Election 2000

Election 2000
Abortion, gun control, and social security reform are issues that everyone has an opinion
on. Including politicians. Despite the pressures to be en vogue and stay in the public
favor, these issues require Ralph Nader, Al Gore and George Bush to take a stand.
Abortion takes into account moral, as well as social concerns. And, the question
of governments power in influencing or dictating policies that affect those concerns.
Social security, is a serious aspect of a growing number of elderly persons, as well as
young professionals daily realities, and their election decisions. Ask any working
American, the monies being siphoned out of their weekly paychecks with the ‘promise’
that it’ll be there for them when they are eligible, and they will tell you how serious they
think it is. This topic also gives us the opportunity to see how well versed in economics
the candidates are, or are not. Gun control is an issue on which everyone has an opinion.
In this day in age where violence is not so far away from most communities, the question
of whether people should have the right to bear arms is debated intensely. What our
founding fathers had in mind when they wrote the constitution is a topic which puts our
freedoms against public benefit.

Abortion is an issue that is becoming a litmus test for office seekers these days
with many women voters. To openly take a hard stance against abortion is to end a
political career. As a congressman for Tennessee, Al Gore cast more votes against
abortion and related policies. As he became a national figure he changed his position,
and now claims he will do everything in his power to make sure Roe v. Wade does not
get overturned. Now an advocate of a woman’s right to chose, he also opposes parental-
notification laws and supports Medicaid funding of abortion! As the election near more
people are reminded of the fact that two of the Supreme Court justices are retiring.
Meaning new appointments could imbalance the court in favor of overturning Roe v.
Wade. Al Gore has said he believes in a potential justices right to privacy, but that there
are ways of assessing how they would interpret the constitution. And he feels that his
appointments would uphold the landmark case. Governor Bush also would not hold
appointees to a litmus test, but would make judicial appointment that are ‘strict
constructionists’ in their interpretation of the constitution. Governor Bush opposes partial-
birth abortions, as does Al Gore. However George W. is in favor of parental-notification,
with fines for failure to notify parent/guardian at least 48 hrs. prior to abortion. Also to
ban tax money spent on abortions, with exceptions for sexual abuse or physicians
advisement. Bush is supportive of pro-life amendments but says he wouldn’t pursue
them. Ralph Nader, the Green party candidate, has probably done the best at down
playing this topic. He is pro-choice, but doesn’t acknowledge that there is a threat to Roe
v. Wade, saying it’ll never be overturned. And like Al Gore supports the FDA’s decision
to allow RU-486( abortion pill ), sighting it’s benefit that it’s preferable to surgical
procedure.

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If the NRA could pick a candidate it would be Governor Bush. Although none of
the hopefuls are in favor of more restrictions on handguns, he is the most consistent.
Gore as a congressman was not opposed to them, but as Vice President changed tack
completely. He is now in favor of cracking down on gun shows, banning junk guns(
cheap guns used in many violent crimes ), limiting one gun to one person per month, and
requiring manufacturers and retailers to report gun sales to state authority. The latter
raising loud voices of right to privacy concerns. Other than that all sides are in
agreement to ban assault weapons, large ammunition clips, and certain types of
ammunition, such as armor piercing, high velocity, and ‘cop killers’. Ralph Nader has
been advocating tougher laws against gun wielding criminals, stating in accord with Bush
that the problem isn’t with the law-abiding citizens that purchase guns. So we shouldn’t
make it harder for them. The point where Bush and Nader differ with Gore is precisely
that. Gore would make mandatory registration with the government of all guns, and
heavy state and federal government overseeing of gun sales. Bush and Nader do not to
encroach on the rights of citizens with respect to bearing arms. Instead they are more in
favor ‘very strict’ sentences, because only criminals should be affected by legislation not
sportsman and people wishing to use guns for self defense.

