Though the young crowd might not have personally remembered his near-election in 2000, former Vice President Al Gore had no issue reminding them of it while campaigning with Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton in Miami this week. In his stump speech, Al Gore insisted that every vote matters, and he should know. Grueling in its nature and flanked in still existent controversy, Gore's 2000 loss to President George W. Bush epitomizes the notion that each individual vote has a vital, lasting impact.
"Your vote really, really, really counts. A lot," Gore told the Florida crowds, adding so as to drive home his message,
You can consider me as an exhibit A of that group. Now, for those of you who are younger than 25, you might not remember the election of 2000 and what happened here in Florida and across the country. Take it from me, it was a very close election.
Here’s my point: I don’t want you to be in a position years from now where you welcome Hillary Clinton and say: "Actually, you did win. It just wasn’t close enough to make sure that all the votes were counted or whatever."
As Florida's voter registration deadline approaches tomorrow (the initial voter registration deadline was extended by a day in wake of Hurricane Matthew tumult), Gore implores young people to commit to voting, asking that they "remember what is at stake in this election."
Gore's commitment to fighting climate change was the primary policy focus of his speech. "Hillary Clinton will make solving the climate crisis a top national priority," he asserted, saying that Donald Trump, "her opponent, based on the ideas that he has presented, would take us toward a climate catastrophe."
In her speech with Gore, Clinton too reemphasized her plans to combat climate change, especially "to develop more clean energy, reduce fossil fuel production and build more weather-resistant infrastructure," reports The Chicago Tribune. In contrast, her opponent, Donald Trump, has denied climate change, tweeting: "The concept of global warming was created by and for the Chinese in order to make U.S. manufacturing non-competitive" in 2012. Recently, Trump has tried to deem his climate change statements a "joke." Clinton, however, continued to harp on his denying, insisting "we cannot risk putting a climate denier in the White House."
Though recent polls show Clinton leading Trump by considerable margins, Gore reminds us all that each vote still counts, especially in contested states like Florida. Hopefully, voters looking to make climate change a priority listened closely to Gore's personal election experiences and are ready to vote in favor of environmental priorities. "The will to change and build a brighter future," Gore reminded attendees this week, "is itself a renewable resource."