As probably all my readers know, Al Gore, former US Senator from Tennessee and Vice President for 8 years under Bill Clinton, is the man who should have been President. He beat George W. Bush in the national popular vote in 2000, but lost the decisive electoral vote after a US Supreme Court decision essentially handed Florida to Mr. Bush. Since then, Al Gore has become perhaps our world’s foremost spokeman for addressing the climate/environmental crisis. His The Assault on Reason is one of the greatest, best-thought-out and most essential books I’ve read in many years. His film An Inconvenient Truth won an Academy Award. And Mr. Gore himself was awarded a Nobel Prize for his efforts on behalf of our world.
I wonder how many Americans wish he would have run for President again in 2008. How many would prefer him to either Clinton, Obama, or McCain? I guess it’s a moot point now.
Or is it?…
Al Gore can still be the Democratic nominee this year, and here’s how.
You may recall my recent blogs about visiting former President James Garfield’s gravesite and home in northern Ohio. But here’s something I haven’t yet mentioned about Mr. Garfield. Until the Republican Convention in 1880, James Garfield wasn’t even a candidate for President. The three major Republican presidential candidates were Ulysses S. Grant (Civil War hero and two-term former President who was not re-nominated in 1876), James G. Blaine (Senator from Maine, backed by the Half-Breed faction of the Republican Party) and John Sherman (Secretary of the Treasury under then-President Hayes, former Senator from Ohio, and brother of Civil War General William Tecumseh Sherman). Garfield was at the Convention to support his fellow Ohioan John Sherman. But after 35 ballots (it was the longest lasting Republican Convention in history), none of the candidates had enough votes/delegates to win the nomination.
Garfield’s name was introduced as a compromise, “dark horse” candidate who delegates from more than one side might be willing to endorse. Both Blaine and Sherman, who knew they could not win, yet didn’t want Grant (whose administration had been riddled with scandals) to win, threw their support behind the new candidate. And surprise! Garfield, who hadn’t even planned to run for President, was chosen as the Republican nominee. He went on to win the general election and move into the White House.
For more about the Republican Convention of 1880, please click here.
So what does all this have to do with Al Gore and today? Plenty, I think…. Granted, there are differences between then and now. For one, there were no such thing as “primary” elections back then (the first was held in Oregon in 1910). But the Democrats this year are in a similar predicament to that of the Republicans in 1880. If Barack Obama continues his pace, it is likely that he will remain 100 regular delegates short of securing the nomination. And since re-votes are not going to happen in Florida and Michigan (and even if they were), Hillary Clinton would have to win by a ridiculously huge margin in the remaining states to have a chance of securing enough regular delegates to be the nominee.
What if we get to the Democratic Convention and find the delegates and superdelegates to be so split that neither candidate can become the undisputed nominee? According to a recent Associated Press article by Nedra Pickler (in my local newspaper on 11 April) and a corresponding AP-IPSOS poll, “About a quarter of Obama supporters say they’ll vote for McCain if Clinton is the Democratic nominee. About a third of Clinton supporters say they would vote for McCain if it’s Obama.” According to same poll, both Obama and Clinton are in a statistical tie with Republican candidate John McCain, if the election were held this month. Can either candidate afford to lose a significant number of Democrats to McCain in a race this close? I hope that none of the Democratic delegates would desire a Republican victory in November. Perhaps that could be averted with a dual Clinton-Obama or Obama-Clinton ticket. But how likely is it that either will choose his or her biggest competitor as his or her running mate?
What if neither candidate, Obama or Clinton, has sufficient support at the Convention to be the uncontested nominee? What if it seems certain neither candidate can unite the party and win in November? Why couldn’t Al Gore be nominated and selected – as the candidate all Democrats (and many independents) can trust, rally behind, and propel to a certain victory? Perhaps it’s just a dream. It may seem unlikely. But is it possible? And would you be willing to trade a Clinton and Obama in the bush for an Al Gore in the hand?
Could it happen? Would you support him? I’m interested in hearing what you think.
Please check out these Al Gore works, available through my Amazon bookstore:
To visit Al Gore’s official website: www.algore.com
To read Wikipedia’s biography of Al Gore: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Al_Gore
For more about a grassroots movement to draft Al Gore: http://www.draftgore.com/