In the 2016 presidential race between Democratic Hillary Clinton and Republican Donald Trump, a certain section of the American electorate has expressed their disgust with the two choices. That’s caused them to consider voting for a third party candidate such as Libertarian Gary Johnson or Dr. Jill Stein, the Green Party candidate, a decision that could be dangerous, according to former Vice President Al Gore.
In a recent interview, Gore stated that anyone concerned about climate change should vote for Clinton. Citing her support of both the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Clean Power Plan and a greater use of solar energy, Gore contrasted that with Trump’s opinion that the issue was a hoax and his pledge to get rid of many EPA regulations.
The voting demographic that’s expressed a higher level of disgust with both candidates and indicated a preference for a third party candidate are those individuals under the age of 30. Many of these same individuals supported Clinton’s main rival for the Democratic nomination, Sen. Bernie Sanders. Those supporters were angered in July when leaked e-mails indicated that the Democratic leadership had actively worked to support Clinton over their candidate.
The issue of a third party candidate possibly playing a role in the upcoming election brings back bitter memories for Gore, who had actually defeated George W. Bush in the popular vote for the 2000 presidential election. However, after nearly six weeks of contentious wrangling over the tightly-contested election results in Florida, Bush was eventually declared the winner in that state by the United States Supreme Court. That allowed him to obtain the necessary electoral votes to win and enter the White House for the first of two terms.
One of the reasons that Gore lost Florida was due to the presence of third party candidates like Ralph Nader. In that 2000 election, similar circumstances saw that voters were reluctant to cast votes for Gore or Bush, with more than 2.8 million of them voting for Nader. While that didn’t directly affect the popular vote results, the 97,488 votes that Nader received in Florida were costly to Gore, who lost the state by just 537 votes.
Just as in 2000, Gore is focusing a great deal attention on the subject of climate change, a topic that has both major parties taking diametrically opposing views. Democrats like Clinton have offered the harrowing prospect of increasing heat and melting ice caps serving as the precursor for massive flooding unless something is done about eliminating or limiting issues that directly affect the climate, such as pollution.
In direct contrast, Trump has embraced what many Republicans have espoused when it comes to the issue. Such a belief is that climate change doesn’t even exist or is simply an exaggeration not worthy of the type of investment that Gore is seeking to combat the problem.
Gore himself has been criticized as being hypocritical for living in a large home that uses an excessive amount of energy, while other critics simply point to beliefs from four decades ago about a possible Ice Age developing.
While acknowledging that the reluctance of some voters to choose between Clinton and Trump was valid, Gore indicated that the stakes for the planet were too high to make any other choice than Clinton.
Holding a current lead in national polls, Clinton is still involved in tight races in key states like Florida and Ohio. Should the race become tighter, those states could be just as important as they were in both 2000 and 2004, with the winner in each case being Bush.