Al Gore believes that he should have been President of the United States.
In lieu of relitigating the 2000 presidential election, which George W. Bush narrowly won over Democratic opponent Gore after a semi-recount in the deciding state of Florida, here’s a good column by New York Magazine’s Jonathan Chait on the “rigged” recount, as well as The New York Times’ collective reporting on the recount, including the finding that ballots by black voters were tossed out in far greater numbers than any other demographic, and a “comprehensive review” of the uncounted Florida ballots revealing that Bush would have won even if the Supreme Court would have allowed a manual recount in the four contested districts.
And yet, Gore is still convinced that he won the state of Florida—and by extension, the election.
During a climate change discussion on Real Time with Bill Maher, the titular host asked Gore, who’s doing the rounds promoting his climate change awareness follow-up documentary An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth to Power, “So when the sea levels rise, obviously we could lose Venice. We could lose Florida. And who would know better about losing Florida?” cracked the comedian, to groans and boos from the crowd.
“Actually, I think I carried Florida,” fired back Gore. “But that’s another…we won’t go there.”
Later on during their one-on-one discussion, Maher asked Gore about his visit to Trump Tower during the transition period, where he reportedly spoke to both President-elect Trump and his daughter, Ivanka, about the threat of climate change—a conversation that apparently fell on deaf ears, as Trump would later pull the U.S. out of the Paris climate agreement, an accord between 195 countries calling for each to set its own individual goals in lowering greenhouse gas emissions by 2020.
“Yes I did, and I talked to the then-President-elect and that conversation continued after he went into the White House, and I thought there was a chance he might come to his senses—but I was wrong,” said Gore. “And then, when he made his speech pulling out of Paris, I really was concerned that some other countries might use that as an excuse to pull out themselves, but the very next day, the entire rest of the world redoubled their commitment to the Paris Agreement as a way of saying, ‘We’ll show you, Mr. Trump.’”
During the tail end of their chat, the host came back to the topic of the 2000 presidential election, drawing a line between Gore winning the popular vote that year and Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton winning the popular vote over Trump by nearly 3 million votes.
“When you won/lost the election, you got 500,000 more votes than the guy who took over. Hillary got three million more votes. This trend is not going in the right direction. This thing where we [Democrats] get the most votes and they get to be president, that’s a pattern now,” offered Maher.
“Well, I do think it’s time to get rid of the Electoral College,” Gore replied. “But even more importantly than that, we have to get big money out of politics. The lobbyists and fat-cat contributors hacked our democracy before Putin hacked our democracy, and we need to defend it and put the people back in control.”