As much as I have loved seeing all the talk about a potential Gore run (what took so long!?) on every network, nonstop, it has been equally disheartening to see talking head after talking head refuse to give him a fighting chance against Hillary for the nomination. There reasoning? He is jumping in way to late to put together a coherent campaign and he is scoring low in national polls - in particular, they keep referencing a recent AP primary poll that puts Gore at 12%. It's my hope that this diary will bring some sanity to the discussion and show that Gore could and would be able to compete.
The Case Against Gore (1): This late in the game, Gore cannot possibly put together an organization in Iowa.
My Case For Gore (1): In 2004, 6.1% of eligible voters went to caucus. In 2000, that number was 6.8%. Those numbers, by the way, are for both the Republican and Democratic caucuses. In terms of people, those are the equivalent of 133,000 and 145,000 voters respectively. Yes, organization and endorsements are extremely important, but there's no reason to believe that a Gore candidacy wouldn't be able to excite and get 30,000 Iowans out to vote. Bill Clinton (1991) and George H.W. Bush (1987) both announced their candidacies in October. Ronald Reagan (1979) entered in November. For those wondering, Iowa did indeed have January caucuses as late back as 1980. Yes, campaigns and elections are very different nowadays, but these examples go to show you that a candidate can enter this late and still put together a winning team.
The Case Against Gore (2): This late in the game, Gore cannot possible assemble a competent staff.
My Case For Gore (2): First, as many of you already know, there is a very vigorous Draft Gore movement alive and well throughout the country. There are literally thousands upon thousands of on-the-ground volunteers who would instantly join Gore's team. Granted, most of these people would not qualify as campaign staff, but some of them are very seasoned political veterans. Yes, we can all question the effectiveness of his 2000 campaign's staff, but most of his closest allies seven years ago are still on the political market. Likewise, for what it's worth, I've heard from second-hand sources that a number of political operatives would jump whatever ship they're on now a join Gore should he run.
The Case Against Gore (3): This late in the game, Gore cannot possible raise the necessary funds.
My Case For Gore (3): First, Gore is very rich - so rich (and principled) that he donated his share of the Nobel Prize money (~$750,000) to his Alliance for Climate Protection. Sitting on Apple's Board of Directors and being an adviser to Google, in addition to his speaking engagements, have led to Al amassing a net worth of over a hundred million dollars. That aside though, Joe Trippi predicts he'd raise as much as $200 million online alone. He'd have the support of Kos as well as many other liberal bloggers. He'd almost immediately surpass Edwards and over time, he'd likely catch up to Obama and Hillary in the money race.
The Case Against Gore (4): Gore does not have enough support and, as such, is not polling well.
The Case For Gore (4): Before any talk of polls, one has to remember that Al is not currently running, and thus in my opinion, the percentage he registers reflect die-hard supporters who will not support another candidate until Gore makes a decision to run or not. That being said, between 10-15% of Democratic voters are "die-hard" supporters according to national polls.
This, more than anything else, is the one thing the talking heads are pointing to when suggesting Gore will not (and shouldn't) run. They point to a recent AP poll that shows Gore pulling in 12% and in third place ahead of Edwards. First of all, I need to address something I have long been saying: polls are asking the wrong question. Virtually every poll is asking the typical "If the Democratic primaries were held today, whom would you vote for?" That is the wrong question when trying to gauge Gore's support. They should be asking "If Gore were to run and the Democratic primaries were held today, whom would you vote for?" There is a very distinct and important difference. Many, many people will not vote for Gore in the former case because he's not running, similar to how the Pope would not be winning the Republican primary polls should he be included. But, if the stipulation "if he runs" is added, you get a much more realistic picture of his support. There were two times, to my knowledge, that polls asked the question "correctly" - in both cases, Gore was beating Hillary (one in NH, one in MI). That is the point all the talking heads on TV are missing.
Throw in that Gore will likely get a huge post-Nobel, post-White House/Draft Gore speculation bump, and I think Gore would not only be competitive, but may even surpass Hillary in polls should the question be asked correctly. And that's without spending a single campaign dollar.
All those memes aside though, should Gore throw his hat into the ring, he will run a unique campaign that this country has never seen before. He will not focus on 30-second ads and sound bites, but will instead run a massive grassroots campaign that will bring in Democrats, Republicans, and Independents alike. Everyone I talk to, even those who are political, have extremely negative views of politicians. As Gore describes it, politics is utterly toxic.
It's important to remember that not only would Gore transform the efficacy of the Presidency and bring respect back to the office, but he would also transform the political process itself.
He just has to say the words...