Hillary Clinton joins Al Gore in Miami. Is this a good idea?
Hillary Clinton's campaign is hoping Al Gore will speak to environmentally-aware Millennial voters. Others wonder if he's relevant enough to resonate with the crowd.
The names Clinton and Gore are back together again, but analysts aren’t sure the combination will go over as well this time.
On Tuesday, former Vice President Al Gore will appear with Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton at Miami Dade College, a move the Clinton campaign hopes will boost the Millennial vote in the vital swing state of Florida.
Some questioned the choice, wondering if a man who hasn’t held office since before the majority of Millennials could vote has the power to spur young people to the polls this November.
“Indeed, the idea that the Clinton campaign has tapped the one major political figure who makes [Mrs.] Clinton seem relaxed, easygoing and hip is funny on its face,” Jonah Goldberg, a columnist for the Chicago Tribune, wrote of the announcement. “If the two appear together, some might even respond, ‘Huh! I never noticed until now how surprisingly lifelike Hillary Clinton is.’”
While he’s no President Obama, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I) of Vermont, or Natalie Portman – all of whom have set out on the campaign trail in support of Clinton – Mr. Gore’s rapport with Millennials could extend from his involvement in the fight against climate change, a cause many young people care deeply about.
“At the event, Gore will discuss the urgent threat posed by climate change and lay out the high stakes of November’s election,” the Clinton campaign said in a statement to The Washington Post.
While Florida is an important swing state that comes with a good chunk of electoral college votes, it’s also an interesting place to rally. In the wake of hurricane Matthew and the threat of sea-level rise if temperatures continue to increase, Gore’s push to end climate change could have influence on voters in the Sunshine State, and many Millennials got their first taste of climate justice from his 2006 documentary “An Inconvenient Truth.”
“For those who agree that we must solve the climate crisis, the choice is clear in this election – and VP Gore is looking forward to joining Secretary Clinton in Miami to talk with Florida voters about how we solve this challenge,” Gore spokeswoman Betsy McManus wrote in an email to the Post.
Donald Trump has said that he’s “not a big believer in man-made climate change” and thinks the potential effects have been overstated. Clinton, who polls much better among young people than her Republican opponent, isn't worried about beating him to get the Millennial vote. Instead, her campaign wants to make sure young people feel motivated to actually vote, and don't turn their back on the Democratic nominee in exchange for a third-party candidate.
Florida is also where Gore famously lost the 2000 presidential election to former President George W. Bush by a mere 537 votes, in part because almost 100,000 people cast ballots for third-party candidate Ralph Nader. Many of those voters cited Gore as their second choice.
For Clinton’s campaign, Gore serves as a reminder of the importance of each individual vote.
"Gore is also a reminder of the stakes, of how close the 2000 election was," Fernand Amandi, a Democratic pollster, who isn’t working for Clinton, but who has polled about climate change in Miami-Dade County, told the Tampa Bay Times. "Don't pull a Ralph Nader."