million popular-vote margin. Not that their voted mattered much. As they were from solid blue states, the missing Gore voters could not have delivered Kerry the Presidency or affected the electoral count. Kerry was right to milk every vote he could from Ohio, Florida, and the other swing states.
But the four million missing Gore voters belie the notion that the American People gave Bush a strong mandate. As shown, the Electoral College system, by its very nature, dampens and skews the popular vote. If we had had a direct election where every vote had been counted equally, surely these missing 2000 Gore voters in solid blue states would have been as motivated to come to the polls as the 2000 Bush voters in solid red states, who came primarily to cast ballots for close Senate races and anti-gay marriage measures.
The four million missing Gore voters might just have given Kerry a very close victory margin.

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  • Spam courtesy patrol November 29, 2005 3:15 pm

    Coco, a 300-pound gorilla,
    gentle enough to cradle a purring kitten
    within the grasp of her large, hairy hands,
    happy enough to enjoy a carefree demeanor,
    understanding enough to mourn death
    with a big, bellowed moan.
    Perhaps God did make the monkey
    out of disappointment
    with the results from man,
    whose willful ego has separated
    into thoughts so twisted and confused,
    return to grace charges a painful toll
    to the point of wondering,
    “Which is beast,
    or which is the Son of God?”

  • tiznson November 29, 2005 1:26 pm

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  • Mark Levine November 28, 2004 1:30 am

    With all due respect, you’re living in a dream world. Open your eyes and see what your country is doing. Skip is dead-on right. And I think you mean well, but honestly, I don’t know whether your eyes are closed, whether you are genuinely unaware, whether you are pretending not to know, or whether you have just been hoodwinked by Fox News and Rush Limbaugh. So what I’m about to write will sound harsh, but I must admit I’m shocked by the lack of knowledge you and many Bush-supporters seem to possess about the basic world around you. Everything I can say below and Skip said is amply documented. Google any of the points I’m about to make. But please, open your eyes. Because it’s not about the facts. It’s about allowing yourself to open your eyes to the realization that maybe, just maybe, Bush is not the Messiah. Maybe, just maybe, the Infallible President has actually made tons of mistakes. Open your eyes. Not for my sake. But for your country’s. I know you fight it. I know you want to believe in a country where the system works, where people follow the law, where democracy prevails. But it’s simply not true in America in 2004. OPEN YOUR EYES.
    So here we go:
    The Democrats in the Congress are forbidden by Republicans to read or debate bills, to investigate the Executive Branch, or have their votes counted. The Speaker of the House just ordered that unless the majority of Republicans support a bill, it will not be allowed to come to the floor for a vote even if 70% of the House supports the bill. (Don’t believe me? Google it.) How does a 30% minority elected by an even smaller minority (due to gerrymandering) constitute a democracy? It doesn’t. It’s undemocratic one-party rule. And no, the Democrats did not do it too. There are many examples in 1993-94 of Democrats allowing bills to be voted on where a majority of Republicans and minority of Democrats passed the bill. I will talk about this issue on Monday. Listen to the show.
    Eroding our bill of rights? Do you not know of the American citizens held in jail without legal counsel and without charges forever without being charged with a crime? Do you read the newspapers? Do you not know of the roughing up of those that dare to protest Bush and holding them also in jail without charges? Do you not know what happened in NYC at the Republican Convention?
    Yes, Tommy. BUSH ORDERED HUMANS TO BE TORTURED. And I’m somewhat shocked that you don’t know this. In Guantanamo Bay, in Abu Gharib, and in countries around the globe who have outsourced the torture for us. We fly our victims to Egypt and Saudi Arabia and a number of other countries, many on a specific “torture plane.” (Let me know if you want the reference. I just read about the torture plane today in the Washington Post.) Bush does not deny this. Neither does my Republican frequent guest Tom Robins. They DEFEND torture as necessary in the war against terrorism. And that’s a debatable point. But it is not debatable that Bush ordered torture. Do you not know about the American solider who pretended to be a prisoner and got a concussion? Have you not heard about the hundreds of murders our troops have committed against prisoners? (I happen to know from my sources it’s in the thousands, but this won’t come out until the one-party state ends.)
    Lie to go to war? Damn right. You say did Bush lie about ALL of it? Well no. He told the truth that Saddam Hussein was a pretty nasty dictator. But the rest — nuclear, biological, chemical weapons, planning 9/11. The rest was lies. What if he only lied about 90% of it? Is that enough? Do you really believe America went to war just to take out a dictator no worse than dozens of others worldwide? If so, then Bush should have told us the truth and let us decide.
    THERE WAS NO INTELLIGENCE SADDAM HUSSEIN WAS BEHIND 9/11. That’s the most shocking thing you said. But there was nothing. Zero. Zilch. Nada. Absolutely nothing. I defy you to show me a shred of evidence. You can’t. Florida had closer ties with Al Quaeda than Saddam Hussein.
    The President did not make a call based on faulty evidence. He made the call. Then, his people wrote up the faulty evidence to support the already-made decision. The President made his call first (to invade Iraq on January 30, 2001), after his men first suggested the idea to Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu in 1996. (Netanyahu thought it was a crazy scheme and turned it out. So much for the idea that Israel is behind the Iraq war.) So the President decided to invade Iraq and THEN tried to manufacture evidence to support the war.
    Do you not know of Colin Powell’s February 2001 report that Iraq was not a threat and had no WMDs? Or the National Intelligence Estimates that said the same before Stephen Hadley (soon to be Bush’s NSA advisor) ordered them changed? Do you not know of the Niger forgery (which again has Hadley’s fingerprints)? Or the false document Hadley leaked to the Weekly Standard? Do you not know of Bush’s telling Richard Clarke THREE TIMES to find some connection between Hussein and 9/11 and Clarke’s thrice responding, “I’m sorry, sir, there is none. The country connected to Al Quaeda is Afghanistan.”
    What are you listening to, Fox News, Rush Limbaugh? Where do you get your misinformation? Do you ever look at original sources?
    How has Bush behaved arrogantly???? Do you really need the 100 examples that come to mind? Everything from trashing our Bill of Rights to arresting demonstrators to ridiculing our allies, to going it alone in Iraq, to refusal to respect international treaties we signed, to not admitting any mistakes to lying to our faces time and time again? Do you not see this? Really, you don’t?
    You don’t know about Bush’s tax cuts to the wealthy either? What rock do you live under? You need examples? How about the fact that Parris Hilton’s maid, under Bush’s plan, pays more taxes than Parris Hilton? Do you really believe that a waitress with two jobs should pay more taxes than a multi-billionaire heiress?
    Democracy as quaint. Check out Alberto Gonzales and his thoughts on the Geneva Conventions. Check out Scalia who does not believe the American People have the right to choose the President and said so in Bush v. Gore.
    Can’t stand the slightest disagreement. Again read about anyone who knows Bush and how peeved he gets when folks dare to challenge his infallibility. Do you know about the Irish reporter? Or the fewest press conferences in modern histories? Did you not see the debates? Do you not know why Bush is firing Powell, Whitman, and Shenseki while keeping Hadley, and Rumsfeld, and Cheney? He fires those that tell him truths that contradict his pre-determined policies.
    A yes-man CIA. It’s all countless press reports. Just as with every other policy, Bush fires anyone who tells the truth if it disagrees with his policy. Bush believes policy should drive intelligence and not vice versa.
    Most of what I say above is not an “inside scoop.” It’s all publicly reported facts that Americans should know about but don’t because even though the press mentions most of these things, they are mentioned on back pages. We simply don’t have any left-leaning press the way the right has the echo-chambers of Fox News and talk radio.
    So maybe I shouldn’t be surprised. Most of my listeners know 80%+ of everything I mention here, but my show is still heard by extremely few. All this shows me as why it is so necessary I continue to be on air to expose “All the News from Washington the Government Does Not Want You to Know.”

