Donna Brazile Reviews the Gore/Lieberman 2000 Campaign
In a talk delivered on March 28 in Caplin Pavilion, Donna Brazile suggested that if Gore and Lieberman had moved their campaign to Tennessee earlier, they might have won Tennessee and Arkansas. Florida would then not have been so important to the outcome. The Gore campaign lost money in its early days to the high overhead expense of maintaining headquarters in Washington, D.C. Brazile noted that the right wing of the Repulican party decided to support Bush early on, without subjecting him to a litmus test, which combined with Bush's $100,000,000 coffer to give him an early advantage. By March 2000, Bush was already able to begin blurring the differences between himself and Gore.
Brazile felt that the press was much harder on Gore than on Bush, and paid more attention to Gore's manner and dress than to the issues. She pointed out that Gore was actually ahead in the weeks before the debates. But the press had very low expectations for Bush's perfomance in the debates; he "only had to show up and not drool," while Gore was subjected to much greater scrutiny.
Citing the irregularities in Duval County, Florida, which caused 1/5 of the African-Americans there to lose their votes, Brazile said she is still "pissed off and disappointed" with the outcome in Florida. She said she has spent a lot of time trying to convince people that it's worthwhile to vote, but "people will remain angry until they see politicians make changes [and] put together an election reform package that truly reflects our democracy."
Brazile urged those in the audience to find time in their lives to do something for someone else. She urged them to find ways to reach common ground, and to make a difference in the lives of poor people, because there are people without medical care, and hunger is real in this country. She noted that although she has helped with elections in South Africa and Namibia, and has worked with legislative bodies in Europe, at the end of the day she can still say that this is greatest country in the world. "We have learned from our mistakes and become a better country . . . we can make things happen if we believe and care and work to change our surroundings."
During the question and answer session following her talk, Brazile said that "the time will come soon" when she will run for political office.
Brazile's talk was sponsored by the Virginia Law Women, the Black Law Students Association, and the UVA Law Democrats, with additional support from the Ola B. Smith Lecture Fund.