2000: Bush Set To Fight An Electoral College Loss
They’re not only thinking the unthinkable, they’re planning for it. Quietly, some of George W. Bush’s advisers are preparing for the ultimate “what if” scenario: What happens if Bush wins the popular vote for President, but loses the White House because Al Gore’s won the majority of electoral votes? “Then we win,” says a Gore aide. “You play by the rules in force at the time. If the nation were really outraged by the possibility, then the system would have been changed long ago. The history is clear.” […]
A lot has changed since [the Electoral College was drafted], including the anachronistic view that the majority should be feared. But the Electoral College remains. So what if Gore wins such crucial battleground states as Florida, Michigan and Pennsylvania and thus captures the magic 270 electoral votes while Bush wins the overall nationwide popular vote? “The one thing we don’t do is roll over,” says a Bush aide. “We fight.
“How? The core of the emerging Bush strategy assumes a popular uprising, stoked by the Bushies themselves, of course. In league with the campaign – which is preparing talking points about the Electoral College’s essential unfairness – a massive talk-radio operation would be encouraged. “We’d have ads, too,” says a Bush aide, “and I think you can count on the media to fuel the thing big-time. Even papers that supported Gore might turn against him because the will of the people will have been thwarted.