Why Gore Should Not Endorse



Speculation mounts as to whether Gore will endorse either Obama or Clinton in the Democratic Primary race. My suggestion would be that he stay out of election politics in 2008, except to try to raise the profile of climate change in a non-partisan way.

As I describe in this column and in several public radio interviews, public opinion is little changed today from the time of the release of Inconvenient Truth, despite the massive publicity success of the film and the sharp increase in news coverage of climate change. The reason is that Gore's success has been a double edged sword. Attention to the film was driven by his partisan celebrity, a great marketing campaign, and his terrific ability to explain the science. But the readily available partisan heuristic of a former Democratic presidential candidate reborn to take up the issue of climate change also ended up being a liability in reaching the roughly half of Americans who do not have a favorable opinion of Gore, including the great majority of Republicans.

As a result, as I describe in the column, over the past three years, across polls, Democrats have grown slightly more accepting of the science, more concerned about the problem, and more willing to make the issue a political priority. Republicans, in contrast, basically remain unchanged, with the great majority rejecting the science, and when asked, rating climate change dead last among 22 issues as a political priority.

So if Gore's goal is to try to reach the broad American public on climate change, and that includes Republicans, he needs to move into a post-partisan stage of his career. He needs to avoid actions or messages that only serve to remind the public of his once strong Democrat label. So far he has done a great job of staying under the radar with the Democratic nomination process, and in my mind, this is the right course of action.

Gore should wait until the nomination is settled, and then work during the general election in a bi-partisan way to raise the profile of climate change as a campaign issue that all Americans should be equally concerned about.

LinkedIn meets Tinder in this mindful networking app

Swipe right to make the connections that could change your career.

Getty Images
Sponsored
Swipe right. Match. Meet over coffee or set up a call.

No, we aren't talking about Tinder. Introducing Shapr, a free app that helps people with synergistic professional goals and skill sets easily meet and collaborate.

Keep reading Show less

4 reasons Martin Luther King, Jr. fought for universal basic income

In his final years, Martin Luther King, Jr. become increasingly focused on the problem of poverty in America.

(Photo by J. Wilds/Keystone/Getty Images)
Politics & Current Affairs
  • Despite being widely known for his leadership role in the American civil rights movement, Martin Luther King, Jr. also played a central role in organizing the Poor People's Campaign of 1968.
  • The campaign was one of the first to demand a guaranteed income for all poor families in America.
  • Today, the idea of a universal basic income is increasingly popular, and King's arguments in support of the policy still make a good case some 50 years later.
Keep reading Show less

A world map of Virgin Mary apparitions

She met mere mortals with and without the Vatican's approval.

Strange Maps
  • For centuries, the Virgin Mary has appeared to the faithful, requesting devotion and promising comfort.
  • These maps show the geography of Marian apparitions – the handful approved by the Vatican, and many others.
  • Historically, Europe is where most apparitions have been reported, but the U.S. is pretty fertile ground too.
Keep reading Show less

Why I wear my life on my skin

For Damien Echols, tattoos are part of his existential armor.

Videos
  • In prison Damien Echols was known by his number SK931, not his name, and had his hair sheared off. Stripped of his identity, the only thing he had left was his skin.
  • This is why he began tattooing things that are meaningful to him — to carry a "suit of armor" made up the images of the people and objects that have significance to him, from his friends to talismans.
  • Echols believes that all places are imbued with divinity: "If you interact with New York City as if there's an intelligence behind... then it will behave towards you the same way."
Keep reading Show less