There are those who think, like me, that history is circular in that if lessons from yesterday are not remembered in today’s world, it is bound to happen again in the world of tomorrow. Many people were shocked and surprised how the end of the 2016 presidential race had Donald Trump secure a victory while Hilary Clinton suffered a tremendous defeat. Putting aside the circus show that presented itself for over a year, it was not too long ago that another race for the White House had an ending that left two candidates, as well as their supporters, amazed and puzzled over the final result; sort of.
Despite what many thought would be a long court battle over who would be the next President of the United States, Vice President and Presidential Democratic candidate Al Gore concedes reluctantly his loss to Texas Governor and Republican candidate George W. Bush on December 13th, 2000 following legal battles that lasted for weeks over Florida’s recounting of votes.
Supporters for the Democratic candidate will never forget the day when Vice President Al Gore delivered a speech that was televised in his ceremonial office right beside the White House, he said that although he was clearly unhappy as well as disagreeing sharply with the verdict handed down by the Supreme Court that put a halt to his campaign, “partisan rancor must now be put aside.”
Gore continued by saying, “I accept the finality of the outcome, which will be ratified next Monday in the Electoral College. “And tonight, for the sake of our unity as a people and the strength of our democracy, I offer my concession.” Ironically, Gore did win the election as far as acquiring the popular vote nationally exceeding 500,000 votes; unfortunately, he lost by a slim margin the state of Florida which gave Bush a total of 271 to 266 in the Electoral College. Gore commented that he contacted Bush by telephone to give his congratulations and for the first time, honoring him with the title of “president-elect.”
Gore said he told Bush that “I promised that I wouldn’t call him back this time,” referring to the night of the election in which he telephoned Bush to express he was going to concede; Gore then contacted him to take back his concession a half an hour later. Gore slightly foreshadowed what the future may hold for him by saying, “I’ve seen America in this campaign and I like what I see. It’s worth fighting for—and that’s a fight I’ll never stop.” He had standing next to him his family and friends which included his wife Tipper, his running mate Senator Joseph I. Lieberman and his wife Hadassah.
Bush spoke to the nation as the president-elect for the first time roughly an hour later stating that the “nation must rise above a house divided.” His address came from the podium belonging to the House of Representatives, Bush’s speech focused on themes of reconciliation stemming from one of the most disputed and closest elections for the Presidency in the history of the United States. Bush said, “I was not elected to serve one party, but to serve one nation.” On January 20th, 2001 Bush and his running mate Dick Cheney took office. Democrats John Kerry and John Edwards ran against them in 2004 but Bush and Cheney were re-elected.