What if Al Gore had become POTUS?

I would think this must have been asked before, but I searched and couldn’t find it.

I’m wondering how you think the last 12 years would have unfolded if Al Gore had won the closely contested election in 2000.

Just to toss out a few ideas to get things started…

I’m guessing 9-11 would have still happened, but perhaps no Iraq war? How would that have affected our standing in the world, and our relationships with our allies? Would the Labour party in the UK have kept control of the government if not for the unpopular Iraq War? Would Saddam still be in power, or perhaps would he have been ousted in the Arab Spring? Would U.S. intervention in Libya taken a different form if the public didn’t already have the fatigue of fighting simultaneous wars in Iraq and Afghanistan? Would we be more willing to intervene in Syria?

Would Gore have been successful winning a second term in 2004? Would Obama still have been able to win the Presidency in 2008 if he had been following a Democratic President? Would the Democrats still have taken over Congress, and been able to pass the health care reform bill? Would we still have seen the rise of the Tea Party in 2010?

How would the makeup of the Supreme Court be different, and what important cases would have gone the other way as a result?

Almost certainly no Iraq war.

No gutting of FEMA and no appointment of nincompoop to head it, so maybe the Katrina-NOLA response thing would have been a bit less of a cluster-fuck.

Fewer Medals of Freedom awarded.

Supreme court would look different. I am convinced that O’Conner extracted a promise that no conservative justices were allowed to retire during W’s first term in order to side with W in Bush v. Gore. At least one of the two GW Bush appointments would probably have still retired if Gore got a second term, maybe even in the first term. Maybe one of the Obama appointments would have gone to Gore in a first term, very likely during a second term.

Gore was pretty strong on environmental issues, so maybe the oversight would have been strong enough to keep the BP spill from happening.
Republicans would make a lot of hay over the housing crisis (probably still would have happened) and we’d have a R president now instead of Obama.

What if Al Gore had been elected president in 2000?

Been awhile, but been there, done that.

Total WAG:

9/11 still happens, as does the invasion of Afghanistan, but no Iraq invasion. As it did in the real world, international opinion of the United States spikes in sympathy after 9/11 and remains high since Gore unlike Bush, doesn’t take a hard nosed your with us or against us attitude.

After a brief period of shock and coming together after 9/11, Republicans began an investigation into the Gore administration painting him as soft on defense and as a failure for allowing the attacks to occur. 40% of the Republican party believes that Gore was secretly behind the attacks. Impeachment proceedings brought up for a vote on the house floor but don’t go anywhere. Afghan basically goes the same way as it did in the real world, but with a shorter time table. Bin Laden escapes to Pakistan.

Gore attempts to push through environmental regulation of green house gasses but fails in a Republican Controlled congress. Health care reform is not even mentioned in Gore’s term. Taxes remain at Clinton levels, with early term budget surpluses use to shore up social security. After 9/11 and the Afghan war, surpluses turn back to deficits but the budget doesn’t explode. Painted as being soft on defense and a bleeding heart environmentalist, Gore loses to McCain in 2004.

McCain’s presidency is similar to Bushes second term, big tax cuts primarily directed towards the rich, Katrina is a fiasco, two conservative pro-buisiness justices are appointed to the Supereme court, the housing bubble still collapses taking a large chunk of the Economy with it, McCaine gets us out of Afghanistan late in his term, and signs large stimulus bills to get the economy on track, but loses to Obama in 2008.

From here on thigs go pretty much as now, except the deficit is substantially less, taking some of the steam out of the budget hawks. Saddam Hussein is still currently brutally suppressing an uprising as part of the Arab spring, which is being assisted by US and ally air support from Saudi Arabia. There is a debate as to whether the US should get involved with boots on the ground. It could go either way, but if we do invade we might actually be treated as liberators since we were supporting an home grown insurgency rather than just coming in uninvited.

Thanks for the link. I think it may still be an interesting question to revisit, since that thread (from '06) was pre-Obama, pre-Arab Spring, pre-Health Care Reform, etc.

I guess it depends if people buy my supposition that a Gore Presidency would potentially have meant no Obama presidency (since he wouldn’t have gotten the benefit of Not Being Bush).

A WAG but I think John McCain would have been elected President in 2004.

McCain had run a strong campaign in 2000 so he was “due” in 2004. (In reality, Bush was the incumbent in 2004 so McCain had to wait until 2008 for his turn.)

Let’s assume, as others have, that there had been a 9/11 attack in 2001 and a war in Afghanistan but not a war in Iraq. Let’s face facts; the Republicans would have spent the entire time from 2001 to 2004 claiming that it was all the Democrats’ fault and there wouldn’t have been a terrorist attack if Bush had won in 2000. And they’d be saying that Bush wouldn’t have dragged out the war in Afghanistan like Gore did. And Bush would have “done something” about Saddam Hussein. (In reality, it was one out of three.)

So McCain would have been running a national security campaign, which is a strong platform for Republicans and is well-fitted to McCain’s record.

