Tag Archives: Al Gore

Trump seeks to spend political capital he doesn’t have

The nation is full of Republicans who identify closely with the Grand Old Party — and who don’t identify with the nation’s top Republican.

The president of the United States, Donald Trump, has done his level best to strip the bark off the hides of leading GOP politicians. To what end remains one of the major questions of the moment.

Matthew Dowd is a true-blue Republican. He’s a Texan with close ties to former President George W. Bush. He’s also a Never Trump kind of Republican. Dowd is a seasoned political operative who knows his way around the Republican Party pea patch.

He said something quite instructive about how these two Republican presidents — Bush and Trump — sought to get their terms in office off and running.

Dowd, speaking Sunday on “ABC This Week,” talked of how President Bush was elected under shaky circumstances. He lost the popular vote in 2000 to Albert Gore Jr. and earned enough Electoral College votes through a U.S. Supreme Court ruling.

What did the president do, knowing he lacked political capital? Dowd recalled how Bush reached across the aisle to work with Democrats on key legislation. He cited President Bush’s partnership with the late Democratic U.S. Sen. Ted Kennedy on education reform. He sought out Democrats to craft an immigration reform package as well.

As Dowd noted, that’s how presidents lacking in capital seek to build on their shaky political base.

How has Trump responded? Quite the opposite. He lost the popular vote to Hillary Clinton by nearly 3 million ballots. He won the Electoral College majority by a total of 80,000 votes in three key swing states that voted twice for Barack Obama.

Trump’s strategy has been to thumb his nose at congressional Democrats. He has sought a Republican-only legislative agenda, except that he cannot manage to bring all the members of his own party — given the wide diversity of ideology within the GOP — under the same roof.

Therein lies a critical difference between Bush and Trump.

President Bush was able to work with Democrats who ran the Texas Legislature during the years he served as Texas governor from 1995 to 2000. He knew how to legislate and he took that government experience with him to the White House in January 2001.

Donald Trump has none of that experience. Zeeero! He ran on his record as business mogul and said he would govern the country the way he ran his business empire. No … can … do, Mr. President.

Nor can the president govern a nation with a population that voted for his opponent by appealing exclusively to his core supporters.

Will the president ever learn that lesson? Uhh, probably not.

Mr. VP? Bush won, you lost in 2000

Al Gore has returned to the public arena in a big way.

He’s pitching a documentary film, a sequel to “An Inconvenient Truth.” The former vice president also has suggested something quite provocative about the 2000 election, which he lost by the narrowest margin possible to George W. Bush.

“I think I carried Florida,” Gore told Bill Maher on Maher’s TV show the other night.

Yep, Gore thinks he won the state that decided the election.

Bush won, Gore lost.

Actually, Mr. Vice President, you didn’t win it. Bush did. The former Texas governor won Florida by 537 votes, giving him enough Electoral College votes to be elected. The final electoral vote total was Bush 271, Gore 266; Bush needed 270 electoral votes to win. Game over.

Yes, we know the story about the U.S. Supreme Court’s 5-4 decision that stopped the recount of ballots in Florida. The five Republican-appointed justices voted to end the count; the four Democratic appointees wanted it to continue.

Moreover, a Knight-Ridder/Miami Herald study suggested later that Bush would have won Florida by an even wider margin had the recount continued.

I’ll stipulate here that I wanted Gore to be elected president in 2000. I was dismayed that the court ruled as it did.

However, the system worked precisely as prescribed by the U.S. Constitution. Although I wanted a different outcome, I never have challenged the legitimacy of President Bush’s election.

Neither should the man he defeated.

Gore was ‘wrong’ about Trump

Albert Gore Jr. must possess a bottomless wellspring of hope in his soul.

The former vice president told Stephen Colbert this week that he had hoped Donald J. Trump would change his mind regarding his decision to pull the United States out of the Paris climate change accord.

He has given up. The former VP says on Colbert’s late-night talk show that Trump is beyond redemption regarding climate change, which has been Gore’s signature issue since leaving the vice presidency in January 2001.

According to The Hill: “I went to Trump Tower after the election,” said Gore, who was on the show to promote his new movie, “An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth to Power.”

