Democratic Presidential Candidate Not Republican Enough?
Strange Theory on Why Gore Lost
The so-called Democratic Leadership Council has decided that Al Gore should have acted more like a Republican in order to win the 2000 presidential electoral college vote in addition to his nationwide popular vote victory. This strange finding has drawn some attention, including coverage by the Associated Press and the Environmental News Service -- we have a few excerpts from their reports for you here.
Al Gore, the self-styled environmental candidate in the 2000 Presidential election, lost his bid for the White House because he campaigned on an outdated "populist" platform that was too liberal for most Americans, according to a new report drafted by the Democratic Leadership Council.
The 40-page report, titled "Why Gore Lost, And How Democrats Can Come Back," concludes that the Democratic Party must move towards the political right -- towards the Republicans -- if it wants to regain control of Congress in 2002 and the White House in 2004.
Al From, the DLC's founder and CEO, opened a freewheeling discussion forum by arguing that Democrat Al Gore made a huge tactical mistake by continually emphasizing that he would "fight for the people and not the powerful" as the nation's first president of the 21st Century.
From rejected the argument that a so called "populist" message was vindicated by adding Gore's vote total to that compiled by Ralph Nader, the Green Party Presidential Candidate. Nader, vilified as a "spoiler" by many DLC Democrats who are now contradicted by the new report, won about 2.7 million votes nationwide and more than 97,000 votes in the state of Florida - more than enough to have won the White House for Gore.
Nader, a Harvard educated attorney and a nationally known consumer advocate, was especially critical during his campaign of the power that corporations now wield over American citizens and the American political system. He blasted then Texas Governor Bush as "nothing but a big corporation disguised as a person running for President."
But Nader was also critical of Gore on a host of issues -- including the environment. Nader campaigned on the theme that were would be virtually no difference between Gore and Bush in terms of their respective environmental policies -- a move that embarrassed many mainstream groups.
Nader, who has long blamed the DLC for "abandoning" the Democratic Party's progressive roots, looked on with interest as From and other DLC officials talked about what went wrong in the 2000 election.
"They're not getting the message," Nader said of the DLC, which has become the prominent wing of the Democratic Party. "Their idea today is you've got to be more like Republicans and take away their issues."
A Gore Presidency would have made little difference in terms of biotechnology issues, pesticides and herbicides, and environmentally unsound trade policies such as the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), Nader added.
Nader said that he harbors no regrets about his entry into the presidential race, explaining that "our goal was a long range political reform movement, and you build that in steps. It doesn't come overnight."
Nader said that the Green Party will provide millions of disaffected progressive voters with a "political home," and he promised a "geometric increase" in the number of candidates that the insurgent party will run in coming elections.
JACKSON: IGNORING GREENS WILL "SPELL DISASTER" FOR DEMOCRATS
Congressman Jesse Jackson Jr., a Democrat from Illinois and one of the most progressive lawmakers on Capitol Hill. Jackson, said that he "could not disagree more" with the DLC's assertion that Al Gore's failed presidential bid means that the Democratic Party needs to move to the political right.
"Their comments appear to be ahistorical, and ignore a significant reality in this past election," Jackson said. "The present DLC attitude and disposition as evidenced by the [report] ... will only strengthen the Green Party in 2002 and 2004, and will therefore spell certain national disaster for the Democratic Party once again."
Jackson blamed the DLC for pushing policies such as NAFTA and the passage of Permanent Normal Trade Relations for China, both of which he said strengthened Nader's position in the past election.
"Almost all of [the DNC's arguments] appear to ignore the reality that Ralph Nader did well in Florida, and that he did well in a number of other states," Jackson said. Jackson said that both the Democratic and Republican Parties are "right of center" in terms of their appeal to the nation's population as a whole. More than 100 million eligible voters, he said, neglected to go to the polls on election day because "the political options afforded to Americans were right of center" in the campaign.
That is why Jackson sponsored a Congressional resolution to allow Green Party Candidate Ralph Nader to participate in the Presidential debates, he said.
"I thought [Nader] had a very important voice that was being locked out of the process," Jackson said. "Given Mr. Gore's performance in the debates, and given Mr. Bush's intellectual capacity, maybe the most thoughtful person in the debates might have been Ralph Nader."
Not one of Jackson's 534 colleagues on Capitol Hill signed on to his resolution to allow Nader into the debates.
"Nader in debates would have brought the country closer to the real political center," Jackson said. "The millions of people who did not vote might have heard something different than what they were hearing from Mr. Gore and Mr. Bush."
Jackson decried the conservative DLC Democrats who are "rushing to the illusion of bipartisanship" with Bush and the Republicans on Capitol Hill. It is that conservative bipartisan coalition, he said, that allows Nader to say that the nation has "one corporate party with two different names."
The full text of the DLC's "Why Gore Lost" report is available on that organization's website at: http://www.ndol.org
What's your opinion? Why didn't Gore win the electoral college? Why didn't Bush win the popular vote? Why are the Green Party and other third parties growing? Tell your views to The Progress Report:
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