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The Daily Tar Heel

A No-Win Situation?

More than three weeks after Election Day, the battle for the presidency continues as squads of lawyers contest election laws in courtrooms across the country, angry protesters pace the streets of Florida cities and mudslinging continues back and forth between Democrats and Republicans.

The way things stand today, Bush might win the presidency with 271 electoral votes - just one more than the minimum required for victory. Gore will win the popular vote by less than a 1 percent margin out of close to 100 million votes cast.

The next president will have before him the task of uniting a divided nation, one that voted so evenly on Election Day that the outcome is still uncertain almost a month later.

But the toughest fight for the winning candidate might begin in January when he steps in front of the new Congress for the first time.

The 107th Congress is one of the most evenly split in history along party lines.

The Senate is split right down the middle - with 50 members from each party - the first time since 1880 that the Senate has been evenly split.

When the next president takes over - whichever one it might be - the Republicans will control the Senate by one vote.

If Bush wins the presidency, Vice President Dick Cheney will have the tie-breaking 51st vote.

But if Gore manages to pull out the election, then his running mate, Sen. Joseph Lieberman, D-Conn., would have to step down from his seat. In this scenario, Connecticut's Republican Gov. John Rowland would likely appoint a Republican senator to take his place.

The Democrats will actually control the Senate for 17 days - from Jan. 3, when the Senate first meets, until Inauguration Day on Jan. 20. Both parties agreed Tuesday that Sen. Thomas

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Special Print Edition
The Daily Tar Heel Victory Paper for November 20, 2023