“I thought that there was a chance he would come to his senses. But I was wrong.”

The former vice president perhaps can take some solace in the belief — at least I believe it — that Trump doesn’t understand climate change or that he doesn’t grasp the theories floated by scientists around the world that human activity is a major cause of the planet’s changing climate.

Science means nothing to the reality TV celebrity-turned-president of the United States.

It doesn’t make Al Gore feel any better, to be sure. Perhaps his wellspring of hope is diminished somewhat as it regards the president of the United States.

Hold on, Rep. Lewis!

I have great respect and admiration for John Lewis, one of the most iconic members of the U.S. House of Representatives.

This brave and gallant man who was nearly beaten to death during the civil-rights marches of the 1960s, has not only survived, but he has become one of the great voices of Congress.

But he is getting way ahead of himself when he calls Donald J. Trump an “illegitimate” president.

Why is that? Rep. Lewis is concerned about the Russian involvement in our electoral process and allegations that Russian geeks/spooks sought to influence the outcome of the 2016 presidential election — in Trump’s favor.

http://thehill.com/blogs/blog-briefing-room/news/314234-john-lewis-trump-isnt-a-legitimate-president

Let’s hold on, sir!

I happen to share your distaste of Trump as a president. Believe me, I preferred the other major-party candidate over the Republican nominee. I also am concerned about the Russian involvement as confirmed by U.S. intelligence agencies.

However, nothing at all has been established about whether Russian hackers had any tangible impact on the outcome of the election. No one has proved that Russians tilted significant numbers of Americans to vote for Trump over Clinton.

I’ve never been prone to question the “legitimacy” of presidents elected in a controversial manner. I never once, not for a second, questioned President George W. Bush’s election in 2000 — even with the Supreme Court ruling and the fact that he got fewer popular votes than Al Gore. The U.S. Constitution worked as it was supposed to work in that election and Bush’s presidency was granted its legitimacy at that time.

Donald Trump won more Electoral College votes than Hillary Clinton. He, too, is a “legitimate” president-elect by virtue of collecting enough of the votes that count to be elected.

Unless someone can determine beyond a doubt that Russians — or some mysterious unknown intervener — actually had a tangible impact on the 2016 presidential election, then calling Trump’s presidency “illegitimate” is a major step too far.

Do I wish the outcome had been different? Absolutely! It wasn’t. Too bad for those of us who voted for someone else. I’m going to wait to see how this Russian-hacking probe plays out.

Trump finds religion on climate change?

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I thought Donald J. Trump called the issue of climate change a “hoax” promoted by China as a way to harm U.S. industries.

Isn’t that what he said while campaigning for president of the United States?

OK. He did say that.

Why, then, did he and his daughter Ivanka meet with former Vice President Al Gore today? Gore’s signature issue is — yep — climate change. He’s written books about it. He has delivered countless lectures about how he believes human beings have contributed greatly the changing climate around the world. He won the Nobel Peace Prize for his work on the subject.

Gore also has taken more than his share of ridicule from political conservatives who debunk the notion he puts forth and which has been supported by the vast majority of scientists worldwide.

http://www.politico.com/blogs/donald-trump-administration/2016/12/al-gore-trump-meeting-232203

Gore was quite circumspect when talking to reporters after the meeting. He revealed next to nothing about what they discussed.

My guess? Gore talked to the president-elect about climate change and sought to persuade him that it is far from a hoax.

Trump ‘mandate’ getting smaller by the day

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Donald J. Trump’s so-called presidential election “mandate” is disappearing right before his eyes.

The president-elect has captured the Electoral College vote by a healthy — if not overwhelming — margin. He’ll finish with 306 electoral votes to Hillary Rodham Clinton’s 232 votes. Of course, that assumes that all the electors earmarked for both candidates actually vote that way when they take the tally in December.

I’ll be intrigued, though, to hear whether Trump declares his election is a “mandate” to do all the things he wants to do: build the wall, ban Muslims, toss out trade agreements, “bomb the s*** out of ISIS,” you know … stuff like that.

Clinton’s popular vote margin has surpassed 1 million ballots, with the “lead” sure to grow as vote-counters tally up ballots in Clinton-friendly states such as California.