  • Tommy Peterson November 28, 2004 12:15 am

    We still have a two party system. Democrats still exist and make up a heafty portion of both chambers of Congress. So, I hardly think it is fair to claim that “Not in a one party system full of chickenhawks with monopolistic rule.”
    “Not in a system that is eroding our bill of rights through fear.” What is your proof? What rights have been eroded?
    “Not in a system that advocates torture.” Again, where is your proof? Are you saying that President Bush has ordered humans to be tortured?
    You said: “Not in a system that lied us into a war and continues to lie about it.” You seriously think the President just made all that up–ALL of it–just to go to war? So from the get-go you rejected the claim that Sadam Hussein was behind 9/11? You didn’t agree with MOST Americans that he was behind that? Did you see the intelligence that indicated that the President did? How can you sit in judement and claim he made it up when you didn’t see what he as Commander-in-chief did? He made a call–the wrong one based upon his evidence–but he made it in good faith I feel.
    “Not in a system that produces a general who proclaims that marshall law will be declared if a nuke goes off.” I don’t know what this is in reference to. I certainly hope that “nuke” doesn’t go off in the US or who would be around to care if there was Marshall law or not?
    “Not in a system that acts with such absolute arrogance, and with arrogance comes stupidity.” How has President Bush behaved arrogantly. NOt liking a person’s demeanor has nothing to do with his ability to govern, does it?
    “Not in a system that is being distorted every which way for short term gains of the ultra wealthy.” Examples?
    “Not in a system that thinks of democracy as quaint.” Who said that? Can you provide a link to the article? Or a bibliography to look it up?
    “Not in a system whos leader is so weak, he cannot stand the slightest disagreement with preconceived notions.” Can you provide an example of what you are referring to?
    “Not in a system that is creating a yes-man CIA.” The CIA is very secretative. How do you or I know what is going on inside there? We only know what we are told. And given that thereports are only that so and so has resigned how does that equate to firings based upon people who are dissenters?
    “Do I think it is wrong to advocate doing something that I have protested in the past? Of course. But the democrats have been resisting just such behavior for as long as I can remember.” But now it is ok?
    “Hell, he even passed the Clean Air Act, something Dubya wants to abolish as soon as possible. Of course he will use some fake title like the Clear Air Act 2.” So from the above comments I read about arrogance and lies. Now it appears you are upset about the environment. Are you saying that there is NOTHING that this President has done that is a good thing? If so, what is it? I am curious what your response is.