The primaries aren’t a glint on the horizon anymore. They are just a few months away, and the chance to get onto primary tickets if starting to shrink. The Iowa and New Hampshire polling has quickly become more important than national polling, and those key, early states are getting a work over from the candidates of both parties. And the media is certainly getting a work over. And everything has got so routine that a lot of the steam that candidates had early on, in terms of popularity and ‘spark’ of the current candidates has worn down on the people.
How many debates, with the same questions just restructured, have gone on for both sides? How many times has Hillary had to bluff her way through having to to defend her vote to go into Iraq? How many times has Obama had to carve out an answer on why he should be president with little experience? And how many more points in the polls is Edwards going to have to slip?
I love it all, the politicking of America, but I do hope that every day I will find out that a boulder will have been dropped into the lake and a wave of excitement will be rolling around again. And in three days, I won’t have to hope the boulder will come, because it will have happened in two or not at all.
You see, the Nobel Peace Prize is handed out tomorrow (Friday), and a hot contender is everyone’s favourite Al Gore. I know, I know. I’ve already written him off. But I’d be more than happy to retract that statement. He is a hot favourite to win the award, and the rumblings were that if he was going to announce it would be there and then, or in the immediate aftermath. And the rumblings of the rumblings were that there is a chance.
Must I run through the resume that will see him elected if nominated? V.P. to Clinton, long time senator, a ‘southern’ man (Tennessee), massive public exposure over the past years, a film to his name, an Emmy, an Oscar, a Nobel Peace Prize, a best seller, pools of money that he can tap into, and not an extremist. And let’s not forget that he probably did win the election in 2000. Oh, and he was very much against the Iraq invasion. And he sort of is the face of the global warming movement.
And he’s a fresh face to the whole routine that is the Democratic primaries race. He can afford to miss the debates that have gone because: a) everyone knows his policies, and; b) the debates lost great interest a month of two ago. And he’s done all this before – the primary race (and won), and the presidential race (and won, twice … sort of). And the word experience is definitely going to come up on more than one occasion in the presidential race. Whether it be against Obama, Giuliani, Romney, or Thompson. Heck, there is only one who will be immune to it (McCain) and Clinton may have enough clout to fend off any attack on that front. But Gore would be un-attackable on experience. Sure, his policies and voting record and actions during the experience will come up, but that only solidifies him in the mind of the public as experienced.
And while this is a half-way sewn up presidency for the Democratic party already, in the odd chance that something bad happened and the Republicans made a showing of themselves, would would you rather running? A man who has run, and lost, and has had seven years to think about the mistakes and popularise himself, or a woman/man who can be attacked an a whole lot of fronts, and while popular among the party, could lose those key swing voters?
And let’s face it – we all could use an honest politician. Obama is (for my mind) the only one going at the moment. From both parties. Gore has openly called himself a “lousy politician”, has given a bit of lip-service to stupid questions from the press, has openly and consistently criticised the Iraq War from the get-go (like Obama, though Gore has had more free reign) and ventured so far as to offer ways to get out, has campaigned about the next most important issue this world faces: climate change (and has never flip-flopped on the issue).
And does he really need to worry about financing his shorter campaign? He learned the lesson from the 2000 election – ridiculously high-priced consultants don’t win elections. He has a monsterous base that could donate $500 per person (on average), and raise a quick $40 million. More I suspect, meaning he could have free rallies, free concerts, give free speeches, and still have cash left over come the final vote.
I mean seriously! Look at the polls: In July, when the last polls that Gore’s name was featured on were taken, in New Hampshire if he entered the race he would win. That’s a key, early state that Clinton was solid in. Nationally, the polls said that if he entered he would win. He tipped 17% back in June. Now, nationally, polling put him at 10 – 12% (Gallup – Ipsos) in October, 8% – 16% (Cook Political Report – USA Today) in September, and 10 – 16.5% (Cook Political Report – USA Today) in August. That’s unannounced and not campaigning, and having done international ‘tours’ of late that has decreased his exposure to the American voters and people being polled, especially through September. If he were to enter the race on October 15, next Monday he would still have a solid four months of campaigning, and that would be enough to get the registered Democrats out onto the streets to get his name onto the tickets, first for the primaries then for the presidential.
Some recent polls have re-added him to the list because they have heard the rumblings too. 8% in Alabama, 36% in Michigan where he leads Clinton who is on 32%. That’s in the past month. At the middle of the year, where, as I said, Gore’s name was featuring in the polling, and where 29% of registered Democrats would switch from other candidates to Gore if he announced, he stood to be on par with Clinton in quite a few states. The last available data for the following states indicates this:
Alabama – 8% (September)
Arizona – 18% (September)
California – 19% (June) (he currently leads Clinton as preferred President in Bay Area at 51%)
Connecticut – 13% (May)
Florida – 12% (September) (if they are even going to be counted)
Georgia – 11% (January)
Idaho – 31% (July)
Massachusetts – 13% (April)
Michigan – 36% (August)
Nevada – 8% (August) (momentum)
New Hampshire – 5% (September) (momentum)
New Jersey – 6% (September)
New York – 10% (September)
Ohio – 8% (September)
Oklahoma – 9% (January)
Oregon – 4% (March)
Pennsylvania – 12.5% (August)
South Carolina – 8% (August) (momentum)
Texas – 10% (July)
In the Southern states, in September, Gore averaged 10%, the Western states 18%, in existing Red states 12.3%, and in existing Blue states 7.4%. And that’s from the states that have polling data, and not all of them do. Now there is no guarantee that he will win any of them, but there is a good chance he could sweep all of them. It’s worth reminding you that those figures are with Gore unannounced, not campaigning, out of the United States for the recent weeks, and without the swing from other candidates to Gore if he did put his name in the hat. Isn’t it at least worth a stab? If we concede that Obama needs some very favourable voting, otherwise he loses, and Edwards has lost already, do we just give Clinton an undivided free pass, where she isn’t forced to present herself in the light of competition?
By October 15 he needs to declare. It gives him the best chance. In New York, they’ll need 5,000 signatures between October 30 and December 1. Michigan needs 12,396 by October 23, and Gore to sign an affidavit as well. That’s just two cases, and it’s a similar picture for others.
So, if October 15 is D-Day, we will soon know. The Nobel Peace Prize gets handed out Friday in Norway, and that’s the 12th. Three days wait, at the longest, and the we will know whether America will have Gore as their next president, or either Clinton or Obama. Three days left of torturous suffering, but for a reason, or unnecessary anguish. Three days left …