I don’t for a second doubt the legitimacy of Trump’s victory. He won where it counted. To be sure, Clinton will draw small comfort in knowing she collected more ballots nationally than the man who “defeated” her.

However, I think it’s worth stating that the winner needs to take some care — if he’s capable of demonstrating that trait — in crowing about whatever “mandate” he thinks he got from an election that clearly is sending mixed messages throughout the nation and around the world.

The mandate is shrinking each day.

***

Indeed, I cannot help but think of a friend of mine, the late Buddy Seewald of Amarillo, who once talked describe the local effort in the Texas Panhandle to “re-defeat” President Bush in 2004. Bush, then the Texas governor, won the presidency in 2000 in a manner similar to the way Trump was elected: He got the requisite number of electoral votes — with a major boost from the U.S. Supreme Court — while losing the popular vote to Vice President Al Gore.

Might that be the rallying cry if Donald Trump runs for re-election in 2020? It works for me.

http://www.politico.com/story/2016/11/clinton-popular-vote-trump-2016-election-231434

Election result: no ‘authoritative command’

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My dictionary describes “mandate” thusly: an authoritative command or instruction.

That’s pretty clear, correct?

So, it’s fair to ask: Does a presidential election in which the winner captures more electoral votes than the other candidate, but who fails to win — by an apparently growing margin — the popular vote deliver a “mandate” for the victorious candidate?

I would say categorically, “no!”

Here is what we are facing with the election of Donald J. Trump as the 45th president of the United States. He won, by a comfortable margin, the electoral votes he needed. His opponent, Hillary Rodham Clinton, is continuing to pile up more actual votes than Trump.

The president-elect made some bold pledges while winning. He’s going to build a wall across our southern border, ban Muslims from entering the country, repeal Obamacare, revoke trade deals.

He said that “I alone” can fix what he believes is wrong with the country.

Does an election result that we’ve witnessed give him license to do what he promised to do?

I do not question the legitimacy of Trump’s election. He won this race fair and square. The system wasn’t “rigged” to ensure his election. Sure, some will argue that it was. Keep saying it. It’s not so.

However, I do not sense that voters delivered a “mandate” for him to make sweeping changes.

Richard Nixon was elected in 1968 with 43 percent of the vote. Bill Clinton was elected president in 1992 also with 43 percent of the vote and was re-elected four years later with 48 percent; George W. Bush was elected in 2000 with one more electoral vote than Al Gore, who won more popular votes than Bush. Neither of those men’s victories commanded “mandates” any more than Trump’s. Their victories were equally valid.

For that matter, John F. Kennedy was elected in 1960 with slightly less than 50 percent of the vote, and by a margin of fewer than 140,000 ballots. Is that a mandate … an “authoritative command”? Hardly.

Trump’s fans are continuing to crow about the mandate that their guy captured while defeating a candidate virtually every media pundit, politician and so-called “expert” knew would become the next president.

The Trumpkins need to tone down the boasts. They need to understand that effective and constructive governance is a shared responsibility, that the winners must work with those they defeat.

In this case, more than half of those who voted ended up on the losing end of this election, which adds volume to their voice.

Trump’s mandate? He needs to proceed with great care and caution.

Now … about the Electoral College

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Election Night 2016 proved to be one for the books.

Donald J. Trump got elected president of the United States despite being outvoted by Hillary Rodham Clinton.

But wait! He won more electoral votes.

They’re still counting ballots and it appears that Clinton’s vote lead will expand before they’re all done.

Then came the question from one of the folks attending an election watch party at some friends’ house: Is the Electoral College in the U.S. Constitution?

Yes it is. Article II lays out the rules for the Electoral College. You know how it goes: We aren’t voting directly for president; we’re voting for electors who then meet in December to cast their votes for president in accordance — supposedly — with the majority of voters from their respective states.

I’ve found myself defending the Electoral College to people abroad who cannot understand how it works, or why the founders created the system. In November 2000, for example, my wife and I were in Greece, the cradle of western civilization and the birthplace of democracy. The Greeks are quite sophisticated about these things. However, they couldn’t quite grasp the idea of one candidate — Al Gore — getting more votes than George W. Bush, but losing the election. The 2000 presidential election was still in doubt while my wife and I were touring Greece. I defended the Electoral College as best I could.

