Strengthening Constitutional Self-Government

No Left Turns

Environmental Politics Update

In this post a few days ago, I argued that Gore didn’t talk about the environment much in the 2000 campaign because it was a loser of an issue for him.

Now Joe Klein offers this little tidbit in his Time magazine column attacking political consultants:

In early 2003, I had dinner with several of the consultants who advised Al Gore in the 2000 presidential campaign. I asked them why Gore, a passionate environmentalist, had spent so little time and energy talking about the environment during the campaign. Because we told him not to, the consultants said. Why? I asked. Because it wasn’t going to help him win. "He wanted to talk about the environment," said Tad Devine, a partner in the firm of Shrum, Devine & Donilon, "and I said to him, ’Look, you can do that, but you’re not going to win a single electoral vote more than you now have. If you want to win Michigan and western Pennsylvania, here are the issues that really matter—this is what you should talk about.’"

Discussions - 5 Comments

I wonder if Gore had talked about the environment then less people would have voted for Nader. This might have been important in Florida, especially Southern Florida because of concern over the Everglades, watersheds, and stuff like that. Seems like his political consultants did not consider the effect Nader would have in the campaign, but they should have known given Perot’s effect on the 1992 campaign.

Well, maybe. But remember that a lot of the Nader voters were real whack jobs, and probably didn’t want to vote for Gore in any case, though it might have made the difference in Florida since evena small tilt in the Zoroastrian vote would have changed the outcome. Remember that in the Democratic primaries in 2000, several leading environmental organizations, such as Friends of the Earth, endorsed Bill Bradley over Gore because they thought Gore was insufficiently robust on the environment from their point of view. I wonder if subsequent events have made them rethink this.

Both of you guys memory has dimmed. The Dems told us over and over its was the butterfly ballot and Not Nader but Buchanan that threw the election to Bush due to his fortuitous placement and the confusing nature of the ballot. Those poor Jewish voters would never vote for Buchanan and were disenfranchised ( by a Democrat County elected Registrar).

I can’t believe we’re about to reopen the Florida nightmare, but the butterfly ballot was a red herring. It was only used in one county in Florida (it was also used in Cook County Illinois--Chicago--also run by Democrats, and some other places), but Gore thought he lost votes throughout Florida. And it seems to me that if people can use the butterfly ballot just fine in Illinois it makes no sense to say that people were "disenfranchised" in Palm Beach because they didn’t know how to read a ballot.

I wonder if Gore had talked about the environment then less people would have voted for Nader. Comment 1 by Steve Sparks

Wow, did you hit the nail on the head:

Not global warming per se, but an apparent non-position over Homestead AFB v. the everglades.

On the other hand, Gore’s decision not to oppose the AFB must have been a political calculation and one can only speculate how many votes he’d have lost if he had opposed it.

Woulda, coulda shoulda? Who knows?

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