Presidential Election: George W Bush

The way Presidential elections work in the U.S. is that after a Republican or Democrat has been in office for a term or two, the public gets excited for and desires change, so it’s not uncommon for the people to alternate voting in Democrat and Republican Presidents every election. (Staff) One such election took place almost 20 years ago when George Walker Bush and Albert Arnold Gore Jr. (“Al Gore”) fought for the Presidency. The political situation at the time was that Democratic President Bill Clinton had been in office for 2 terms (8 years, January 20, 1993 to January 20, 2001), but he was leaving. The new Democratic nominee was former Democratic Vice President Al Gore. The Republicans, led by former Texas Governor George Bush, were very eager to take back their control of the government. Despite their common fight for the position, these two men stood for very different things.

Gore promised people in his election campaign that he would do things like stopping the spread of nuclear arms, expanding charter schools, trying to save Medicare and Social Security, and vows to cut crime rates. Additionally, he said that he would cut back on government bureaucracy (a system of government where decisions in the government are made by state officials instead of the nation’s elected representatives), make the U.S. debt-free by 2012, support women’s rights to abortion, and that he would use $1 billion to work on saving the environment. On the other hand, George Bush ran on key campaign promises such as initiating a 5-year-long, $20 billion support plan for the military, increasing funds for public schools, and allowing people to spend some of their payroll taxes on things like the stock market or private savings accounts. Additionally, Bush promised that he would legalize concealed weapons, push for tax breaks on medical savings, work on another 5-year, $438 billion tax cut plan, support a ban on late-term abortion, and that he would make previously-mandatory emissions standards optional by weakening environmental bills. (News)

At the end of the Presidential race, George W. Bush was sworn into office. However, he did not secure his victory until a very large amount of dust had settled, and this man’s dust came in the form of confused electoral votes in Florida and an ultra-close popular vote against Gore. Gore successfully secured 50,999,897 votes, which turned out to be more than Bush’s 50,456,002. However, in a very rare political election situation, this didn’t matter since Bush had more of the electoral votes than Gore did. There were some electoral votes in Florida that were considered unofficial because of some ticket-punching mistakes, so the Florida Supreme Court stepped in and ordered a hand-recount of the ballots. Before this started, however, the Supreme Court of the United States stepped in and on December 12, 2000, and the confused votes were awarded to George Bush. Even though he lost by a ridiculously small margin, Gore stated, “While I strongly disagree with the Court’s decision, I accept it.” (Britannica)

Lasting policy results of the Bush administration’s work in the U.S. include his famous global war on terrorism (initiated by the terror attacks on 9/11 in America), the creation of the Department of Homeland Security, tax cuts, prescription drug coverage for seniors, he used billions of U.S. dollars to fight HIV and AIDs worldwide, and he withdrew America from supporting the former President Bill Clinton’s Kyoto Protocol (started in 1997 to fight against global warming).

On the political results side of things, Bush and the Republican party were highly criticized for their slow response to sending aide to the devastated area that Hurricane Katrina left. Additionally, Bush’s tax cuts were of little effect at the time, since decreased taxation and increased spending on the war against the Taliban in Afghanistan created an even larger debt in the U.S. In what was to be unsuccessful attempt to fulfill a campaign promise, Bush tried to reform the Social Security system by replacing it with private retirement savings accounts. (Editors) After his Presidency was over and when Obama was elected into office in 2009, Bush and his wife Laura went back to Texas and have been generally quiet on the political side of things (with the exception of a political memoir he wrote, entitled Decision Points in 2010).

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