Sixteen years later, we’ve had another circumstance with the “winner” getting fewer votes than the “loser.”

It’s the fifth time in our nation’s history where this has occurred. Three of them occurred in the 19th century; two of them have occurred within just the first two decades of the 21st century.

I’m not yet ready to jump on climb aboard the dump-the-Electoral College bandwagon. I have to say, though, that that I am beginning to grow less enamored of the archaic system that was devised by men who — in their time — didn’t grant rights of full citizenship to women or to blacks. Women didn’t get the right to vote until 1920, for crying out loud and it took landmark civil rights legislation in the 1960s to guarantee full citizenship rights to African-Americans.

The gap in time — just 16 years — between the last two elections in which one candidate wins the “popular vote” but loses a presidential election is giving me serious pause about the wisdom of a system that hasn’t changed with the nation.

Chaotic campaign becomes even more chaotic

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You want chaos on the election trail? Pandemonium in the board room? Shock in our living rooms?

Welcome to Presidential Election 2016, which is heading for what looks like the wildest finish in history. Why, this might even top the 2000 election, where Al Gore won more popular votes than George W. Bush, but lost the presidency because Bush got one more Electoral College vote than he needed.

I’m not going to predict that this campaign will end with that scenario. The grenade that FBI Director James Comey tossed into the middle of this fight has the potential of upsetting everything we thought about the bizarre nature of this bizarre campaign.

He said he’s found more e-mails that might have something to do with Hillary Clinton’s on-going e-mail controversy. We don’t know what’s in them. We don’t even know if she sent them.

Donald Trump calls it the “mother lode.”

I keep hearing two things: (1) The polls are tightening and (2) few voters’ minds have been changed because of what Comey has said.

Are we really and truly going to elect someone — Trump — who has admitted to behaving boorishly? Are we going to elect an individual with a string of failed businesses, lawsuits, allegations of sexual assault leveled against him?

We’re going to do this because the FBI director has inserted himself and his agency into the middle of a presidential campaign while saying virtually nothing of substance about what he might — or might not — have on one of the candidates?

Am I happy with the choices we face? No. I wish the major parties had nominated different candidates for president. We’re stuck, though, with these. We’re left with a choice. Of the two major-party nominees, the choice is clear — to me.

If only we could rid ourselves of the chaos.

Trump tears at the American democratic fabric

alice_gore

Donald J. Trump’s refusal to agree to accept the results of the election in the event he loses — which now seems more probable than ever — raises historic concerns about where we might be headed once all the ballots are counted.

The Republican presidential nominee would not commit to accepting the outcome while responding to a question from debate moderator Chris Wallace. He’ll “look at it” when the moment comes, Trump said.

Trump is now on the cusp of losing the presidency to Democratic nominee Hillary Rodham Clinton. We’ve had a long and well-established — and wisely admired — tradition in this country of losing presidential candidates accepting these results with grace and class.

Peaceful transition of presidential power begins right there.

Trump won’t promise to do that.

Oh, I can hear my friends on the right now griping about the “precedent” set in 2000 when Democratic nominee Al Gore refused to concede the election to Texas Gov. George W. Bush.

The immediate aftermath of that vote count was swathed in tension and controversy. The results from Florida weren’t yet known. That state’s electoral votes would be decisive in determining the next president. Gore conceded, then took it back once it became evident that another authority needed to step in; that would be the U.S. Supreme Court.

Well, the court ruled 5-4 that the Florida ballot recount should stop and that Bush would finish with 537 more votes in that state than Gore. Bush won the state — and was elected president.

What did Gore do? He conceded again — for the final time — and in the process brought some humor into the event by agreeing that “this time” he wouldn’t take it back.

He offered his full support to the new president.

So, let’s get off this idiotic notion that Al Gore did what Trump might do on Election Night.

Donald Trump is hinting that he might not accept the results no matter how wide the margin. In the process, Trump is feeding a dangerous — and demonstrably false — narrative about “rigged” and “phony” election results.