Social security, without a doubt, the most successful, and, the noblest
government programs. To ensure dignity and financial security of our aged, and disabled
citizens is a responsibility that has been our good fortune to actualize. However with a
growing geriatric population, benefits for poor families and disabled persons, it is time for
reform of our system before it goes bankrupt. Ralph Nader is the only one saying that the
fears are unfounded, of not being able to meet the needs of the eligible. He agrees with
Bush that working people should have a reasonable measure of control over their
retirement assets. However he limits it to pension funds and retirements accounts and
not to the fraction of social security money that Bush would advance to privatize. Bush’s
idea has raised a many an objection to the idea of allowing individuals to invest part(1/6)
of their contributions in the private sector, namely the stocks market. Gore and Nader are
very vocal in opposing Bush’s plan, stating that it would replace security with insecurity.
There is to much uncertainty in the market to allow the populace to put money that the
government would eventually be forced to compensate. After all, if millions of people
are skinned in a market crash, it would be the government that would have to provide
social assistance in the form of food stamps, welfare and the like. Gore’s main point hat
republicans are vehemently opposed to is financing social security through general
taxation. Gore reasoning is that then the government could pay down the debt with the
surpluses, and with the savings from the interest payments, reinvest in the social security
program. Gore’s response to Bush’s plan to allow individuals more control over their
future financial well being comes in the form of ‘individual retirement savings plus’
accounts, in which tax exempt savings would be matched by government. Unlike what
Gore’s camp would want one to think, Bush’s plan wouldn’t affect retirees, or those close
to retirement, “no reduction in benefits for retirees”. Bush also takes a very conservative
view in regard to raising taxes for social security support; he is absolutely against it. He
is for dedicating social security money for social security, and leaving the paying of
interest payment on our national debt a separate issue.

These issues are a good measure of the candidates views about our concerns as a
society. Between appealing to popular opinion and standing for something, candidates
stances on issues are formed, and the people are left to sort through the images to make a
decision. Who do we want to entrust with the awesome responsibility of leading our
nation. Though we are fortunate to be a generally well educated society, the
complexities of our government have become difficult to understand. Politicians rely on
this to gain favor with the public. We as the power behind government must be better
informed, so we are not taken advantage of by our own elected officials. Whether
Nader, Gore, Bush, or any other candidate is elected, the benefits or the repercussions
will be felt by the American people. The three issues discussed are representative of the
moral, societal, and economical problems in our country, and are only three of many
issues being hotly debated. Ralph Nader’s proposals are far and away the most intelligent
and ambitious for the United States. Al Gore and George Bush are coming from opposite
sides of the political spectrum, but offer us business as usual. They are funded by and
fight for the interest of the same elite (of which they are also members!) class. Ralph
Nader has shown in the past with his exemplary record, that he fights for the people.
Though some of his stances are arguably too liberal, he is the prescription for corruption,
Deep-pocketed corporate lobbyists, and many of the ills associated with government.
Serious injustices in our system with regard to access to political influence, which are at
the heart of most social problems, will not be altered with the two party system. Noone is
nave enough to suggest perfection however with someone who’s genuine concerns are
the people of this country, and the oppressed globally, government might actualize the
myth of equality.


Political Issues

Election 2000

Election 2000 Election 2000 overview Presidential election cycles are always three-ring circuses, and the 2000 election has become one of the biggest circuses ever. With a two-term president unable to seek re-election, the House of Representatives clearly up for grabs, and Democrats counting on major Senate gains — even hoping to win control — there is a lot at stake in this year’s elections. Republicans’ optimism is based on their view that they will take back the White House after an eight-year hiatus. GOP insiders believe that Americans are tired of Bill Clinton, have doubts about Vice President Al Gore and are ready for change. Republican turnout was down in 1998, which helps account for the party’s poor showing in the off-year elections.

And even the most loyal Republican will agree that the party’s recent presidential nominees, Bob Dole and former President George Herbert Walker Bush (in 1992), failed to excite Republicans and Independents. GOP strategists think that strength at the top of the ticket in 2000 will help all Republican candidates. Democrats have reasons to worry about the presidential race. While Republicans held the White House for three consecutive terms from 1980 to 1992, voters often grow tired of one party after two terms. Ethics questions and controversies involving Clinton and Gore have also given Republicans ammunition.

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And recent history isn’t with the Democrats. Only four sitting vice presidents — John Adams, Thomas Jefferson, Martin Van Buren and George Bush — were elected directly to the presidency in the entire history of the nation. Al Gore is hoping to make it five. The GOP presidential nominee, Texas Gov. George W.

