Ten years ago this week the United States Supreme Court in a 5-4 decision settled the case of Bush v. Gore and gave George W. Bush the presidency.
It was the closest presidential election in American history.
Still, with more than 100 million votes cast, Al Gore best Bush in the popular vote by more than half a million votes.
But the all-important 2000 electoral vote was much closer and that vote came down to little more than 500 ballots in the state of Florida. When the Supreme Court ordered the end of an ongoing recount in Florida, the election was effectively over. Thus, Bush won Florida and the presidency.
But who really deprived Gore of winning Florida? Well, it was probably Green Party candidate Ralph Nader. You see, Nader captured 97,000 votes in Florida. That would have been more than enough to put Gore over the top in the sunshine state. Indeed, there's little likelihood Bush would have captured many of those votes.
Third party candidates never win. But they can be devastatingly effective spoilers.
Remember this when 2012 rolls around.