The 2000 Campaign Precampaign
Kohut, John J., The World and I
"Every election cycle has its own personality," says veteran political analyst Charles Cook, editor of the Cook Political Report.
"The unique stamp on this year's race," he continues, "is the single- minded focus among Republicans to win back the White House and the comparable single-minded focus among Democrats to win back the House of Representatives. This year, that's where the energy and the hearts of the two parties are focused."
Indeed, it's that focus that has kept this 1999 leg of the 2000 presidential election race quite static.
When it started in January, Texas Gov. George W. Bush was the leading GOP front-runner, and Vice President Al Gore was the leading Democratic contender. Now, 11 months later, both still appear to be the likely nominees of their respective parties. And, except for three dropouts from the Republican field, the same cast of secondary candidates is still in the hunt.
But the frustrations of GOP conservatives with their likely nominee are there, too. Although Bush comes with a strong Republican family pedigree and has been twice elected governor of the second-largest state, some in this wing of the party still view him and his campaign of "compassionate conservatism" with suspicion. Many conservatives fear that, since he has gotten this far without having to undergo a grilling on each of his policy positions, the nominee-in-waiting may in the end prove not conservative enough to warrant their full support.
Likewise, many Democratic insiders have some wariness about the fact that their front-runner has consistently placed second to Bush in almost a year's worth of national polling surveys. And the narrowness of their field means that, should opinion within the party shift away from Gore early next year, there's only one place to go: Bill Bradley, a candidate whose low-key "listening tour" campaign style has been enigmatic and who has staked out a sharply liberal position on issues from welfare to internationalism.
And Democrats are also seriously distracted by the real possibility that they can take back domination of the House (where they are now only 5 seats short of control) and make some gains in the Senate next year.
In the …
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Publication information: Article title: The 2000 Campaign Precampaign. Contributors: Kohut, John J. - Author. Magazine title: The World and I. Volume: 14. Issue: 11 Publication date: November 1999. Page number: 68. © 1999 News World Communications, Inc. COPYRIGHT 1999 Gale Group.