“Election 2000 “to-close-to-call”…How?”
Democratic candidate Al Gore and Republican candidate George W. Bush have been in a “to-close-to-call” race for the presidency since the campaigning began. With the distinct differences of the candidates how could this be? Al Gore’s position on the major issues, political experience, knowledge and America’s economic growth and prosperous state in the last eight years should have the given Gore the winning votes. However, in Gore’s campaign he focused largely on changing the qualities viewed by the public as negative to a positive view. He attempted to alter the perception of a stiff robot-like individual to a likeable guy, while George W. Bush tried to appear knowledgeable.The Gore campaign did not adequately portray the existing positive qualities to the American public, leaving the seat to the most likable candidate, as Charles McKain of San Diego states, “the differences between Gore and Bush will fade and people simply will reject Gore because the Texas Governor appears just eminently more likable.” (Los Angeles Times)
The Gore campaign failed to make the issues the heart of the campaign. During the campaigning and debates the American public heard on many occasions “there is no difference” or “I agree with …” on the issues from both Al Gore and George Bush. The fact is that on many issues there are very clear and distinct differences between the candidates. Al Gore opposes a constitutional amendment to outlaw abortion while George Bush supports a constitutional amendment to outlaw abortion. Al Gore supports the Employee Non- Discrimination Act and tougher hate crime legislation while George Bush opposes both. Al Gore supports the Kyoto global warming agreement and Bush opposes it. George Bush supports further development of charter schools by investing $300 million in a charter school homestead fund to provide $3 billion in loan guarantees to 200 new charter schools. Al Gore opposes the voucher system. (Al Gore) The difference of George W. Bush and Al Gore viewpoints on education was made clear in both commercials and during the debates. The Quinnipiac polls reported that the public opinion on which candidate would do a better job on education was fifty- three percent favored Gore as opposed to the thirty-seven percent favoring Bush. (Quinnipiac) This trend of Gore favorability followed on many of the issues that the American public viewed the candidates as holding opposite or very different views, with the exception of taxes.In addition, the next elected president expects to select three individuals to serve as judges, for their lifetime, in the Supreme Court. The choosing of Supreme Court judges makes the differences of the issues extremely significant to the American public since the Supreme Court may reflect the viewpoint held by the elected president for the next thirty years. Yet, this was not addressed in the campaigns and many of the Americans were unaware of this. The differences and significance of the issues should have been the key focus of the Gore campaign since many Americans share his views on the major issues.
Experience was another quality that was not focused on enough by the Gore campaign. Al Gore has spent the majority of his life involved with the American government and serving America. After graduating from Harvard University with a B.A. in government, Gore served in the US Army during the Vietnam War.Upon his return, he did various course works at Vanderbilt University Divinity School and Vanderbilt University Law School. For the next few years, Gore works as an Investigative Reporter and Editorial Writer at The Tennessean. In 1977, Gore holds his first public seat in the House of Representatives from Tennessee for eight years. Then he is elected from Tennessee to the Senate for the following eight years.Most recently, Gore has served as Vice President of the United States under the Clinton administration, for the past eight years when America has seen an extremely prosperous economy. (CNN) Gore has also been actively involved with Internet technology and global warming for a number of years. President Clinton gave Gore the job of coordinating the Administration’s science and technology portfolio. John Gibbin’s, former White House science adviser states, “The president handed off key responsibilities to the Vice President, including} a lot of bilateral international relations, the whole in formation-technology stuff … and a lot of science stuff.” (Munro, p1) Gore was ahead of his times in choose advocating these issues, as both have become a vital to today and our future. In comparison, George W. Bush graduated with a M.B.A. in business administration from Harvard University and B.A. in history from Yale. Bush did not hold a public office until elected Governor of Texas in 1995. Prior to this Bush had a professional career that included Founder/CEO of Bush Exploration, President of Spectrum Corporation, a Consultant to Harken Energy Corporation, and Managing General Partner of the Texas Rangers Baseball team. (George Bush)Al Gore’s political experience surpasses George W. Bush’s by far. Gore’s campaign should have focused on the fact that the President of the United States should be elected based on who is the right man for the office, one who has experience and knowledge of running the government, not who you would rather have over for tea.
While the Gore campaign did not focus enough on the positive qualities of Al Gore, they did successfully win the popular vote and many of the states that were battle ground states, such as Missouri and Pennsylvania and possibly Florida. This was accomplised by enthusiastic campaigning and campaign workers; Doug Hattaway recalls the Gore campaign headquarters as bustling with high energy and the volunteers and interns brimming with passion. (McDonald, p1) Also, the endorsement and high turn-out of the labor unions, the millions of dollars spent by independent organizations running commercials and ads in areas they showed would most aid Gore, Gore and Lieberman’s speeches and activity and Gore’s success in the third debate contributed to Gore success.Al Gore won the popular vote defiantly but is missing the 270 electoral votes because of Florida. Bush has been certified the winner in Florida by 537 votes, making him the president elect. However, the Gore campaign in currently contesting Florida’s votes and has requested a manual recount due to the irregularities and large number of ballots that were not counted. The legal battle may take some time but hopefully Gore will prevail and a full recount will be granted and Gore elected president.In Election 2000 the winning factor of the Presidency does not lie in the campaign strategies but with the legal strategy in our court system. The winning of the popular vote was a great accomplishment and hopefully within the next few weeks, Gore’s legal team will be able to make the next great accomplishment in the courts.
Al Gore Biography. CNN AllPolitics Database.