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The 2000 elections are over and the United States is about to inaugurate a new president. But the race could not have been closer. In fact, it was The Closest Presidential Election Ever as Current Issues senior editor Lee Edwards explains in his article, one of the three in our special report, The Meaning of the 2000 Elections.

Some commentators are questioning what sort of mandate George W. Bush will have as president, having narrowly lost the popular vote. I believe the idea of a mandate is overrated. A president can do whatever he can persuade Congress to let him do. However, this remarkable election has left us with Congress: Split Down the Middle as Donald Lambro describes it in his article. The Senate is divided 50--50 while the Republicans have a 5-seat majority in the House, where 20--25 is normally considered a working majority. Even the control of state legislatures is now almost evenly divided between the two parties.

Perhaps it was only natural that the Clinton era should end with the philosophical question "It all depends what the meaning of 'is' is," posed by the former president, being transformed into the very practical question of what is, and is not, a vote. In any case, the rest of the world watched in amazement and some amusement as the world's most technologically advanced nation held up punch cards, hoping to see the light. We capture some of their reactions in World Views: How the World Sees the U.S. Election.

Lee Edwards found it hard to escape the clutch of politics' slimy tentacles this month. He contributed A Case for Congress to the Book World section, reviewing a recent history of the U. …