Al Gore will campaign for Hillary Clinton Tuesday and call for greater action to fight climate change, but political analysts say there’s a deeper motive in putting the former vice president on the stump — to tell his first-person horror story of what can happen when progressives reject the Democratic nominee and vote for a third-party candidate.
Mr. Gore’s razor-thin loss to George W. Bush in the 2000 presidential election partly has been blamed on then-Green Party candidate Ralph Nader, who siphoned off Democratic votes in an election that ultimately was decided by the smallest of margins.
In Florida, where Mr. Bush won by just 527 votes, Mr. Nader received more than 97,000 votes. Exit polling showed that Mr. Nader drew much more support from voters who considered Mr. Gore to be their second choice, leading to charges that Mr. Nader in essence handed the election to Republicans.
This time around, with the Clinton campaign struggling to win over liberal millennials and other key voting blocs, Mr. Gore could be an effective messenger in telling skeptical progressives that a vote for Libertarian candidate Gary Johnson or the Green Party’s Jill Stein could swing the election to Republican Donald Trump — an unacceptable candidate in the minds of most Democrats.
And in what surely isn’t a coincidence, Mr. Gore will deliver that message Tuesday at a campaign rally in Miami, Florida.
“Gore is a potent symbol of what Democrats, a lot of Democrats, still feel was an election that was basically taken away from them,” said Matthew Dallek, an associate professor of political management at George Washington University. “People who cast a vote for a third party, who thought their vote didn’t matter or were making a protest vote in places like Florida, that did ultimately matter. There’s a lot of layers of meaning wrapped up in Gore’s appearance, and that could be helpful to” the Clinton campaign.