Sunday, 30 March 2008

Gore for President?

The Telegraph reports that Al Gore - who isn't actually running for President - has a "sporting chance" of beating both Clinton and Obama to the Democratic nomination. The battle between the two remaining declared candidates is turning more bitter by the day, with accusations, smears and attack ads being launched in both directions - to the point where Democrat chief Howard Dean has had to tell Hillary and Barack to cool down their rhetoric for fear of them damaging the party as a whole. And he has good reason: a sizeable chunk of Democrats from each camp are saying that, once the primaries end and the real election begins, they would refuse to vote for the other candidate as President.

The Telegraph suggests that the Democrats might call off the damaging Clinton/Obama battle and appoint Al Gore as a peace-keeping compromise. This would require about a hundred of the so-called super-delegates to abstain from voting. That would stop either candidate winning mathematically, and could pave the way for Gore to be appointed. Gore's an attractive choice in some respects - although he lost last time, he still won a majority of the popular vote (that's FPTP for you ...) and with a Nobel Peace Prize and an Oscar under his belt, he may just go one better this time, given the chance.

But I can see some serious holes in this rather gripping theory. It would need a large group of determined super-delegates to organise themselves, which is a bit of a stretch - and even then, one of the declared candidates would have to throw in the towel and agree to the plan, which is even more of a stretch. It would still allow the nomination battle to continue right up to the DNC in August, by which time the majority of damage will have been done anyway.

But the biggest problem is this: the battle for the nomination has been genuinely exciting, and Americans have felt a real sense of purpose in turning out to vote. It really has done wonders for voter engagement, especially as the later Democratic primaries, usually an irrelevance, have suddenly become crucial. If a small group of Democrat bigwigs take the decision out of the hands of the electorate, and appoint their own candidate, there will be a lot of disaffected voters feeling very cheated.

Still, it's a nice theory.

3 comments:

Kristian Carter said...

I don't see what the "compromise" is supposed to be between - the biggest myth of the entire Decision' 08 saga is that Hillary still has a chance of winning.

The viability of the Hillary '08 campaign is a myth perpetuated by the US cable news channels with time to fill between Eliot Spitzer and McCain's latest foreign policy blunder. Some of her own staffers have been quoted as saying she has a 10% chance. Slate magazine currently rates her chances at 12%.

The biggest risk is that Hillary brings down the entire Democrat campaign with her negative campaigning.

In any event, a Hillary or Gore candidacy would kiss goodbye to the Presidency - you can be sure they'd both go for the same 'key states' strategy that served them so horribly in 2000 and 2004.

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