Sarah Palin was a non-entity in 2004 so she wouldn’t have been McCain’s VP choice. And running against Gore, McCain wouldn’t have felt the need to pick as ideological a running mate. I’m tempted to say Colin Powell but let’s go with a more neutral choice like Tim Pawlenty (who in 2004 would be two years into his first term as Governor or Senator putting him around the same level that Palin had in 2008).

Put all these factors together along with voter fatigue (a political party holding the Presidency for over three consecutive terms hasn’t happened since 1948) and I figure Gore would have been a one-term President.

9/11 might have happened, but there is a good chance it could have been averted. There was plenty of intelligence about something going on, even before the infamous August memo, but no one in the Bush admin, least of all the Leader, seemed to care.
In that case, no Afghan War, since the Pubbies would object to military action in Afghanistan. There might have been some raids, but we would have been very lucky to have gotten bin Laden. Maybe there would be another attempt.

Definitely no Iraq war.
No Bush tax cuts, so the economy would be in much better shape and the deficit much lower. There would be more effective stimulus against the recession than what we got, so that would have been shorter also.

Most importantly, we might have actually made some progress on climate change.

As for the housing crisis, Greenspan kept interest rates low in support of Bush. He wouldn’t for Gore, and higher mortgage rates would have cooled the expansion and made for a softer landing. I doubt the banks would have behaved any better under a Gore administration.

And even more importantly, we’d have a Supreme Court which would not let the rich buy elections as easily.

A new era of peace, love, and prosperity would have ensued: a golden age for humanity lasting a thousand years. There would have been no more pollution, no global warming (of course), no war (Al-Qaida would do the talk show circuit), and no poverty. It would have been a time of human fellowship, progress, and free beer.

Of course, Gore would have used the opportunity to disable Earth’s defenses and summon his cyborg kin to come here and enslave and exterminate the human population. But until they got here, woo hoo!

Not a chance - if Clinton-Gore didn’t do anything about bin Laden and Co. in seven years, Gore-Lieberman wouldn’t do anything in seven months.

Nah - full fledged war. No President worth his intern’s kneepads is going to do anything short of it. And rightly so - Republicans would support Gore in an Afghan war just like Democrats did for Bush.

Agreed. Therefore, possibly, no Libyan divestiture of WMDs, at least not as soon.

You mean the current economy? Not hardly - the recession and the current weakness are caused by the collapse of the housing bubble, and Gore wouldn’t do any more to fix the Community Reinvestment act than Bush did, and for the same reasons. Unfortunately.

Gore would have to deal with the fall out from the Clinton pardons, but they would not have trashed the White House. And we may have had a Democrat President, but we would still have a GOP Senate, so any nominees would have to be at least plausibly centrist.

Gore vs. McCain in 2004 would still be a Gore win. Although assuming a close win for Gore in 2000, maybe Bush would run again in 2004. I doubt he would win - the economy would not have crashed yet. And thus Lieberman would be the presumptive nominee in 2008 - and I would be strongly tempted to vote for him. Certainly him over Obama or Hilary, and McCain wouldn’t run and Bush probably not a third time either.


Stopping 9/11 wouldn’t require taking out bin Laden - just arresting those people taking flying lessons and not caring about how to land.

I said no war if no 9/11. If 9/11 did happen, then yes war. No doubt about it.

The claim that the CRA caused the bubble has been refuted plenty already. I was talking about the too low interest rates and the refusal of the Fed to enforce any sort of reasonable lending requirements, even when the states requested it.
No doubt there would be a mild recession, but with the deficit much smaller due to no Iraq and higher taxes, there would be more room for stimulus.

You really think pardons by Clinton would have any impact? Centrist nominees are fine, unless you define Centrist as slightly to the right of Coburn.

In fairness, he gave us the Internet, so we owe him.

I think a Gore administration would have a higher chance of preventing 9/11 but I still think it would very likely have happened. IIRC one of the biggest problems that prevented us stopping the terrorists was poor communication between the FBI and the CIA and other agencies. I doubt that would have been high on a Gore administration’s priorities.

No Iraq war, for sure. Which means many American lives saved and much money saved, a win.

Republicans would UNDOUBTEDLY have castigated Gore as soft on terrorism and hence responsible for 9/11. But after declaring war on Afghanistan (a gimme after 9/11) Gore would have gotten the usual support wartime presidents do.

After the body counts and the costs started to mount up in Afghanistan, the centrists would be very unhappy at the thought of another war, so calling for a war on Iran would not be all that effective I believe.

The housing crash would still have happened, it was the repeal of Glass-Steagall in the Clinton Administration (the law was Phil Gramm’s baby, damn him to hell forever for that) that paved the way for the crash. I think Gore would have been less saddled with faulty economic doctrines and would have responded better than Bush did. But I think a Republican would have been elected in 2008.

The funny thing is that if Gore had been elected in 2000, you’d be saying all this about what would have happened if Bush had won. Except you’d believe it.

It depends on what standard we are using here. If we go by the Butterfly Effect theory then 9/11 might have happened on June 14, 2007 for all we know.

