George W. Bush and Al Gore are the two major candidates in this Novembers election. There have already been three debates between the candidates and they have been campaigning for over 8 months. The polls have showed that the race is head to head and will most likely come down to some key battleground states, like Michigan, Wisconsin, Florida and Missouri. Swing voters will also decide the election. As Election Day draws closer Bush and Gore will likely look to mobilize their bases and entice swing voters to elect them. The three debates were good forums for the candidates to discuss their issues and show their personalities.
The debates were also good at showing the candidates strengths and weaknesses. Since the first debate you could see how each candidates electoral strategy evolved with the situation. I will clearly explain how Bush and Gores party ideology has shaped their campaign strategies. To begin, the first debate, which was done in traditional debate style, was fairly calm and the candidates mainly stuck to the issues. When this debate aired Gore had a small lead over Bush. After the debate Bush had a lead over Gore. Neither candidate brought up any new issues and neither resorted to mudslinging.
Also, pre-debate analysis suggested that Al Gore should fair better in the traditional style of debate. So what happened? What happened was, as Bush would answer his questions Gore was squirming around and rolling his eyes while a camera was on him. It looked rather childish and was annoying and while Gore stated that he didnt know cameras were on him I think it still hurt him in the polls. The second debate, which was done in a talk show style, was more interesting and the tables had turned on the candidates. This time Gore was going into the debate with a deficit. Both candidates fared fairly well in this debate.
On the issue of health care, Bush proposed vouchers while Gore proposed a national health care plan. Bushs voucher ideal follows his partys (republican) ideology of keeping government small and competitive with private corporations. National health care is a very liberal, almost socialist idea that follows the views of the Democratic Party. Health care is also a targeted issue towards waitress moms, a swing group found in states such as Missouri and Kentucky. Gores plan for every child to have health care in four years appeals to this swing group.
Gore also attacked Bushs health care record by saying Texas ranks 49th in the U. S. for percentage of women and children with health care and 50th in the U. S. for families with health care. Bush had little response to this but to explain that it was improving. When it comes to foreign policy bush feels that we need to protect our interests as a nation. When it comes to military action he feels we should fight for oil. Bush feels that we dont have any interests in Africa, other than the Middle East, and that is because of oil. These ideas, while along party lines, alienate African-Americans, a minority group not known for voting for Republicans.
Bush also said that foreign aid should go to countries to help create markets. I think foreign aid should go to countries that are suffering from famine and disease, even if markets are uncreatable. Bush wants to help create markets in Central and South America because, he says, they are in our Hemisphere. One issue Bush used to intensify his base was gun control. While he is for gun-show background checks, and agrees with current gun law, he will use Gores photo I. D. proposal to mobilize and intensify his base. Also Bush handed out free trigger locks in the state of Texas to anyone with a gun that wanted one.
The record of this is very appealing to the swing group SUV moms who prefer GOP economics but worry about the safety of their children. On the issue of environment, Gores goals and programs follow that of Democratic tradition, and it is also an issue that Gore has an advantage over Bush on. In this debate however Gore mentioned just a few points; Detroit and Gore are ready to start producing environmentally friendly cars, which appeals to the swing group blue-collar duos because new technology will bring new and better jobs. This group is especially important in Michigan and Missouri where the race is extremely close.
Gore also proposes tax incentives for people who use green technology. Gore attempted to make an attack on Bush by revealing his proposed oil exploration mission in the National Arctic Wildlife Refuge, to which Bush replied didnt the ClintonGore administration drill into Prudhoe Bay in Alaska. Bushs response surely motivated his base because they find his wit to be his top asset. On the issue of education the two have very different views. Gore feels that teachers need to be tested, schools should remain in local control, and that schools need to be held accountable.
He feels that schools should be held accountable for student performance on tests. Bush feels that schools need to be accountable, but he thinks if the school isnt up to top performance then money should be taken from the school and given to parents in the form of a voucher for private or parochial schools. Lastly, the final debate was a town meeting style, with the audience asking questions. This debate focused a lot on their tax plans. Gore is constantly saying that Bushs tax plan benefits the top 1% and Bush says hes exaggerating and that his numbers are tricky.
Gores tax plan would need hundreds of new IRS agents, but more tax relief goes to the middle class. The problem with the tax issue is that both plans are so complicated you have to be an economist to understand or explain it. As the final debate drew to a close both candidates were cautious with their answers, knowing they wouldnt get a better opportunity to explain themselves. In conclusion, the way Bush approaches social security, education reform, gun law reform, abortion and foreign policy is all along traditional GOP lines.
For example, privatization of Social Security and education are republican ideas. Gores views on the same issues plus, environment, energy and affirmative action are all along traditional Democratic lines. This election has been called by Ralph Nader an election between the same two people, which I somewhat agree with. Since the beginning of the campaign trail Bush has been running on his charisma while Gore has been running on issues. Now, as Election Day draws near, the differences, although slight, and possibly due to party affiliation, now appear.