Charles L. Zelden

Oct 16, 2020

Bush v. Gore

Exposing the Growing Crisis in American Democracy

University Press of Kansas 2020

In this episode, Siobhan talks with Charles L. Zelden about the new expanded edition of his book, Bush v. Gore: Exposing the Growing Crisis in American Democracy (University Press of Kansas, 2020). Zelden is a professor in the Department of History and Political Science at Nova Southeastern University's Halmos College of Arts and Sciences, where he teaches courses in history, government and legal studies.

Who could forget the Supreme Court’s controversial 5-4 decision in Bush v. Gore or the 2000 presidential campaign and election that preceded it? Hanging chads, butterfly ballots, endless recounts, raucous allegations, and a constitutional crisis were all roiled into a confusing and potentially dangerous mix—until the Supreme Court decision allowed George W. Bush to become the 43rd President of the United States, despite losing the popular vote to Al Gore.

Praised by scholars and political pundits alike, the original edition of Charles Zelden’s book set a new standard for our understanding of that monumental decision. A probing chronicle and critique of the vexing and acrimonious affair, it offered the most accurate and up-to-date analysis of a remarkable episode in American politics. Highly readable, its comprehensive coverage, depth of documentation and detail, and analytic insights remain unrivaled on the subject.

In this third expanded edition Zelden offers a powerful history of voting rights and elections in America since 2000. Bush v. Gore exposes the growing crisis by detailing the numerous ways in which the unlearned and wrongly learned “lessons of 2000” have impacted American election law through the growth of voter suppression via legislation and administrative rulings, and, provides a clear warning of how unchecked partisanship arising out of Bush v. Gore threatens to undermine American democracy in general and the 2020 election in particular.

Siobhan M. M. Barco, J.D. explores legal history at Princeton University

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