Vice President Al Gore efficiently spent his eight years of service preparing for his presidential run. Indeed, it seemed as if every time a Clinton administration scandal covered the front pages of the papers, Gore was as removed as possible. The situation became so well-known Vice President John Hoynes would even mimic it on “The West Wing.”
From Washington Examiner
When the 2000 election finally neared, Gore’s eight years of not-so-quiet campaigning to become the Democratic nominee paid off. Most of the party was too intimidated to run.
Enter Sen. Bill Bradley, D-N.J.
He announced his campaign in January 1999. Bradley was near universally liked. He made his bones as a basketball player with a career on the New York Knicks campaigning for Democratic candidates before eventually becoming a senator.
Bradley grabbed numerous high-profile endorsements, much to the chagrin of the Gore: Govs. Knowles of Alaska and Kitzhaber of Oregon, Sens. Paul Wellstone, Pat Moynihan and Adlai Stevenson III, New York Mayor Ed Koch and even President Clinton’s former Secretary of Labor Rob Reich.
Bradley was consistently to the left of Gore. He preached in town halls about campaign finance reform, gun control, education reform and outreach to the poor. The senator spent his campaign iterating that though Clinton had done well for liberal causes, he had not done enough.
Sound familiar yet?
Gore’s team hardly took Bradley seriously, and they arguably had little reason to. Bradley finished under 35 percent in Iowa to Gore’s 63 percent. But by the time Iowa voted the damage had already been done. Bradley consistently positioned himself an outsider and reformer, despite holding office for the better part of two decades.
The base was riled. Bradley may not have won any states, but he was heard.
On March 9, Bradley suspended his campaign after he failed to win any states on Super Tuesday.
When the general election came around it was decidedly close. Independent candidate Ralph Nader did unusually well. Perhaps his message resonated with voters by its own merit. Alternatively, it could have been because the far-left felt Gore didn’t adequately represent their views and moved towards Nader. Gore lost New Hampshire and Florida by 537 and 7,000 votes, respectively. Nader received 97,000 votes from Florida and 7,000 votes from New Hampshire.
Back in 2016, the Democratic Party has been in chaos for the past week. The party is scrambling for an answer as to what went wrong.
Undoubtedly, Hillary Clinton attempted to woo Sanders voters. The party adopted almost two-thirds of Sanders’ platform into the national party platform, an unprecedented move. Clinton’s team flooded campuses with celebrities, Snapchat geofilters and a massive get-out-the-vote effort, each attempt more vigorous than the next to convince Sanders’ core that Clinton was just as progressive and worthy of their vote.
But the damage had been done. Sanders riled the Democratic base masterfully. Former Gov. Gary Johnson, Jill Stein, and even renegade conservative Evan McMullin each did better than most thought they would, especially among millennials.
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