This book attempts to make sense of the longest running, most fiercely contested and, ultimately, closest race in the history of presidential elections. What had been an earnest if predictable general election campaign morphed into a post-election day series of controversies that tested the nation's electoral processes, its courts, and its democratic culture. Eventually, of course, a winner was declared and the nation went about its business, however not before fundamental questions were raised as to the nature of the vote and voter intent and both the standards and processes used to decide elections. These issues will be with us for years to come. By any standard, it was a historic election whose full consequences are yet to be appreciated.
The following sifts through the competing claims and strategies, reviews what occurred and offers some assessments as to the quality of the campaign, the nature of the final decision and the meaning this has to the nation.
I would like to thank a number of people who contributed to this effort: Leo A.W. Wiegman, Executive Editor, Westview Press; David Pervin, also of Westview Press; Robert Curtin and James Rossi my research assistants; and Janet-Louise Joseph and Barbara McintoshChin of the Department of Political Science at Northeastern University. A particular debt of gratitude is owed my wife Mary Hauch Crotty.
Thomas P. O'Neill
Chair in Public Life and
Director of the Center for the
Study of Democracy at