So, we are tempted to say that we must assume that 9/11, Katrina, SCOTUS retirements et al would have happened as scheduled which takes us into the realm of picking lottery numbers.

But just focusing on 9/11, that would have given Republicans HUGE ammunition against the Dems. 8 plus years of cutting defense spending, dicking around with Bin Laden, and having a smug Al Gore giving a patronizing speech from NORAD would confirm that there is no leadership at the top.

If we say that Bush only did one thing right, it was his immediate response after 9/11. He had 90% approval. I can’t think that Gore would have matched that.

Gore would then have certainly launched some sort of Green Initiative that would have been blamed in place of the dot com bust. Now the Dems show their true colors. It works for a little bit, but you keep them in power for 12 years, you get 3,000 citizens killed and the economy in the shitter. Why can’t we cut taxes on the job creators to get us out of this funk?

Oh, because there is a war going on? You mean the one in which President Dumbfuck let Bin Laden walk away just like Carter crashed helicopters in the desert? If we had a good Republican President, a hawk, Bin Laden would be dead and all soldiers would be home.

We told you so, America. Vote McCain in 2004.

Gore would have been Clinton’s third term, much as Bush I was Reagan’s third term. Voters similarly would likely have been tired of the Democrats by 2004 just as they’d gotten tired of the Republicans in 1992. Bush II would run again in 2004 and win this time.

Tax cuts of some kind would still happen, as an attempt to jump-start the economy after the bursting of the tech bubble. No President or Congress would sit on a surplus during a stock market crash. Similarly, the housing bubble still happens. Fannie Mae had a lot of Democratic ties and was already moving more into subprime mortgages under Clinton. The Bush administration made a weak attempt to tighten up on Fannie and Freddie and was blocked by Congress, and so I suspect a Gore administration would largely let them be. Besides, no President or Congress would want to look like they’re driving down home values.

Environmental Al only really flowered after 2000, so I think action on greenhouse gases would be unlikely. Little movement on gay rights, since the Clinton administration got burned over DADT.

Afghan war certainly happens. On Iraq, presumably no war, but remember that there was increasing international pressure back then to lift the sanctions, which were said to have been killing Iraqi children in great numbers. If the US resisted, it would face international opprobrium; if it agreed to lift, then does Iraq begin to rearm? It might be that we’d be in a similar situation now with Iraq as we are with Iran. Worst-case, Bush II still invades after 2004.

If Gore won, no Obama. Bush made Obama possible. Now, Obama might have been elected at a later date, but I think you need it to come after a Republican presidency.

No, W. Bush would not have run in 2004. He would have had his shot. And trying the same matchup twice in a row against an opponent who had gained the incumbency meanwhile would have been* trying* to lose. Probably not Jeb Bush in 2004 either. McCain would make the most sense, and would have had a chance of winning. Remember that in this timeline, the Bushes would stink of loss.

Fox News would still exist, and possibly have Dick Cheney on talking about his belief that Saddam caused 9-11. The* Weekly Standard* would be calling for an invasion of Iraq and an American empire in the Middle East, as in our timeline. Gore might resist the calls for an invasion of Iraq, which would still exist. Vice President Lieberman could perhaps be subverted, but would likely have less power than he did as a Senator.

One McCain term from 2005-2009 seems likely.

The big question is, what would Congress be doing?

Clinton and Obama both threw away Democratic majorities. The conventional wisdom seems to be that this was due to health insurance reform, somehow, but I think it’s a function of their political philosophies, which prioritize the president’s personal brand, with a sort of “triangulating” or “post-partisan” indifference to the larger party. In the end you end up with a diminished president, who can pass nothing. Would Gore, another DLC type, be the same?

What exactly was it that Bush did right? The decision to go ahead and sit down to listen to a story about a goat when he knew (or at least should have known) that America was experiencing a major terrorist attack? The inconsistencies in his story about his behavior that day? The lie his press team put out about a specific threat directed at him presumably to keep him from looking like such a wimp?

The huge upswell of support was what you expect for a leader of a nation under attack. Bush can’t take credit for that. Gore could have expected the same. At first. I think Buck Godot is on the right track. Instead of falling in behind President Bush like the Democrats did Republicans would have crucified President Gore even if he had stood strong and decisive on 9/11. The difference between that and the reality of President Bush’s ineptness being swept under the rug has nothing to do with Gore and everything to do with the mentality and power of the GOP.

There is no way in hell the Republicans would have nominated Bush again. McCain would have gotten the nod, and probably would have won.

Yet another person who thinks that opposition to a Democrat equates to support for/approval of his Republican counterpart. I don’t think that simplistically. Gore would have been a lousy President. That doesn’t mean I think GWB was any better than Gore would have been (nor does it mean I think he was any worse).

I do think that Gore’s response to 9/11 (whenever it actually would have happened in this alternate timeline) would have been less vehement than GWB’s; it would have been cerebral, measured, and an absolute delight to Al-Nutjob and all its ilk around the world, who would have rightly concluded that we were a paper tiger.