The Longest Night: Polemics and Perspectives on Election 2000

The Longest Night: Polemics and Perspectives on Election 2000

The Longest Night: Polemics and Perspectives on Election 2000

The Longest Night: Polemics and Perspectives on Election 2000

Synopsis

""The Longest Night provides a comprehensive and insightful look at our country's most fascinating election. The contributions from political insiders are utterly absorbing. Sharply written and edited; an impressive collaboration."--Susan Estrich, author of "Sex and Power

"Arthur Jacobson and Michel Rosenfeld have provided a very important civic service. Their collection of commentaries on the disputed presidential election of 2000 brings all the confusion and frenzy of that event into clear intellectual focus. On one level it documents the most lively and informed reaction to the legal aftermath of the election. But it does more. It contains a range of erudite and well-reasoned interpretations, not just of the law and court decisions, but also of political institutions, the constitutional history, and the election itself."--Mary P Ryan, author of "Civic Wars: Democracy and Public Life in the American City during the Nineteenth Century

"The great strength of this book is its inclusion of international perspectives on the American presidential debacle of 2000. After reading the insights of commentators and scholars from France, Italy, Germany, and elsewhere, it becomes clear precisely why, like an aging Humpty-Dumpty, our patchwork set of elitist assumptions, idiosyncratic practices, and archaic democratic institutions came tumbling down in Florida. It is too late simply to put Humtpy-Dumpty back together again. "The Longest Night reminds us that the United States has much to learn from those countries that are boldly advandcing the future of democracy and leaving us in their dust."--Lani Guinier, coauthor of "The Miner's Canary: Enlisting Race, Resisting Power, Transforming Democracy

Excerpt

Quite unexpectedly, the American presidential election of 2000 has become the most remarkable and in many ways the most unsettling one that the country has yet experienced. The millennial election stretched for well over one month, and its repercussions are sure to be felt for a long time to come. It has raised fundamental questions not only about American democracy but also about the nation's more than two-hundred-year-old Constitution and about the legitimate role of American courts, state and federal and in particular the highest court in the land, the United States Supreme Court, which in effect put an end to the election in a bitterly divided 5–4 decision rendered on December 12, 2000.

As the polls began closing on the evening of election day, November 7, 2000, there was no reason to anticipate any of the remarkable developments that were about to unfold. True, there had been a closely fought and vigorous campaign and much heated rhetoric. The intensity of the candidates, however, by and large did not spill over to the great majority of the voters. The country was at peace and in the midst of a long period of unprecedented prosperity. Moreover, in spite of their sharp differences, Bush and Gore seemed to aim for the center of the American political spectrum.

The opinion polls had been fluctuating, but Bush had maintained a small but steady lead in all the major polls in the weeks leading up to the election. On the eve of the election, most pundits were confident that Bush would win the popular vote, although some speculated that there was a remote chance that Gore might win a majority in the Electoral College. If that were to happen, moreover, it might well rekindle the debate over abolition of the Electoral College, one of the seemingly most vulnerable institutions of America's eighteenth-century Constitution. With the completely . . .

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