THE PERFECT TIE: The True Story of the 2000 Presidential Election

James W. Ceaser, Author, Andrew E. Busch, Joint Author . Rowman & Littlefield $15.95 (256p) ISBN 978-0-7425-0836-1

In their third report on presidential campaigns (they've also covered the 1992 and 1996 elections), political scientists Ceaser (Univ. of Virginia) and Busch (Univ. of Denver) present the story of one of the nation's most unusual and perhaps most bizarre elections. In 2000, for the first time, the electorate was evenly divided between Republicans and Democrats; but a full third of the electorate, the "floating voters," were undecided. The trick for Gore or for Bush would have been to maintain their party bases, which both did, while capturing a good percentage of the floating voters, which both failed to do. Hence, the closeness of the election, the (almost) perfect tie. Given the lack of any grand theme or major crisis to give the election definition, much depended on how well the candidates campaigned, and the authors conclude that here Bush did the better job. Oddly, Bush came off more Clintonesque than Gore, who seemed too ravenous to ascend the throne, too vulnerable to attacks alleging that he would rock the economic boat with overly ambitious government projects. The authors cover the ups and downs and ins and outs of the election, but they deal with much more—the politics of pre-campaign fund-raising, the dramatic primary challenges of Bradley and McCain, and of course the postelection legal struggles in and about Florida, in which the Supreme Court ultimately intervened. All of this is told in a compelling narrative and clear, if at times overly detailed (they are, after all, political scientists), analysis. (June)

Reviewed on: 05/28/2001
Release date: 04/01/2001
Hardcover - 296 pages - 978-0-7425-0835-4
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