It seems like every talking head in America has compared this election to1960 in terms of the polls and projected electoral maps. What no one seems to realize is that the 2000 election is actually more in line with 1992 with a “party role reversal”. If you remember, 1992 brought the emergence of H. Ross Perot of Texas and his Reform party. He appealed to many conservatives and independents that were unhappy with the “politics as usual” in Washington, D.C..
the Republican party non-energized and sharply divided between the
moderates and the Christian right, Perot pulled just enough support to
cost President George Bush the election.
The 2000 election has its own dark horse in Ralph Nader, who
has recently become the Democrat’s very own Ross Perot.
Although according to recent polls, Nader doesn’t seem to be
pulling as much support as Perot in ’92, it seems to be enough to
send the Gore campaign into a frenzy.
Although Ralph Nader has been on the campaign trail for many
years with his Green Party, he hasn’t gotten much attention until a
couple of weeks ago. Democratic
strategists started to see a decline in support for Gore in Northern
California and in the Northwest, and at the end of every trail was
Ralph Nader. Nationally,
Nader has not seemed to be able to break the 5% margin, but in the
Northwest, Nader’s support has been as high as 12%.
The Gore campaign realized that if this trend continued, it could cause them to lose California, which would almost certainly
doom any chances of an
electoral victory. Enter
the attack dogs.
In a race that is supposedly neck and neck, Al Gore finds himself spending money in the Northwest attacking a guy that most Americans had never heard of, and all of this with less than two weeks until election day. Instead of targeting George W. Bush, the Gore camp is trying desperately to appeal to the rationale of Nader supporters by spreading the word that a vote for Nader is essentially a vote for Bush. A plan which seemed to backfire since Nader’s newfound media attention has accelerated his campaign despite Gore’s negative ads. Not to mention that Nader supporters seem to have just as much disdain for Al Gore as they do for George W. Bush and definitely do not see Gore as the “lesser of two evils”.
Meanwhile, rumors began spreading around the campfire about an alleged
$12 million offer by the Democrats to Nader in exchange for dropping
out of the race (Nader’s Green party stands to receive $12 million
in federal matching funds if he succeeds in securing at least 5% of
the popular vote). Nader
doesn’t bite, and the Gore camp moves from caution to panic mode.
Wait a minute, what happened to neck and neck? Could the Gore camp have possibly been any more telling about their lack of optimism then by going after a guy who is barely a blip on the national radar screen? The fact that they had pulled completely out of several small states recently to focus more heavily on those with higher electoral prizes indicated a concession of the popular vote, but this was the clear giveaway!
now, the most recent development of the Gore (now in panic mode)
campaign was to dig up a 24-year old DUI record of
Bush’s four days before the election.
A story which was spun beautifully by the Bush campaign and
caused little, if any damage, except of course for the fact that it
took Nader out of the news cycle for a few days (which was probably
the real intention behind the DUI story anyway).
For being in a race that is supposed to be the closest since
1960, the Gore campaign seems to be operating in clear desperation
mode. As for Ralph Nader,
he’ll need nothing short of the Force to become the next President
of the United States. But
it seems as though for now he will, at least, survive the Gore Wars.
© Brian Trascher, 2000
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View expressed are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Political USA.