Al Gore’s US election prediction exposed as legal row between Trump and Biden looms
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The US election currently hangs in the balance. Several key state results are yet to be announced, with nine still to go. Whatever the result, it looks to be much closer than what was previously thought.
Countless polls in the US and around the world predicted a Biden landslide.
Some even claimed Mr Biden had a 14-point lead on Mr Trump; while others, like The Sunday Express, found that Mr Trump’s chances were in fact a lot closer.
Even before the election got under way on Tuesday, many said that it might unfold just as the 2000 contest between Al Gore and George W Bush did.
It was here that the vote was so close that the decision went all the way to the Supreme Court.
Mr Gore, the Democratic Party nominee, eventually lost out to the Republican Mr W Bush.
Mr Gore himself this week asserted that this year’s ballot would resemble nothing of the 2000 vote.
He told CNN: “I’m knocking on wood here because I don’t know what the result is going to be, but I have a very strong feeling that the vast majority of Americans, including a significant percentage of Republicans, have watched and listened to Donald Trump for four years, and have concluded that we need somebody better as president.”
He went on to predict a decisive win for the Democrat’s Joe Biden.
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He couldn’t have been further from the truth.
As Mr Trump readies himself to take the election result to the Supreme Court, the end result, many are now arguing, could be a mirror to Mr Gore’s defeat.
It was there that, just like this election, Florida proved to be a state of the utmost significance – of which Mr Trump has secured.
There, the vote count was so close that, despite several recounts, a decision could not be made, instead making its way to the Supreme Court.
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At the time the Court was made up of a majority of seven Republican nominated justices to two Democratic nominees; akin to today’s six Republican nominees and three Democrat nominees.
The justices voted in favour of Mr W Bush, making him the 43rd US President.
Many now reason that, with the recent appointment of Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court just weeks ago by Mr Trump, things could tip in his favour.
The issue is made more intense as mail-in ballots are at unprecedented levels due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Mr Trump has repeatedly attempted to undermine the legitimacy of such votes, calling for pollsters not to accept those votes received after certain cut-off points.
However, things aren’t as straightforward as having a guaranteed victory just because the Court is packed with Republican nominees; in 2000 conservatives voted against Mr W Bush that would today translate to a hung vote.
Further, the Supreme Court has discretion over which cases it should hear.
These are largely related to challenges to cases heard in lower courts on points of federal law and the constitution; a lot of action will initially happen at state-level courts.
Already two cases in Pennsylvania related to the election are set to be heard on Wednesday.
Also, as Paul Mellon, Professor of American History at the University of Cambridge, explained during Dan Snow’s History Hit podcast on the 1876 election, the Republicans could well cut a deal with the Democrats that would see conservative justices vote in favour of Mr Biden.
This would be a bid from the Senate majority leader, Mitch McConnell, to cement full Republican judicial control in the US for the next 40 years.
Prof Mellon said the Republicans would have no problem with “sacrificing” Mr Trump if it meant they could enjoy total control and surpass the sovereignty of the electorate for years to come.
Meanwhile, Mr Trump is set to argue that in the midst of a pandemic, any measure to make voting easier, for example mail ballots, is unconstitutional and open to fraud.
Another argument he is expected to state is that many of the new voting measures to reduce contact between people have been enforced not by the state legislature but by state officials.
This, many conservatives argue, opens a path for a constitutional challenge.
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