Former Vice President Al Gore argued Thursday that the 2020 White House race is “completely different” than the election in 2000 — when he ended his own Democratic presidential bid amid disputes over delayed results and a protracted legal battle.
“First of all, this is a completely different election from the one 20 years ago,” Gore said in an interview on NBC News, noting that Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden “has multiple pathways to secure his victory” over President Donald Trump.
“The most important principle that I defended 20 years ago, that Joe Biden and many others are defending tonight is: Let’s count every legally cast vote and obey the will of the American people,” Gore said.
Gore, like 2016 Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton, won the popular vote in 2000 but ultimately lost the election after a five-week clash with Republican presidential nominee George W. Bush over which candidate had received Florida’s 25 electoral votes.
The political crisis came to a conclusion at the Supreme Court, where the justices decided that the Florida Supreme Court’s ruling requiring a statewide recount of ballots was unconstitutional. Gore conceded the race the next day and later presided over a joint session of Congress that certified Bush as the winner.
“I don’t remember there being any good legal recourse left,” Gore said Thursday of his formal withdrawal from the race, adding that “there is no intermediate step between a final Supreme Court decision and violent revolution.”
“The Supreme Court interprets the laws. They issued an opinion,” Gore said. “And to run the risk of violence in the streets without any change in the outcome seemed to me to be not in the best interests of the country.”
While Florida alone determined the outcome of the 2000 election, Biden now maintains several pathways to reaching 270 electoral votes. Winning any one of three unsettled battlegrounds — Georgia, Nevada and Pennsylvania — would deliver him the presidency, while Trump must run the table in all three states to be reelected.
Trump has repeated his false claims this week that the election is being stolen from him through the counting of legitimate mail-in ballots, attacking America’s electoral system on social media and in a pair of White House speeches.
Addressing the president’s recent rhetoric, Gore said Thursday that no one should be “dishonoring the mandate of the American people” as votes continue to be counted.
“There is something majestic about listening to the will of the American people and then respecting the will of the American people when their decision is fairly tabulated and announced,” he said.
“We’re on the verge of that moment. And I would urge all Americans, including especially those who might be tempted to follow the direction that Donald Trump pointed in … to reject that approach and focus [on] what is most important. And that is the best interests of the United States of America.”
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