Bush, recovered after a shaky start during the primary season and tried to establish education as his most important issue. Surveys throughout the summer showed him with an early lead, which grew dramatically just before the GOP’s national convention. Those same polls showed voters gave him high marks on his ability to handle key issues, including traditional Democratic ones such as health care, education and Social Security. Even more important, those same polls showed him with a significant advantage over the vice president in the area of leadership. But Gore changed all that with his performance on the last day of the Democrats’ Los Angeles national convention.

Whether it was the highly publicized kiss he gave his wife, Tipper, or his fiery, populist speech, Gore changed the public’s view of him. No longer was he a political opportunist or stiff second banana. Instead, he was a passionate, loving father and husband who lacked many of Clinton’s weaknesses. Public sentiment turned on a dime. Instead of being down double-digits in the polls, as he was going into the Democratic convention, Gore jumped a few points ahead of Bush.

Gore’s luck didn’t change when he left California. He and his running mate, Connecticut Sen. Joe Lieberman, began a whirlwind campaign swing, with Lieberman — the highly regarded Orthodox Jew and critic of the president’s personal behavior — vouching for Gore’s integrity, morality and sincerity. Gore’s selection of Lieberman was regarded as a bold move. While some liberals and African Americans in the Democratic Party complained about the senator’s moderate stands, Lieberman reiterated his support for the Gore agenda and helped the Vice President re-introduce himself to the country.

At the same time, Bush’s running mate, former Defense Secretary Dick Cheney, was fanning the fuels of controversy by delaying a decision about what he would do with certain Halliburton stock options, and Bush was floundering when asked about his tax cut plan and about his charge that the U.S. military was not fully ready. While Gore looked relaxed and energetic, Bush made mistakes, including miscalculating how the debate over debates would play, a much publicized gaffe in front of an open microphone, and his mispronunciation of the word subliminal. Post-Labor Day polls suggested that Gore surged ahead of Bush by at least a few points. Republicans became much less optimistic about Bush than they were in July, while Democrats, who started to wonder about Gore’s electability, turned increasingly hopeful. But the race turned again before the end of September, when Bush went on two popular daytime television shows and Gore was hit by the media and his GOP opponents for exaggerating and embellishing stories and anecdotes. Suddenly, Gore was again on the defensive over the issue of character.

The polls turned toward Bush, who received a surprising boost from the first presidential debate and then for Dick Cheney’s performance in the lone debate between the vice presidential candidates. Bush did even better in the second presidential debate, and while most political insiders thought Gore did better in the third debate, television viewers split between Bush and Gore when asked to pick the winner. So, as Election Day nears, the roller-coaster presidential race looked much as it once did — headed for a close contest and an uncertain outcome. While it’s unclear whether the Democrats can hang onto the White House, it’s likely that the Republicans will lose seats in both the House and Senate. Normally, a strong economy means a content electorate that returns congressional incumbents to office and maintains the political status quo.

But this year is different. While few House incumbents are likely to lose, the narrowness of the GOP’s House majority means the Democrats could pick up just a handful of seats and still win control of that body. The Reform and Green Parties still remain a question mark. While the Reform Party was split early on between its Pat Buchanan and John Hagelin wings, Buchanan was finally awarded the $12.6 million in federal funds that the party was due. But Buchanan, who was thought to be a headache for Bush, has proved to be a non-factor. Hagelin is the Natural Law Party’s nominee, though he is also on some state ballots as the Reform nominee. Meanwhile, Ralph Nader, the Green Party nominee, has become a factor in the presidential contest. While he clearly lost some support after the Democratic convention, he seemed to gain steam during October, increasing his vote in key states, such as Oregon and Washington.

The presidential race appears to heading toward a showdown in about a dozen states, with the outcome in Florida, Michigan, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Wisconsin and the Northwest most important. It’s very clear that there is a lot at stake in the 2000 elections. But the voters don’t seem passionate about one party or the other. That means that all the races — from president down to the House — will focus on individual candidates and their campaigns. American History.

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