S. Wallerstein calls me to account for my comment about the butterfly ballot. He is quite right. No one could have predicted anything that bizarre. On the other hand, the Gore/Bush contest looked to be quite close, and it was, I think, entirely predictable that even a relatively small Nader vote might throw a state into the Bush column and give him the election. In the peculiar American electoral system, third parties frequently can have this sort of effect, both on the right and on the left. As is frequently observed, in a parliamentary system, small third parties can play a very important role in national politics, making them a rational vehicle for dissent from the dominant consensus.
Carl corrects my faulty memory of the numbers of probably unintentional Buchanan votes. I called them "Jewish" because I recalled that they showed up in a heavily Jewish area, which is what led commentators to conclude that they were mistakes, given Buchanan's politics. Is that memory also faulty?
I think it is fair to say that no one anticipated the appalling Bush v. Gore High Court decision. As I recall, the late and entirely unlamented Antonin Scalia actually said in his opinion that the decision was not to be taken as a precedent!
Pretty clearly, my memory is not what it used to be [and in fact ever was]. In the future, I shall rely more heavily on Google.