People trip and fall, they break a leg, they don't vote. People get the flu, or don't get the flu, and a vote gets cast or doesn't. People accidentally push the wrong button -- it happens. There are a million stories.
On balance, it evens out -- mostly. It's like flipping a coin a hundred times: you expect 50 heads, but if you get 45 or 55 you aren't surprised. 55 heads doesn't mean the coin is rigged or that headishness is the new trend, or that tails needs to rethink everything it does.
Same thing happens in baseball: when things are close -- last week of a 162-game regular season and you're one game out -- stuff just happens. You get an extra walk, and that leads to a rally. Some weak-hitting infielder comes off the bench and hits a homer: go figure. The ball goes through someone's legs. Your all-star catcher gets tied up with the batter and misses a peg to second. The umpire calls your runner out when everyone in the stadium can see he missed the tag by six feet.
It's really tempting to try to fix the immediate problem: bad umpires, bad catcher, too many walks, not enough team spirit or clutch hitting. But that's not going to help. The problem, maybe, is that you shouldn't have been in the situation -- you should've been ten games ahead instead of almost tied.
Or, maybe, getting close was everything you could hope to do. You stayed close, you got in a position where you had a chance to win, and then it didn't quite work.
The whole point of Kerry, from Iowa and New Hampshire on, was to eek out a victory in a close election. On any given Tuesday, he might have won. Same thing with Gore.
The answer: next time, make sure it's not close.