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Bush not elected

G.W. Bush

It's a tie!

The tiebreaker

In a dead tie, the tendency to support Bush was stronger because those who would believe he won believed so more completely....

The one outstanding, verifiable and solid fact about the 2000 presidential election is that it's too close to call. As hinged upon the votes of the state of Florida, certainly, the result is an inextricable dead draw.

This is a mightily uncomfortable fact, and one that I don't expect the august members of the court to find. It's just too damn inconvenient, uncomfortable, and—unanswerable. Americans answer questions. We don't manage problems; we solve them.

But some questions cannot be answered. The "true" result of this year's election is just such a circumstance.

There is a "fudge factor" in all good science called the margin of error.* It is inseparable from any work with large samples. The American electorate is a large sample. There is a margin of error.

I don't know what that margin is purported to be in current circumstances. Apparently, with some of the primitive tabulations that some of the polling places were using, it is going to be higher than is absolutely necessary.

But no matter—this election is just too close to call by any means.

I find that interesting, in a disturbing way.

Supposedly, the U.S. Supreme Court is today likely to hand down a decision that will determine the outcome of this election. I hope they do. As for the will of the voters, there is no result that the judges may find which could produce the "right" answer.

1) There's no solution.
2) America needs a president.
3) I'm glad nobody's asking me what I think is the right thing to do.

— 12 December 2000, Amsterdam The Netherlands


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* If a large number of recounts were done, their results could be averaged, and that would produce a closer approximation of the will of the voters.

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